Hermès Kelly vs Birkin: The Ultimate Battle of the Bags 

Hermès Kelly vs Birkin – which one is the best option for you?

Few handbags are more popular than Hermès’ Kelly and Birkin. Both styles are timeless, sought-after, and increasingly valuable. And while they might look similar to the uninitiated, true fans can spot plenty of differences. 

So, considering their differences, which bag comes out on top? We’ve pitted the two models against each other to see which one is superior. Keep reading to see the answer. 

hermes birkin vs hermes kelly
Birkin vs Kelly

Hermès Kelly 


Kelly was inspired by the Haut à Courroies (HAC), an equestrian bag created in 1852 used for holding saddles. The HAC received a boxy, elegant redesign in 1930 and was renamed the Sac à Dépêches. 

Actress Grace Kelly was photographed holding the bag in 1954 in an attempt to hide a baby bump. Demand for the bag soared following the incident and Hermès officially changed the name to the Kelly in 1977.  


Kelly has an eye-catching trapezoidal shape and several notable features including two triangular gussets, a cutout flap, a single top handle, metal feet, and two side straps. In recent years, Hermès has added a detachable shoulder strap that adds to the bag’s versatility. 

Decorative features include a cadena (a tiny lock) that’s stored in a small leather pouch called a clouchette. Although the lock is functional, hardly any Kelly owners use it to lock their bags.  

Three construction styles are used when creating Kellys: Retourne, Sellier (also known as Rigid), and Sellier Mou (also known as Soft). To create a Retourne-style Kelly, artisans sew the bag backward, then turn it inside out. The end result is a slouchy, casual silhouette. 

In contrast, Sellier stitching is visible and creates a pointed-out edge. Sellier’s cousin, the Mou, blends rigid Sellier stitching with supple leather to create a structured-slouchy hybrid bag.  

Read also: Hermès Kelly Complete Guide: Materials, Sizes, Prices. Is it worth buying in 2023?

Kelly vs Hermes
Credit @rachelward_e


The original Kelly was produced in Box Calf leather, an Hermès heritage leather known for its smooth finish. Although prone to scratches and watermarks, this material is still a popular option for Kellys. 

Surpassing Box Calf leather, Togo is the most popular material for Kellys thanks to its durability and suppleness. Lastly, many Kellys are made from Clemence, a cowhide leather that’s softer, heavier, and less durable than Togo. 


Below, we’ve provided a list of the most up-to-date Kelly prices. Unless otherwise mentioned, these prices are for Sellier Kellys made out of Epsom leather. Keep in mind that prices vary from country to country and are liable to change. Use these prices as estimates. 

Hermès StylePrice (USD)Price (Euros)
Kelly 20$8,250€6,700
Kelly 25$11,300€8,650
Kelly 28        —€9,100
Kelly 32$14,0009,850€
Kelly 35$14,500          —
Hermes Kelly Prices

Hermès Kelly Pros 

  • Part of Hermès’ Holy Trinity of bags, meaning it will remain stylish for many years
  • High quality materials and construction ensure that Kellys will last a lifetime
  • Detachable shoulder strap provides versatile styling options
  • Metal feet protect the bottom of the bag from damage
  • High resale value

Hermès Kelly Cons

  • Flaps are challenging to use, causing most owners to leave their bags open all of the time
  • Togo and Clemence leathers may slouch over time
  • Heavy 
  • Very in demand and difficult to purchase in your desired size, color, and leather

Read also: Chanel Classic Flap vs Hermes Kelly

Hermès Birkin 


Hermès’ Birkin was inspired by and named after actress Jane Birkin. On a flight from the UK to France, Birkin awkwardly spilled the contents of her beloved wicker basket bag all over her seatmate, Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas. 

After helping her clean up, Dumas offered to collaborate with Birkin to create a spacious, versatile bag that would keep her belongings secure. Using the initial sketch, Dumas brought the bag to life three years later.   


