Kelly 40 vs. Birkin 40: Need workhorse. Too big? Also: Pre-loved or new?

annapurse

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Jul 4, 2018
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Dear all, for years I have considered getting an Hermés bag, but it was pure fantasy and desire for the ultimate bag. Now I just got a new job and it might be actually possible. For more than one year I have been going back and forth on model, size, and alternatives (the only one would be the peekaboo, but.... still not the same). Now a second hand designer store here has a Birkin 40 in black with GHW to sell, and I am wondering if I should (no receipts, no equipment; I have known the store for 20 years and trust them, but everything is possible). So my main questions are this:
- Size: Is the Birkin 40 a lot bigger than the Kelly 40? Are both too big? I need to fit my Macbook Air 13”, some documents, a bottle of water, purse, a novel, some makeup etc.
- Color: I am leaning toward black, just for eternity reasons, but would also be into Iris, some sort of electric blue or a stunning pink. Any favorites? Cold colors work best for me.
- Leather: I keep reading about the magic of Ardennes leather, and that the newer Togo is not as good anymore as older leathers. Which would point me toward a used bag, right? Any experiences?
- I travel a lot by train and bike, and I absolutely need this bag to be a workhorse, meaning I think (!) I do need a shoulder strap, which of course would mean a Kelly, not a Birkin; do any of you do similar things and own a Birkin regardless? It will be used daily.
- Do you think a Kelly of the size I need looks conservative? My style is pretty experimental, so I am wondering.
- To have a broken in bag (not as much worry) I am considering getting a pre-loved one. I am in Germany right now; does anyone have insights as to good websites or good stores where I might do so?

I would be happy to hear from ladies with the big bags as they seem to be mostly owned by men, and just to hear from people who use their H Bags as workhorses.

Thanks so much!!!!

Anna-Maria
 

lara0112

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I thought about the Kelly 40 and found a great piece - but after some review, I realised that for a daily workhorse like I need one (laptop, all sorts of other work stuff), you would either keep it open and constantly tip forward plus a lot of strain on the handle with laptop, or close it and scratch the hardware like crazy (I had a SoKelly and that was an issue - not polished enough for work). I then switched to B 35, same specs as Kelly - but I honestly cannot see myself carrying a tote only - I just need a strap. Add to this, I need to fly under the radar at work, and a B is not flying under the radar. So I finally decided on one of my fave bags, Bolide 35 (strap, amazing quality, well distributed weight, and in my fave leather).

a B 40 is huge - I found one in my fave leather on ebay Germany (only mentioning that bec you are there) and it is HUGE in the pics - I am not into gold, so size and hardware meant it wasn't an option

in Germany: Anitas orange bags (she does insta and ebay), Ewa Lagan (most well known re-seller) - personally, I still prefer fashionphile or AFF. perhaps vestiaire (but my buying experiences were not that great).
 

annapurse

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Jul 4, 2018
43
24
Oh thank you!! So much food for thought. My alternative for all the reasons (strap/strain) would be a Fendi peekaboo iconic large - which is stunning. Just maybe not the ultimate forever bag?

Thanks for the seller recs; What is AFF?

Bolide somehow is just not my style... maybe maybe a Jypsiere but cannot find that with GHW? And not totally convinced.

Do you have thoughts on preloved vs new?
 

xiaoxiao

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May 15, 2008
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I would stick to the EU sellers if you are in Germany... (so no AFF) coz the custom is SO expensive! Another vote for B35, especially if you are biking around. With a B35 you can put it in your front basket, but not K40 or B40. HTH!
 

lara0112

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AFF - Ann's Fabulous Finds :smile:. Yes, customs is an issue for sure.

Not sure about really well known EU re-sellers, except who I mentioned already. I have gone the ebay route plenty of times but none of the items were in the B or K category, plus in Germany they often still ask for bank transfer - and that is a NO NO....
 

annapurse

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Jul 4, 2018
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I am regularly in Frankfurt so I should check Ewa Lagan out - can’t believe I haven’t been there already! Just looked and saw this (but yes might need to reconsider size):

Why do people love the Ardennes so much? I am not a huge Togo fan so I have some ideas why, but any other reasons?
 

xiaoxiao

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May 15, 2008
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AFF - Ann's Fabulous Finds :smile:. Yes, customs is an issue for sure.

Not sure about really well known EU re-sellers, except who I mentioned already. I have gone the ebay route plenty of times but none of the items were in the B or K category, plus in Germany they often still ask for bank transfer - and that is a NO NO....
I don’t know if they are well known or not, but a friend recommended this place:
https://luxussachen.com/
 
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xiaoxiao

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I am regularly in Frankfurt so I should check Ewa Lagan out - can’t believe I haven’t been there already! Just looked and saw this (but yes might need to reconsider size):

Why do people love the Ardennes so much? I am not a huge Togo fan so I have some ideas why, but any other reasons?
I love ardennes because it is sturdy and water proof (for what it’s worth). It’s really easy to refurbish to look like new again, and if holding the shape is a factor: it does. There are many ode to Ardennes posts; and I really recommend the leather (And oh, it also takes colors really well, if that’s a factor as well). Good luck deciding! And if you ever in the states; I highly recommend sandiaexchange on eBay (and also docride). I’ve been buying from sandiaexhange for over 10 years now and she is great. And docride is our residence leather expert, one cannot go wrong with her. Good luck!
 

