It’s a new year! Congratulations, dear reader, you’ve survived 2022!

Of course, it may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. And 2023 is, after all, merely yet another rotation around the sun. Nonetheless (and as cliché as it sounds), the beginning of a year is also an opportunity to take stock of the old and recalibrate for the new.

Whether it be in our careers, relationships, or our lives as a whole, a new year is a fitting time to reinvent oneself. And since our chief concern here are our wardrobes, for us purse-lovers, this reinvention is achieved by way of – you guessed it – a new handbag!

If you do happen to be on the lookout for a splurge, I have just the thing for you to indulge in. So, without further ado, let me introduce (or rather, re-introduce) you all to the Hermès Herbag!

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The Origins of the Herbag

There was once a point, way back in the 70s, when you could purchase an Hermès Kelly for under $3,000, that too in-store! No waitlists, no mind games, no taking out a loan for a handbag – doesn’t it all sound like an absolute dream?

Well, while you probably won’t find a Kelly under those conditions anymore, there’s a close cousin – a little sister, if you will – that’s still pretty affordable, at least by the standards of today’s luxury purses. And that’s the Herbag.

Unlike the Kelly, the Herbag was introduced several decades later, and Hermès’ secrecy makes it all the more difficult to confirm its inception date. Also known as the Kelly Country, the purse shares the same trapezoidal silhouette, flap closure, and top handle as its elder sibling, making it a fitting choice for Hermès beginners. And its distinctiveness comes in the form of an interchangeable canvas body (more on this later), a Clou de Selle locking mechanism, and a lower price tag.

But its original run didn’t gain as much recognition as the brand’s premier offerings did. And by the early-2000s, the Herbag was discontinued. In 2009, however, Hermès launched an updated version, the Herbag Zip, that has since earned a steady following from everyday handbag users and the celeb set.

At first glance, the Zip isn’t much different than the original. But, as they say, the devil is in the details! The updated design features a zipped back pocket (hence, the name), a removable interior pouch, and two more durable versions of the textile body that are waterproof – Officier and Berline Canvas.

And the reintroduced Herbag continues to remain an Hermès staple, even ruling the runways in the brand’s Resort and Spring 2019 collections!

Hermes Herbag

What Makes the Herbag Unique

As if the lower price point and higher availability weren’t enough, the Herbag comes with a special feature that cements its place among the hearts of its fans – it’s two bags in one!

Few of us have the luxury (or the willingness) to buy the same purse in different colors. And yet, we do sometimes wish to spruce up the appearance of our everyday handbags without engaging in some complicated maneuver with twillies or charms.

And the Herbag allows for just that! Available in both contrast-colored and tonal-textile options, the bag’s canvas body can be unscrewed from the leather top flap and either reversed or replaced with one in a different colorway ( available for separate purchase).

Speaking of colors, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the massive array of choices Hermès provides. On top of that, some limited-edition Herbags also feature embroidered toile, H-monogram, or checkered patterns! Really, the options for your Herbag, with its ability to be mixed and matched any way you like, are endless.

But if you thought colors were the only choice you’d have to make when buying a Herbag, think again! It comes in five different sizes: 31 cm, 39 cm, 50 cm (known as the Herbag Cabine), 52 cm (called the Herbag Weekender), and a Herbag à Dos Backpack version as well! Plus, the design is offered in both Retourne and Sellier styles, with palladium- or gold-plated hardware options too!

Hermes Herbag Backpack

I know, decisions, decisions…

A Year-Round Staple

Given its dominance over the collective luxury industry, Hermès’ pieces are rarely regarded as anything but classics. But does timelessness always equate to functionality? That’s a long-standing debate between the brand’s buyers, who admire the aesthetics of Holy Grails like the B/K/C, but find them too heavy and precious to be used as everyday purses.

The Herbag, on the other hand, circumvents both the drawbacks of these conservative classics. Thanks to its lightweight but hard-wearing canvas and tough Vache Hunter trims, the style has been described as free-spirited — the perfect purse that transcends all seasons and braves all weather!

Its functionality doesn’t stop at the materials only. Its ultra-practical back pocket is big enough to hold your phone, wallet, and key, ensuring that you wouldn’t have to fumble with the sangles. Plus, the provision of a top handle and a crossbody strap (though not adjustable) allows multi-way carry.

But of course, subject to its colorways, its usability may be affected. Lighter leathers and canvases may be more prone to stains or marks, while older canvas versions have been less durable.

Overall, the Herbag has become a fan-favorite among Hermès buyers owing to its unisex appeal, relative availability (they even occasionally appear on the Hermès website!), and entry-level price point (the Herbag 31 starts from $2,675). And its canvas body also creates a more casual feel, unlike its more uptight cousin, the Kelly.

Now, is the Herbag considered an investment in the way Hermès Birkins and Kellys are often considered to be?

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Well, not quite. Its average value retention is much lower than the B/K/Cs, with pristine vintage styles going for as low as $700, while used Herbag Zips are usually available around the $2,000 mark. Some exceed retail prices, but only if they are in excellent condition and in desirable colorways, like all-black or covetable Pégase Pop embroidery.

