Best 'smooth' leather if buying preloved Birkin

Feb 22, 2020
1,181
3,660
London
I hope I can get some help and advice.
I have decided that at some point I will take the plunge and invest in a pre-loved Birkin-because it will be a big deal and something I need to save for I want to get it right.
I want a 35 or 40 and my heart is set on getting a smooth skin (ie; nothing grained or textured) really I'd love one close to the original Jane Birkin bag (which I believe was a40 though my Hermes SA tells me it'll be too big for me!)
Which would be the best leather to buy it in in terms of durability and other factors -I've seen one at the sort of price I may be able to afford in Evergrain which I dont know much about but looks smooth in the picture.and one in Veau Swift.
The colour I think I'll be looking to buy in would be Black,Rouge H,dark grey, very dark brown, Prune noir or 'maybe' a natural deep tan.
I want the bag to be cool yet quite casual in the way I'd wear it.
Please fellow PF members could you give me your favourite smooth skins and their pro's and cons.
How they soften, scratch,patina and whether they can be successfully Spa'd is a big factor in my final choice-oh! and weight too
Thank you in advance.
Maxine
 

Graw

Member
Aug 26, 2011
3,936
742
If you want something you can walk around in a 40, as suggested by your SA, may be too large. Walking around with a 35 is large as well. Before you spend thousands try to walk around with a similar size bag.
 

samfalstaff

For crying out loud...
May 31, 2013
4,532
11,511
San Rafael, California
Smooth barenia is my vote. Scratches will show but will ultimately disappear as the bag develops a patina. Some say there is an "ugly duckling" phase of the patina process when the scratches haven't completely dissolved into the patina, but I've yet to really see that. Available colors are light brown (or fauve), black, and dark brown (ebene).
 

jyyanks

Member
Sep 15, 2013
4,287
3,957
My vote is Barenia or box. Both are beautiful and develop an amazing patina. Box has more of a sheen to it and is lighter whereas Barenia has a more matte look and is heavier. Some people would say that box and Barenia are more difficult to maintain than swift or evergrain but both leathers are to die for!
In box, I love Rouge H and raisin. In Barenia, love natural and black (I’m biased as I just bought a black barenia b35).
I have a bag in Swift as well but prefer the other 2.
 

Tonimichelle

It’s all about the bag!
Apr 9, 2013
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UK
www.etsy.com
I think it depends on whether you prefer a structured or more slouchy B, where and when you are going to use it and budget.
Smooth Barenia is absolutely gorgeous, it will look more casual and pretty much never look immaculate, but scratches rub away easily and is ok in the rain. Prices tend to be high though.
Box is beautiful, spas well, structured, but don’t get it wet!
Swift I’ve found is a lot more robust than it looks, minor scratches seem to disappear and I suspect in black wouldn’t show at all. I know some people have had issues with corner wear, but despite lots of use mine has less corner wear than the togo B I had. It’s also ok in a little rain.
 

pinkorchid20

Member
Jul 14, 2017
2,138
6,220
In addition to the options mentioned above, I would also look into Veau Gulliver - long discontinued but a lovely soft and smooth leather. Its successor is Swift, but Gulliver seems a bit sturdier to me and has a wonderful satiny appearance.
 

duna

O.G.
Feb 9, 2006
10,315
4,791
I would go for Box, Barenia, Gulliver/Swift, Vache Naturelle. As others have said 40 is very big and heavy: Box is the lightest among the leathers I have mentioned above. Jane Birkin's was black Boxcalf wich is my ideal Birkin!
 
Feb 22, 2020
1,181
3,660
London
I think it depends on whether you prefer a structured or more slouchy B, where and when you are going to use it and budget.
Smooth Barenia is absolutely gorgeous, it will look more casual and pretty much never look immaculate, but scratches rub away easily and is ok in the rain. Prices tend to be high though.
Box is beautiful, spas well, structured, but don’t get it wet!
Swift I’ve found is a lot more robust than it looks, minor scratches seem to disappear and I suspect in black wouldn’t show at all. I know some people have had issues with corner wear, but despite lots of use mine has less corner wear than the togo B I had. It’s also ok in a little rain.
-
Very valid questions-thank you.
Budget is definitely on the low side
I hope to be able to save up to £6.500-£7000 by end of year for this
(providing I keep my job for as we know these are uncertain times)
I like the idea of a more Slouchy look for the B-my style is definitely more avant garde I wear a lot of Japanese and Belgian Designers and Vintage I am 60years old but I veer more towards Iris Apfel or Patti Smith in my clothing choices.
I want to use it as an 'almost everyday' bag
in that I'd like to wear it when I go vintage shopping ,lunch with friends as well as to work which involves a train commute , I dont want to feel too precious about it because the spirit of the bag (unlike the Constance) is that of a chic 'basket'.
I'm glad you mentioned rain-
I live in London and as we know In the UK we can get a lot of rain! I forgot to mention that in my original post....I love Box but I ruined a box vintage Gucci Lady Lock by wearing it in the rain and now it has ugly 'bubbles' on it.
With all of this taken into account...what do you guys think would be 'THE' one that I should look out for?
And thank you so much to those that have already responded....this is such a big deal to me and I want to get it right
....As a postscript if Money were no object my ideal would be a So Black or a Matt Black or Matt Graphite Croc with Palladium Hardware. .....I can only dream!!:smile:
 
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Rockerchic

O.G.
Jun 9, 2006
13,845
4,125
-
Very valid questions-thank you.
Budget is definitely on the low side
I hope to be able to save up to £6.500-£7000 by end of year for this
(providing I keep my job for as we know these are uncertain times)
I like the idea of a more Slouchy look for the B-my style is definitely more avant garde I wear a lot of Japanese and Belgian Designers and Vintage I am 60years old but I veer more towards Iris Apfel or Patti Smith in my clothing choices.
I want to use it as an 'almost everyday' bag
in that I'd like to wear it when I go vintage shopping ,lunch with friends as well as to work which involves a train commute , I dont want to feel too precious about it because the spirit of the bag (unlike the Constance) is that of a chic 'basket'.
I'm glad you mentioned rain-
I live in London and as we know In the UK we can get a lot of rain! I forgot to mention that in my original post....I love Box but I ruined a box vintage Gucci Lady Lock by wearing it in the rain and now it has ugly 'bubbles' on it.
With all of this taken into account...what do you guys think would be 'THE' one that I should look out for?
And thank you so much to those that have already responded....this is such a big deal to me and I want to get it right
....As a postscript if Money were no object my ideal would be a So Black or a Matt Black or Matt Graphite Croc with Palladium Hardware. .....I can only dream!!:smile:
With all said above, I'd vote Gulliver. I would have suggested Box but for the rain factor above. I have a gulliver and she has aged beautifully. There are light surface scratches throughout that may be able to be polished out with a spa but in most lightening you can't even see them unless inspected carefully. Also if you get it in black, it would be so easy to touch up. You could likely use a little black polish on the corners yourself and it wouldn't affect the ability to bring to spa in future.
Good luck deciding! Have fun saving and looking around.
FYI also love the smooth leathers, below is picture of gulliver (with GHW) next to box.

IMG_1314.jpeg
 

Suncatcher

Member
Feb 15, 2012
1,858
1,916
I love the direction you are going with your thought process and people here have given you great suggestions. In my pre covid day to day work life, I routinely carried a 35 but it gets very heavy very quickly. On weekends I would switch to a Constance or Kelly and for travel I would use a Constance or an Evelyne. I suggest you load up a tote bag you currently have to the way a 35 might feel and walk around with it on the weekends to see what you think about its weight.
 