Birkin bags are rectangular in shape and have enough room for all of your daily essentials. They can be held using the double top handles. Like the Kelly, the Birkin features leather flaps that can be secured or worn open. They also come with a lock and key set stored in the leather clouchette pouch. 

Another similarity between the two models is the stitching. Birkins also come in Retourne and Sellier versions. Retorne Birkins tend to be rounder, slouchier, and more casual, while Selliers are structured. 

Credit @clairerose Hermès Kelly vs Birkin: The Ultimate Battle of the Bags 
Credit @clairerose


Smaller Birkins, like the 25 and 30, use Swift leather, a material revered for its smoothness and dyeability. That said, sturdier leathers like Epsom, Box Calf, Togo, and Clemence are more common. Exotic skins, such as crocodile, ostrich, and lizard, are often used on special edition or seasonal pieces. 


Hermès increases their prices almost every year. This makes providing accurate estimates difficult. Still, here are some current prices we were able to find. The prices listed are for Birkins made out of Togo leather. 

Hermès StylePrice (USD)Price (Euros)
Birkin 25$10,400€8,050
Birkin 30$11,600€8,900
Birkin 35        —€9,850
Hermes Birkin Price

Hermès Birkin Pros

  • Plenty of room for storing daily essentials 
  • A quality bag that will last a lifetime
  • Has excellent resale value
  • Lots of styling options

Hermès Birkin Cons 

  • Prices keep increasing
  • Heavy, even when empty
  • No strap means limited wearability 
  • Clasp is annoying to use
  • Difficult to find the model you want

Comparison Hermes Kelly vs Birkin 

hermes kelly or hermes birkin
Hermes Kelly vs Hermes Birkin


While we can’t get enough of either bag, we’re partial to the elegant lines, single top handle, and detachable shoulder strap of the Kelly. Not only is the Kelly more versatile in terms of styling options, but it also transitions from day to night way better than the Birkin can (depending on the size, of course)

Winner: Kelly 


Prices for both bags have gone up significantly, making them almost neck and neck. Still, Kellys have a slightly cheaper starting price, meaning they’re more accessible from a financial standpoint.

Winner: Kelly 

Resale Value 

According to the luxury resale website The RealReal, Birkins have an 80% resale value on average. That said, many Birkins resell for more than their retail value. In particular, exotic Birkins made out of lizard or crocodile and Baby Birkins (25) can fetch up to 210% of their original price. 

Kellys slightly outpace Birkins when it comes to resale value, selling for approximately 92% of their retail price. Exotic materials and The Mini Kelly sell exceptionally well on the secondhand market and are likely to fetch close to double their asking price. 

Although this one is close, we’re going to give the win to Kellys as their average resale value is slightly higher. 

Winner: Kelly


Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so people will have different opinions for this one. Both bags are extremely pleasing to the eye. We would say that the Kelly has a more feminine silhouette and it’s a bit dressier than a Birkin. The Birkin can feel more casual and cool, especially with an open top. Our personal favorite on this category is the Birkin as we find it easier to style.

Winner: Birkin

Easy to buy new

If you were wondering which one is easier to buy from the boutique, a Kelly or a Birkin… the answer in both. When talking about the most popular sizes: Birkin 25, Mini Kelly or Kelly 25 – you have to really luck out to be offered one.

However, according to my Hermes SA, in general large Kellys are less in demand and easier to get than larger Birkins. This might differ from country to country and city to city , so make sure to ask your own SA about it.

Winner: Kelly

Birkin and Kelly – Outfits and Inspiration

Hermès Kelly vs Birkin – Which is the Winner? 

With a final score of four categories to one, Kelly is the runaway winner in this battle of the bags. Everything from her elegant lines to the removable shoulder strap and the insane resale value make it easy to see why. 

That’s not to say that we don’t love Birkins–believe us, we do. If you’ve got your heart set on one, don’t let us talk you out of buying it. It’s just that Kellys are a bit more versatile and slightly less expected than Birkins. 


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