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Our Guide to Buying Hermès Handbags

Find out what to look for when buying pre-owned and vintage Hermès.

At Xupes we understand that choosing the perfect handbag can be pretty difficult. There are so many choices; from the fashion house to the leather, right down to the cut, how do you know which bag is right for you and your lifestyle? One of our most sought-after brands here at Xupes is Hermès.  With pieces that even the biggest names can’t get their hands on, Hermès handbags are iconic and the must-have for any fashion-forward individual. Read on for our breakdown of why Hermès is the handbag brand for you.

Why Hermès?

Hermès has been setting the example in luxury over recent decades. They have done it the hard way, leaving marketing on the sidelines and focusing their efforts on producing the finest quality products. This means employing highly trained artisans who often stay at Hermès for the entirety of their careers. Using only the finest materials, the products typically come in logo-light, timeless shapes, and last for decades. Hermès products sit on the higher-end of the price-bracket, but the price is worth paying because their bags are not only exquisite, they’re also exclusive and they bring with them an air of true luxury. What’s more, thanks to their scarcity and durability, their prices on the resale market typically climb at more than the retail prices, meaning they are actually safe investments.

Hermès Buying guide
The Hermès Kelly Longue Clutch, Xupes reference: HB1351

What Hermès to buy?

Hermès is a good investment, but some pieces are more highly sought-after and harder to get hold of than others, which means that as far as value goes they are more lucrative in the long run. Some bags are naturally slightly more practical and elegant than others too. To make things even easier, we will break these down into classics, our favorites from the rarer cuts, and the best vintage pieces worth keeping an eye out for.

Hermès Buying guide
The Hermès Jypsiere 28, Xupes reference: HB1080

Classics

A Birkin is a must in any serious handbag collection. They have a great story behind them and they are the most impressive performers on the investment scene. They are made by individual artisans over the course of days and so are actually ever-so-slightly original. Hermès can only produce a limited number per year so there is a considerable demand for this style. The 35cm is the most wearable size and Togo leather is a popular, more durable option, but if you can afford anything exotic then the potential for it to increase in value goes through the roof.

Hermès Buying guide
The Hermès Birkin 30cm (Special Order), Xupes reference HB1353

Just behind the Birkin in popularity but on a par in terms of quality is the Kelly. This is the handbag that first launched Hermès into mega-stardom when it was adopted by Princess Grace of Monaco in the fifties.

Other great Hermès classics include the Garden Party, a nice alternative to the Birkin, and the Constance Elan, a crossbody which actually has a bit of logo in the shape of the large “H” closure.

Lesser Known

There are many Hermès bags that you don’t see on a regular basis, some of which can actually also cost a fair amount less than the classics. I always recommend these as they still have the quality and prestige yet they are a little different and uncommon and when people realise they are Hermès they are usually surprised. Some notable styles are the Kelly Ado backpack, the Halzan, Lindy, Roulis and the Etriviere shopping tote.

Vintage

So many people looking at Hermès right now have investment in the back of their minds. Earlier this year Christie’s ran a handbags-only auction in London and nearly all the top lots were Birkins. A number of these sold for over £50,000! Most of them were exotic skins like crocodile but there were some rare vintage pieces too like a 1989 Kelly made in the colours of the French flag in honour of 200 years since the French revolution.

As a rule, Hermès tend not to make special editions and offbeat designs very often so if you can find one of these you might be onto a winner. Rare colours are a plus, as are obscure materials. Recently we had a “So Black” which is 2010 so it isn’t vintage but it’s definitely on the collectors hit list thanks to a technical error that meant it was pulled from production and boutiques, so there are few in circulation. These are worth over double the original price now. As always, when buying vintage or pre-owned you need to think about authenticity and condition. It’s best to seek the advice of an expert and make sure you buy from a trusted dealer with a returns policy so you can shop confidently.

Hermès Buying guide
The Hermès Constance Long Wallet, Xupes reference: HB961

Where to buy Hermès handbags?

Given the demand for Hermès and the limited stock in most storefronts, the best place to shop for your handbag is likely on the secondary market. This means auction houses or online dealers. This is also where you will find the widest variety. At Xupes we have an extensive selection of pre-loved Hermès handbags you can shop from, and we can often source particular models for you. We ensure all bags are guaranteed authentic and accurately described, when your handbag arrives through our complimentary courier service, you will have 14-days to decide if you would like to keep your bag or return it to us.  

Hermès Buying guide

For more tips and analysis on handbag style and investment picks, follow our magazine, or for buying options you can shop pre-loved and vintage handbags at Xupes.