Contemporary connotation of "Kelly-style bag"?


New Member
Jul 6, 2008
The term "Kelly bag" is clearly overused on all the resale sites these days. And, of course, everybody knows what a "real" Kelly bag from Hermes is.

OK, so now that's straight, my question is this: what, exactly, is considered a Kelly bag in contemporary, generic usage? I have heard that it is the handle placement (in from the edges of the frame, as opposed to out at the edges as they were done previously), shape (trapezoidal or slightly so), or flap & clasp style. Or a combination of all three design elements.

You can go to eBay, Ruby Lane, private vintage websites, Etsy, and on and on, and see 100 different styles of bags, all called "Kelly bags."

How would you describe a Kelly bag? Thanks!


Jan 22, 2006
FYI, the original name of the Hermes Kelly is "Petite Sac Haut a Courroies" or "Sac de Voyage à Courroie, Pour Dames". The HAC which is similar to the Birkin except that it's a taller version is the ancestor of the "Petite Sac Haut a Courroies" or otherwise commonly known nowadays as the Hermes 'Kelly' in reference to Princess Grace Kelly.

I guess those designers name their bags as the kelly because of its handles, flap and clasp style, just similar in some aspects but not exactly a look-alike to the H Kelly.:yes:


Feb 27, 2007
Austin, Texas
This is my Chanel Kelly bag. Chanel even calls it a Kelly Bag. Top handle, flap, rigid construction. This is how I have always perceived Kelly bags. Obviously, the best known is by Hermes, but Chanel has been doing these for a long time as well.