papertiger

MOD
Moderator
Authenticator
O.G.
May 23, 2009
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G-orgeous H-eaven
-
Very valid questions-thank you.
Budget is definitely on the low side
I hope to be able to save up to £6.500-£7000 by end of year for this
(providing I keep my job for as we know these are uncertain times)
I like the idea of a more Slouchy look for the B-my style is definitely more avant garde I wear a lot of Japanese and Belgian Designers and Vintage I am 60years old but I veer more towards Iris Apfel or Patti Smith in my clothing choices.
I want to use it as an 'almost everyday' bag
in that I'd like to wear it when I go vintage shopping ,lunch with friends as well as to work which involves a train commute , I dont want to feel too precious about it because the spirit of the bag (unlike the Constance) is that of a chic 'basket'.
I'm glad you mentioned rain-
I live in London and as we know In the UK we can get a lot of rain! I forgot to mention that in my original post....I love Box but I ruined a box vintage Gucci Lady Lock by wearing it in the rain and now it has ugly 'bubbles' on it.
With all of this taken into account...what do you guys think would be 'THE' one that I should look out for?
And thank you so much to those that have already responded....this is such a big deal to me and I want to get it right
....As a postscript if Money were no object my ideal would be a So Black or a Matt Black or Matt Graphite Croc with Palladium Hardware. .....I can only dream!!:smile:
Have a look through our leather reference library.

Gulliver/Swift is a good bet for you because you like that original (Jane) Birkin undulating look (me too). Never had a problem with rain with any of my Swift bags BUT I don't intentionally go out in a storm wearing one either.

Original Barenia may good too because it doesn't care about rain, hard to find as many have been talking-up this leather lately (then storing them in their wardrobes and reselling).

Warning though. A B 40 is most leathers is heavy to carry on a daily basis (and I have carried a Travel Bolide on a daily basis). Personally, I would try it out before you commit (unless you are fabulously strong - in which case you have my admiration).
 

Tonimichelle

It’s all about the bag!
Apr 9, 2013
2,481
7,239
UK
www.etsy.com
-
Very valid questions-thank you.
Budget is definitely on the low side
I hope to be able to save up to £6.500-£7000 by end of year for this
(providing I keep my job for as we know these are uncertain times)
I like the idea of a more Slouchy look for the B-my style is definitely more avant garde I wear a lot of Japanese and Belgian Designers and Vintage I am 60years old but I veer more towards Iris Apfel or Patti Smith in my clothing choices.
I want to use it as an 'almost everyday' bag
in that I'd like to wear it when I go vintage shopping ,lunch with friends as well as to work which involves a train commute , I dont want to feel too precious about it because the spirit of the bag (unlike the Constance) is that of a chic 'basket'.
I'm glad you mentioned rain-
I live in London and as we know In the UK we can get a lot of rain! I forgot to mention that in my original post....I love Box but I ruined a box vintage Gucci Lady Lock by wearing it in the rain and now it has ugly 'bubbles' on it.
With all of this taken into account...what do you guys think would be 'THE' one that I should look out for?
And thank you so much to those that have already responded....this is such a big deal to me and I want to get it right
....As a postscript if Money were no object my ideal would be a So Black or a Matt Black or Matt Graphite Croc with Palladium Hardware. .....I can only dream!!:smile:
Ah I had a feeling you were not too far from me which is partly why I mentioned weather! Given that you’d like something not too hideously expensive (I know this is relative), casual looking and maybe slouchy, for daily use and correct me if I’m wrong but I have a feeling you’re not much taller than me (I’m 5’2), then my pick would be Gulliver or swift in a darker colour size 35. It’s a reasonably light leather but a 40 is still going to be heavy when you start to fill it up and cumbersome on public transport. I can’t begin to imagine how hard that would be if you use the tube in rush hour!!
 
Feb 22, 2020
1,181
3,660
London
With all said above, I'd vote Gulliver. I would have suggested Box but for the rain factor above. I have a gulliver and she has aged beautifully. There are light surface scratches throughout that may be able to be polished out with a spa but in most lightening you can't even see them unless inspected carefully. Also if you get it in black, it would be so easy to touch up. You could likely use a little black polish on the corners yourself and it wouldn't affect the ability to bring to spa in future.
Good luck deciding! Have fun saving and looking around.
FYI also love the smooth leathers, below is picture of gulliver (with GHW) next to box.

View attachment 4785585
I love her! she looks slightly more Matt too which I quite like
 
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