However, the Herbag’s true sense of investment is in its supreme usability. Its year-round appeal and ability to switch “bodies” make it a valuable asset to any working individual’s wardrobe. Plus, it’s Hermès – who could ever go wrong with that, right?

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Anna
Anna
30 days ago

Poor people’s Kelly. LOL

Iris
Iris
28 days ago
Reply to  Anna

Hahaha omg that’s so mean- but it’s true in what Hermès target audience is! 😅

Just save for a Kelly, it’s easier to open too.

psny15
psny15
29 days ago
Reply to  Anna

So true 😜😜😜😜 I don’t understand the appeal

Tanya
Tanya
30 days ago
Reply to  Anna

Ignorant comment. Many Herbag owners also own Birkins & Kelly’s 🙄

alisa.g
alisa.g
28 days ago
Reply to  Tanya

I’m one of them!

Lisa
Lisa
30 days ago
Reply to  Anna

Why the rude comment? How about the person who just wants something different in a Hermes bag?

Thatsmecz
Thatsmecz
30 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

Anna is quoting the article

Gayle
Gayle
30 days ago

This was my most used bag last year (my evelyne tpm during the pandemic). I have a bi color magnolia and blue sapphire and it goes well with most of my outfits. Size 31 is perfect more on the roomy side for me (i dont have to sacrifice space like my evelyne) and the zip pocket is perfect for my phone. I was surpised how much i kept reaching for it and i havent used my evelyne for awhile now.

Germaine
Germaine
29 days ago

I so want to love the bag cos I was able to get one easily from the store which was a bonus. And I also was able to get one that was limited edition. However after using it for once , I decided there and than I hated it because it was so difficult to open and close. I don’t know why it’s that and even my friend with me that day was feeling frustrated helping me. I love the look and functions of the bag , just sad it did not work out for me and reading this article, it made me a bit sad. Have anyone encountered the same problem as me ?

VVVV
VVVV
29 days ago
Reply to  Germaine

yes!!!! It seems practical, but it’s sooo hard to open without damaging the leather. You need that zipper pocket on the back to hold whatever you
plan to use cuz that’s the only part you can get to easy. Closing it isn’t “hard”. It’s tiring!!! I have one and hardly use it. I still love it tho…

Sam
Sam
29 days ago
Reply to  Germaine

I saw one in my Hermes boutique and the irony is that my S.A. said they were hard to open and close. She literally talked me out of it. 😊

fabuleux
fabuleux
29 days ago

This bag is terribly impractical and—when you look at it objectively—very cheaply made. It would not sell if it wasn’t one of Hermès’ most affordable bags, thus giving people a way to get a big orange box for less.

Ana
Ana
28 days ago

I was equally sceptical about the Herbag when I got my first one last year (btw I already own a couple of B but wanted a lighter bag for daily use). I was offered a limited edition in store and bought it to give it a go. Loved loved loved it and just last month went back and asked for another one. And I got it. They are great size, sturdy and you don’t have to baby them. The hands free option is necessary for my daily life at least and these are not loud bags, again perfect if you are running errands or going to an office and want understated elegance.
Regarding the very difficult way they close, I completely bypass it by doing the following : phone and keys in the back zip pocket for easy access, everything else in the main body which I close just by looping the front on the Clou de Selle and securing with the sangles. Don’t bother with the hard leather bit at all. I find this secure enough. I hope that helps others!

Martyp
Martyp
29 days ago

This bag is one of the most (if not THE most) difficult to open and close! A real nightmare. I love the design, especially for Summer, which is way more casual than a leather bag. I even get rid of the shoulder strap sometimes… but still… a nightmare!

B.irkin
B.irkin
30 days ago

It is too delicate for me. I need leather to cover my bad handbag treatment.

Lia
Lia
29 days ago

Garden Party and Her Bag are my regret decisions, wanted to sell both but it was hubby’s gift…

alisa.g
alisa.g
28 days ago
Reply to  Lia

I also love my GP 30 as a lightweight, casual day bag.

psny15
psny15
29 days ago
Reply to  Lia

At least Garden party is practical and I use mine as a beach bag but this makes no sense given the clunky open close mechanism

Bye
Bye
27 days ago

The final sentence of this blog post is the epitome of what’s wrong with people who think that everything Hermès sells is pure gold. Get a clue, people! There is ton of crap at Hermès just like at every other retailers because they are businesses trying to make as much money as possible.

alisa.g
alisa.g
28 days ago

I’m a fan too, although there’s no question it’s cumbersome to open/close because the leather is very stiff so I never close it completely. (I’ve only had it for a year and hope the leather softens with time. Anyone have suggestions?)

Mine is the 31 zip retourné in bleu saphir vache hunter/Brides de Gala désordre toile. It’s lightweight/casual for summer and I don’t have to ‘baby” it like my K28 and B30s.

Personally, I find ALL the sangles a bit of a PITA; I’m not sure any H bag is exactly “practical” except for the Bolide! But I love them anyway 🙂

GG Pastel