Review: Hermès Kelly Cut

I love classic bags with unconventional “twists”, and though this bag might not be as “out there” as one may expect, it is definitely not your everyday H color, which might just give it enough edge to make it part of my permanent collection. Rewind to my early college years, I was working at a small consignment boutique and came across a bag in Hermes’ “Griolet” color, it was love at first sight. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the stars (well, the resale market and my wallet) to align, but it didn’t really happen as planned.

Instead I was presented with a choice: the opportunity arose to own one of my long discontinued holy grails in brand new condition but I’d have to sell my three remaining Chanel pieces (all vintage) to fund this single Hermès clutch. Naturally, I turned to my fellow Purseforum members for advice and started the “Selling all my Chanel for another Hermès???” thread, where I not only found my answer, but discovered that plenty of other members were considering doing the same. So now that I’ve successfully bagged the clutch (pun intended), I thought I would give it a thorough review to help anyone else considering doing the same.

Kelly Cut Review

Aesthetics

If you’ve read my previous review on the Bottega Veneta Pouch, you know I’m all for a causal clutch. And though this Kelly Cut happens to be in a rather unusual color, this combo had been on my wishlist for quite some time. With its simple design and convenient top handle, it didn’t take long for this bag to become one of my most used pieces. The Griolet and Silver hardware combination helped make this bag easy to style, as its playful yet “neutral adjacent” mauve like color naturally pairs well with most of my wardrobe. The bag’s minimal nature and silky smooth texture also made it very easy to incorporate into looks, and add a fun pop of color.

Usability + Functionality

I really struggled with rating this category so I thought the best way to break it down would be with Pros and Cons.

Pros:
– This bag has an internal pocket thats perfect for loose cards, while also fitting my cardholder as well.
– Expandable accordion-like sides that actually make this clutch much roomier than it looks. Do not be mislead by its flat appearance!
– The top handle provides an alternate carrying option and makes it easier to get in and out of the bag.
– It’s long enough to comfortably carry underarm, freeing up hands when needed.
– This bag easily fits my massive Iphone SX MAX (even with the case on!). A rarity for bags that fall in the “small” category.

Cons:
– Definitely shows every scratch, some easily buff out. This a characteristic of the leather so I don’t necessarily mind, and knew what to expect. Still, I find myself babying it from time to time, without even realizing it.
– I am constantly fussing with the lock if I carry it closed, which I have to do as the Sangles flop around a lot and don’t lay as nicely as they do on my full sized Kelly. I hardly ever properly close any of my Hermès bags.
– Unlike the Kelly 20, it does not have a strap option which I was prepared for, yet it does stop me from wearing to as much as I’d like to.

In general, I wouldn’t call clutches the most practical bags, nor would I even call them comfortable. To be fair, even my full sized Kelly isn’t my most practical or comfortable bag. But I think for a clutch this bag isn’t all that bad. It fits a lot more than most, has a thoughtful spot for cards, and due to its long shape and top handle, offers multiple ways to be carried.

Quality + Construction

WOW! Bags like this are what makes Hermès feel worth it. This bag is perfect, not a single flaw in sight, even at thirteen years old. One thing I love about Hermès is that they use Palladium for their hardware. Palladium is in the same metal family as platinum and both share a bright “white” color that unlike white gold, will not fade over time and will never need re-plating. Their bags are also double stitched which means that if a thread were to break loose the bag would remain intact. Like most Hermès bags, this one is lined in chèvre which is my all time favorite leather! Though both the interior and exterior are indeed “Griolet”, the way that each leather picks up dye is completely different which is really cool to see.

This Kelly Cut is in Tadelakt, a softer, shiny, smooth leather that could be a cousin to Box, though not as rigid. I added a comparison photo above for reference because optically they are similar. The leather has also been compared to Swift which I have yet to own, but do have on the wishlist. Is it the new Box? Nope. Is it the new Barenia? Definitely not. I think Tadelakt deserves its own special place, as there is no doubt that this leather has some very special qualities. Like Chèvre, it holds color in a rich bold way. It’s smooth and shiny, like box, yet soft to the touch in a way that reminds me of Evergrain. But one of my favorite characteristics of this leather is the very subtle vertical veining that appears if you look close enough (doesn’t photograph so easily). So with all that being said, If you tend to shy away from bags that show scratches easily, this is probably not the leather for you. If you are someone who doesn’t mind some age-based character and enjoys a luxurious touch, then you got yourself a winner.

Hermes Kelly Cut Review - Detail

Price + Value

Hermès is never cheap, and to make matters worse the Kelly Cut and the Kelly Pochette often sell well over retail, making this a harder style to obtain for a good price. I was REALLY lucky to grab this bag brand new, and under retail, yet I’m a bit hesitant to label this bag a “deal”. But was this purchase worth it? Personally, Yes! These bags are absolutely beautiful, and I have yet to find anything that compares. Hermès’ quality as mentioned above is absolutely amazing, after-all thoughtful craftsmanship is one of the things I value most in any purchase, even beyond handbags. But with all that being said, if I couldn’t wear this bag casually I wouldn’t have purchased it, especially with its high price tag. It also feels good to know that if my feelings were ever to change, chances are high that I could still make a profit selling it on the resale market.

Staying Power

Hermès is always classic, its simple silhouettes and excellent quality make for a bag that will last several lifetimes with care. To some this color may change that (which is why I knocked it down a star), but in my opinion it feels like a neutral. In Tadelakt, Griolet is more like mauve than purple, making it much easier to wear. I personally style it with light wash denim, creams, browns, and other warmer colors. The Kelly bag was designed in the 1930s and has not only withstood the test of time, but has now become a handbag icon. Like most designer bags, I’m sure its interest will fluctuate and it will have a moment in the “social media spotlight” and you’ll begin to notice it more. And as all those blogger’s rotate their bags in and out, you’ll also notice that their Hermès bags always remain in the feed. When I buy Hermès, I buy it for a lifetime.

Hermes Kelly Cut Review - Front View

Overall Rating

I love this bag, but I also like to use clutches for casual wear. So, If you’re not a clutch person it may not make much sense for you to purchase, especially with the high price tag of Hermès items. But if you’re looking for an ultra-luxe, timeless, day to night bag, than this is a very good option, and will most likely return the investment if it doesn’t work out. If you value craftsmanship and quality, enjoy a bag with history, then it doesn’t get much better than this!

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