So you’ve finally scored that gorgeous Hermès bag you’ve been dreaming of. Congratulations! Now you need to decide – are you team twilly or no twilly?
What’s a Twilly?
It’s a double-sided ribbon, made of the same silk twill (hence the name) as an Hermès scarf. Twillies are also produced like the scarves and are printed with Hermès scarf designs. Many Hermès fans enjoy using twillies to decorate their Birkins, Kellys, Constances…or any kind of bag at all, whether made by Hermès or not. While some see the addition of a twilly as purely decorative – and they certainly are fun – they can also be functional.
Oddly, per the Hermès website, the official dimensions of a twilly are 2” wide by 32” long (I really do recall them being 33″ long but the website currently says 32″), but in actuality, these dimensions are, ah…approximate.
Twillies are a relatively new product for Hermès. Launched for Autumn-Winter 2003, the “little newcomer” does not seem to even have been originally contemplated for use on a bag, with catalog photos demonstrating it worn on the head, neck and wrist. It didn’t take too long, however, for the customers to get creative with their new silk “gem(s)”, eventually adding them to their bag handles, as well as their belt loops, shoes and many other ingenious places.
While many people do enjoy using their twillies on their bags, many others prefer their bags to go au naturel. That’s certainly a very popular choice, but as mentioned, these twillies can sometimes serve a useful purpose. With the ever-growing increase in the popularity of Birkins and Kellys, and the concomitant ever-rising prices for them, many customers have become increasingly concerned with protecting their bags from unnecessary wear and tear. Now, of course, while a certain amount of wear and tear is inevitable (and in some circles, even desired), there is something to be said for avoiding as much dirt as possible, to prolong the time one can enjoy the bag before it has to be taken in to the “Hermès spa” for repair and/or cleaning, and for this the twilly is key. As much as we try to keep our hands clean, there will always be a certain amount of natural oils on them; this is great for, say, rubbing out a scratch from box leather, but it’s not so good for keeping bag handles clean, especially on the lighter-colored bags. The twilly can protect your bag handles from the natural oils on your hands (and the dirt and color fade that come from those oils), as well as anything else that may be on them.
What, however, if you don’t have a light-colored bag, or even a top handle? Well, of course you can still use them to decorate your bag. While many people may find a twilly to be fussy or feminine, they can also be pretty and whimsical. Tied to any strap or loop, the twilly adds a bit of color and liveliness – and let’s face it, as much as we love our bags, we carry them every single day, so sometimes adding something just a bit different can be very welcome. Further, while some may find twillies to perhaps be a bit too whimsical, it really is just a matter of personal preference, and one’s individual taste and style. I say this as someone whose mother (in her early seventies) loves the rodeo bag charms and is quite the enabler!
Once you start using the twillies, however, you’re bound to get a little addicted and even creative with them. There is another bonus to using the twillies, especially if (like me) you like to wear color, and/or your bag is not a neutral color; with the many design options for twillies available, you can coordinate your bag to whatever you are wearing. Hermès scarf designs are always made in colors to coordinate with their leather goods, so there is almost always a twilly option (and usually several) to match your bag as well as your outfit.
So, how to tie a twilly? That can take a little practice. While many SAs will now offer to tie the twillies on your bag for you, eventually they will come loose, or you will want to change them, so it’s always good to know how to do this. Although there are many ways to tie them on a handle, there are three methods that are very popular. While these methods of tying don’t have any official names (at least that I am aware of), I will call them the asymmetrical, the symmetrical and the bow.
For me, this is the easiest and most practical tying method, because you don’t have to worry about making your ends even like you do when you’re tying symmetrically. I have successfully done this in the passenger’s seat of a car in the dark many times (because my husband is patient but always ready to leave about ten minutes before I am), and once you get the hang of it, it’s really not difficult.
Here’s what an asymmetrical tie looks like:
(Please be kind, this is my first “how to” video! )
This is the most common way of tying your twilly to the bag handle, at least that I have seen. It takes some practice, because (especially if you are a bit particular about the ends being even) you have to figure out where the exact middle is and then wrap the handles evenly all the way down each side.
Here’s what an symmetrical tie looks like:
This one is sort of a mystery to me. It’s adorable and when executed successfully it looks great; however, this is definitely the hardest of the three methods to tie properly. For most of the photos and videos I have seen demonstrating this method. it seems that either: 1. the ribbon they are using to tie the both is not an actual Hermès twilly, and/or 2. the bag they are tying the twilly on is not an Hermès bag. Of course, if you are using a longer ribbon to tie, it will be easier to do, because you do run into somewhat of a length limit when you get to the end that needs to be tied in a bow. Remember to use as little of the length as possible when wrapping the bag handle, so that you have as much left to tie the bow as possible, and also both methods of tying involve the “rabbit ears” method of tying.
Here’s what a bow tie looks like:
There are at least two methods of tying a bow with a twilly, and I still need to practice both of them, but for what it’s worth, here they are: