If you have landed on this post, needless to say you are considering buying or putting one of these a Double Sens or Garden Party bag on your ever growing (or never ending) bag wish list!
I too had the same question once and now, as an owner of both bags, I can give you my take on both. First, they are great bags in their own rights. They are Hermes bags, which means great quality, great leather and great craftmanship. So you won’t go wrong with whatever you chose. However, if you are looking to see what bag might be best for your lifestyle, that is another story.
Double Sens vs. Garden Party
You can read more about the Double Sens here (sizes, prices, etc.). In this post, I’m going to focus on the uses of the bag as compared to the Garden Party.
The Double Sens is a very casual bag style wise. Simple in shape, it is an under the radar bag. The Hermes stamp is discreet and only on one side. So if you reverse the bag, you may not even have the stamp exposed.
Yes, the bag can be reversed. Hence, the name “double” sens. You get two looks in one. For example, one day you can have Etoupe on the outside and the next day have the inside color, Blue Peon, now on the outside!
The straps easy fit over most shoulders, even with a winter coat. You definitely need a bag organizer to provide structure and organization. Plus, since the bag can be reversed, you want to make sure the leather looks good if you decide to turn it inside out. So having an organizer can protect the bag. There is no closing mechanism and no hardware. Some use a twilly to tie the straps together near the bottom of the straps to give some protection.
Garden Party or Double Sens
The Garden Party (GP) info can be found here (sizes, prices, etc.)
Compared to the Double Sens, the GP has a structured shape. The inside is fabric and not leather as compared to the double sided leather of the Double Sens. Some find it makes the bag less ‘worthy’. However, others like the fabric interior as it keeps the bag lighter. You can also get an all-canvas Garden Party that just has leather trim.
There is small snap to ‘close’ the bag, although not secure. There are also some snaps on each end of the bag that you can use to ‘cinch’ the ends together. By keeping them snapped, you can keep the opening to the bag smaller. Plus, it also gives the bag a slimmer profile. Keeping them unsnapped give the bag more of a tote look and more space for bag items.
There are two handles like the Double sens, but they are rounded, thicker and stand upright (unless the bag is aged and then they can get a bit floopy.) The straps are hard to get over most shoulders. I find I can get it over my shoulder in the summer when I am not wearing a jacket, but definitely cannot in the winter. So be aware of that if you need 100% handsfree. There is not an option to add a shoulder strap.
Pros and Cons
Personally, I find both have a use in my bag rotation needs. The Double Sens is great for Saturday shopping or running errands as it is simple and you can pile some things in it. The Clemence leather is better than the Swift since the former is better protection against scratches. Yet both leathers are smooshy and slouchy leathers supporting the casual shopping tote vibe.
I do find that while it is cool that you get two colors/two bags in one with the Double Sens, the other color is noticeable when using the bag. Meaning that, perhaps, the other color may not work with your outfit.
It is also hard to use Twillys on the Double Sens straps since they are your standard shopping tote straps (floppy). You can use a twilly as a bow on the bottom of one of the straps instead, but the handles will not be protected.
I like that I can use Twillies on the GP to protect the handles and add color and pizazz to it. I like the structure too in that it gives it a shape that make it look a bit more polished than the Double Sens. I also find that the leather is ‘thicker’ and more structured than the Clemence or Swift leather on the Double Sens. So it gives the bag more substance too. So it benefits the shape of the Garden Party.
Neither bag has ‘feet’ or metal studs on the bottom, so it is best not to place these bags on a floor.
All in all, if I had to pick only one bag, I would go with the Garden Party. I think the structured shape gives it more flexibility to use in a variety of ways, uses and places. Compared to the Double Sens, which strictly is only a weekend/casual bag. I like bags that I can use for work, lunch with friends, and a casual business affair or other social event. You can dress it up with twillys and charms to make it more glam too.
So it is only my opinion! But when push comes to shove (and it is ALWAYS hard to chose when it comes to Hermes!), I think the multi-use function of the Garden party trumps the multi-color of the Double Sens.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Do you have either one of these bags? Share your experiences!