880

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I would suggest also to be sure you can handle the weight of a birkin 40. It’s a big bag and even empty, it’s not light. A birkin 35 I think would fit everything you mentioned.
 

annapurse

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Jul 4, 2018
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Good point - I suppose chevre is lighter than Togo; Ardennes, or Fjord, no idea. A 40 Kelly should also be lighter than the Birkin....
 
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880

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Congrats on your new job BTW. If you could try on the bag, that would be best. im trying to imagine a birkin 40 on a bike. . . Hmm. I do think asian and US resellers tend to have better prices than European ones (so Even with customs fees, it might work out, but everyone has a different tolerance). In the US and in asia, there is a considerable decline in prices for size 40 And even 35. for EU resellers, I liked luxury Zurich very much. I think also known as luxury shops. the recommended reseller list. Forgot to add, a kelly or birkin can look quite edgy and not too conservative. It’s all in the attitude
 

annapurse

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Jul 4, 2018
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Yes I think I could pull off a Kelly (maybe even better than a Birkin?) in a cool/relaxed attitude. I wonder if I should try getting on the Munich wishlist (I could have last year but then got cold feet... arg) or if a vintage one would maybe suit my style better (more understated)? So difficult. (First World Problems, I know).
 
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Yes I think I could pull off a Kelly (maybe even better than a Birkin?) in a cool/relaxed attitude. I wonder if I should try getting on the Munich wishlist (I could have last year but then got cold feet... arg) or if a vintage one would maybe suit my style better (more understated)? So difficult. (First World Problems, I know).
My advice would be go Vintage- firstly you dont have to play any 'games' buying stuff you dont need to get offered a bag.
Also its easier to narrow down and buy the spec you want by going pre-loved.
plus I think it allows one to feel a little more relaxed about using it every day
 

HoneyLocks

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May 6, 2015
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Dear all, for years I have considered getting an Hermés bag, but it was pure fantasy and desire for the ultimate bag. Now I just got a new job and it might be actually possible. For more than one year I have been going back and forth on model, size, and alternatives (the only one would be the peekaboo, but.... still not the same). Now a second hand designer store here has a Birkin 40 in black with GHW to sell, and I am wondering if I should (no receipts, no equipment; I have known the store for 20 years and trust them, but everything is possible). So my main questions are this:
- Size: Is the Birkin 40 a lot bigger than the Kelly 40? Are both too big? I need to fit my Macbook Air 13”, some documents, a bottle of water, purse, a novel, some makeup etc.
- Color: I am leaning toward black, just for eternity reasons, but would also be into Iris, some sort of electric blue or a stunning pink. Any favorites? Cold colors work best for me.
- Leather: I keep reading about the magic of Ardennes leather, and that the newer Togo is not as good anymore as older leathers. Which would point me toward a used bag, right? Any experiences?
- I travel a lot by train and bike, and I absolutely need this bag to be a workhorse, meaning I think (!) I do need a shoulder strap, which of course would mean a Kelly, not a Birkin; do any of you do similar things and own a Birkin regardless? It will be used daily.
- Do you think a Kelly of the size I need looks conservative? My style is pretty experimental, so I am wondering.
- To have a broken in bag (not as much worry) I am considering getting a pre-loved one. I am in Germany right now; does anyone have insights as to good websites or good stores where I might do so?

I would be happy to hear from ladies with the big bags as they seem to be mostly owned by men, and just to hear from people who use their H Bags as workhorses.

Thanks so much!!!!

Anna-Maria
Hi Anna-Maria,

All your thoughts are very familiar to me. I love H for the scarves and considered getting a big vintage Kelly 35 or 40 for conferences, workhorse...
I have very similar requirements as you list, but I wanted to stuff a notebook a bit bigger than A4 in it, plus beverage, have space for a cardi, be able to wear it when riding my bike to work as well as on the shoulder. It should not be damaged in rain so I can use it year round, should have a flap on top so that the things inside are protected against rain and thieves. No flashy logos, structured, rectangular.
In German I would call this the "eierlegende Wollmilchsau".

I found mine, but it is not Hermès. Check out the Givenchy Medium Mystic bag!
Fits a ton, does not weigh too much, can be worn cross body, on the shoulder or in the crook of the arm.

I dragged it around Berlin stuffed full for a week long conference in November (rainy and cold): never any problems, the perfect work bag.
Downsides: No feet, not Hermès, the bottom needs reinforcement or it sags when I load too many books inside.

I know, it is not H, but if you have a chance to try it somewhere: do it and think about it. perfect work bag. Mine is burgundy with GHW.

If I sparked your interest send me a PM, if you are patient you can get some action shots.