Today I went to the Hermes store in the city. (For those wondering how do you pronounce Hermes, it is pronounced “air-mez”) I have been a big fan for awhile, but I thought I would go to THE source to get some information on the difference between the Hermes Birkin and the Hermes Kelly as it relates to Moms.
Just as a quick background, Hermes sells a variety of handbags (Massai, Bolide, Toolbox to name a few.) I’ll get into these in another post soon, but the Birkin and the Kelly are the Hermes icons, really. The Birkin being popularize in the media due to the Kardasians and that Sex in the City episode while the Kelly is the more refined sister with some celebrities and royals opting for this Hermes bag version.
I literally could spend tons of time writing lots of posts about these bags in their own right, which at some point I probably will do, so stay tuned on that. But if you know what these two bags are, you may be contemplating which one to buy. If you are a Mom, you have even more to contemplate than just the color or leather.
Kelly or Birkin?
The Birkin is basically a tote bag. It is meant to be carried in the crook of your arm with its two top handles. This can be a blessing and a curse for us Moms. Having a tote bag is great because you can pack it full of stuff. An extra blanket for the baby, an extra pair of diapers, or even a little change of clothes for a toddler, in addition to your wallet, keys, phone, makeup case. Most leave the lock undone so it is an open tote that is easy to grab what you need, when you need it. However, it is a hand held bag. So pushing a stroller while having to juggle the Birkin, or juggling your baby while containing the Birkin may be more nusiance than it is worth.
On the flip side, the Kelly has one handle on the top of the bag plus a strap (depending on your size, you could wear it cross body or buy an extra strap to do that.) So you can be totally hands free. Mom score, right? However, unlike the Birkin, you can’t keep the bag open. The flap needs to be closed to avoid straining the handle. So if you are constantly reaching in your bag for a phone to snap a picture of the kids, or do lots of errands requiring frequent access to your wallet, it could be a PITA, frankly.
The Hermes SA (sales associate) I spoke to highly recommended the Kelly for Moms due to the strap, and I would definitely agree, despite the hassle factor. You don’t have to lock the bag. You can just tuck in the side straps and turn the turn lock, skipping the padlock. As he demonstrated it, there was the extra step, but it wasn’t that bad really. But it really just depends on your personal hassle factor tolerance. For example, I am always on my phone or need my phone frequently, so despite the hands free nature of the Kelly, it may not be the right fit for me. Yet, as some Moms state, just leave it unlocked most of the time as you are running your errands and when you are done, then close it up.
Which brings me back to the Birkin. The Birkin is a tough Mom call. Great space, easy access for your stuff (there is a zippered pocket where you could store your wallet so it is not that easy for a pickpocket!) but Mom awkward with the arm carry. However, one option that I haven’t heard many people mention in the variety of Hermes forums is that you could have the Birkin and use and a small cross body bag, like a Chanel WOC (Wallet on a Chain.) Tuck the Birkin in the back seat and just take your WOC into the store when you do errands if carrying it would be too awkward. Or have the WOC cross body to hold your phone and small wallet while you carry the Hermes Kelly. There are options to make it work so it comes down to which one makes your heart sing, and remember, the kids will eventually be walking on their own so the Mom factor lessens with time as the kids get older. So think about what you want for the long haul because in the short term, there are definitely work arounds for both bags.
So what do you think? Are you a Mom with one or the other? What say you?
(Note: Photo credits unknown.)