Dear PurseBop, What Should My First Hermès Bag Be?

The latest in our Dear PurseBop series.


Dear PurseBop, 

I’d like to dip my toe into the orange pool . . . and emerge with my first Hermès leather bag. Although I’m not yet ready (financially or psychologically) to pursue one of the elite trifecta (Birkin, Kelly, Constance), I’m drawn to Hermès’ legacy, craftsmanship and label. While I could wait and save up more money, it’s time for a new bag and I want it to be Hermès. I’ve narrowed it down to the Garden Party and the Evelyne.

Which should I choose? 

Dreaming of Hermes


Dear Dreaming,

It’s always a pleasure to welcome newcomers to the addicting world of Hermès. Be forewarned that it can be a slippery slope! Whether a gateway to the elusive Birkin, Kelly and Constance, or to a veritable cornucopia of Garden Parties and Evelynes, many succumb to orange allure. Yes, the legacy, craftsmanship and label may seduce and satisfy even the most discerning bag aficionado.

The Hermès Garden Party and the Evelyne are two quite different bags. Although both tend to be more casual day bags, the former is a tote, while the latter is a shoulder and cross-body bag. So, to some extent, your decision depends upon what type of bag you really want or need. Assuming you are indeed agnostic to the type . . . let’s discuss.

The Evelyne @petitbunnii

For starters, you really can’t go wrong with either. This choice is really a win-win. Both bags have loyal fans and are extremely usable. Neither is considered rare, though the precise, size, color and leather may not be available at a given time.

The Garden Party tote, as you are no doubt aware, comes in an east-west rectangle shape, with a snap-open top, two handles, and an interior zipper pocket. There is no obvious H branding, so it often flies under the radar to those not in the know. The Garden Party is generally available in three sizes, Negonda leather or canvas, and the price ranges from $2,075 to $2,960. (Read our recent reference guide on the Garden Party here.)

Garden Party. @pretty_purses

The Evelyne is also rectangular but in more of a north-south manner. Its roots follow Hermès’ history as an equestrian brand: it is named after the then-head of the equestrian department and functions much like a saddle bag. Carried on the shoulder, or more commonly cross-body, the Evelyne features a large external pocket, one large interior pocket, leather tab closure on top, and adjustable shoulder strap. The external pocket proudly displays a perforated “H”. The H is supposed to be worn next to the body – for ventilation reasons – but fashionistas often reverse this. For this bag, you have an option of styles (regular and a stiffer Sellier), four sizes, and many different fabrications. As such, the price varies from $1,800 to $6,000.

The Evelyne PM @lux_mommy

If Hermès’ heritage is your true objective, the Evelyne hews closer. Many forget that Hermès’ status as a fashion house is relatively recent. It began as a harness and saddle maker in the 1800s. The Kelly and Birkin didn’t become fashion statements until the 1950s and the 1980s, respectively.

On the other hand, if price is a consideration, the Garden Party tote is generally more affordable. It also may be a more useful work bag. Depending upon the size and construction, it can hold files, a laptop, etc.

The Garden Party 36. @ptbstp

Frankly, we can’t choose for you. But we can assure you that you can’t go wrong with either.

Welcome to the Orange side.


Evelyne (bottom left) and Garden Party (bottom right). All in Rose Sakura. @pretty_purses

Published: September 8th, 2019
Updated: November 10th, 2019

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