Diving Deep into the World of Hermès Clutches

Do you live the clutch life?

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On first thought, the idea of casually carrying a clutch seems rather ridiculous to those of us accustomed to carrying the conventional handbag. No handles? No strap? Tiny capacity? NEXT! But the clutches from the house of Hermès might just change your mind.

For one, their aesthetic is truly hard to beat. Forcing the user to pare down to their barest of essentials – in effect, playing purse-Tetris of sorts – a Hermès clutch is a lightweight, statement-making and versatile accessory.

Plus, carrying nothing but a clutch, especially if it’s an Hermès, is also a power move. It’s as if you’re proclaiming, “I have people to carry things for me!”

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Also, do you happen to be on-board the mini bag trend already? Is the mini Kelly or the Birkin 20 what you covet? Then clutches should be right up your alley! After all, you’ve already minimized your essentials to fit in the petite handbags.

Moreover, other than classic minaudiere evening styles, such as those from Chanel or the quintessential BV Knot, clutch bags now come in a variety of not only shapes but sizes. As just one example, consider Daniel Lee’s The Pouch for the House of Bottega Veneta; it’s soft, cushiony, and large. Truly, there are really no more boundaries as to what a clutch can look like!

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Still unconvinced? Well, a clutch can also be your ticket to experimenting with various styles, colors and materials. Because it’s small, you needn’t worry about it looking too jarring, especially if you’re used to carrying neutrals, or you’re just dipping your toes into the world of colorful handbags.

And this is where Hermès steps in. Yes, the Birkins and Kellys might be the brand’s most popular offerings. But with the vast range of leather-color-hardware combinations available for its extensive selection of clutches, one simply can’t help feel a little spoilt (and perhaps a little overwhelmed too)! So, let’s look at some of the most popular and covetable handheld beauties from the storied house of Hermès that will jazz up both your daytime AND night-time outfits!

The Kelly Clutch Family

Sometimes, even the most delectable of Kelly or Birkin 25s doesn’t quite make the cut for a formal event. You just need something small, flat(ish) and elongated. In other words, you need a clutch. Lucky for you (and us), there’s no need to abandon the look of a Kelly. Hermès has clutch options that keep the signature elements from your favorite purse – the touret, the flap and the sangles.

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Even better, it has expanded the range of Kellys to include a whole collection of highly covetable evening-worthy offerings! Starting from the Kelly Pochette to the (now discontinued) Kelly Longue and the Kelly Cut, you asked, and Hermès delivered. But beware, just because they’re smaller doesn’t mean they’re easier to acquire than the actual Kelly!

The Kelly Pochette

Measuring 22 cm by 14 cm by 7 cm (at the base) or 8.6 x 5.5 x 2.75 in inches, the Kelly Pochette (often shortened to KP) is one of those rare evening bags that can stand on its own. Literally. Featuring a collapsible top-handle for hand carry or tucking, the KP easily transitions from day to night without looking disproportionately large for a formal purse.

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If you’re especially into the Hermès mini bag trend, the Pochette is likely already on your radar. And there’s good reason for it too. Being roomier than the conventional clutch, it pairs well with everything from jeans to sundresses to haute couture! But beware, it’s a quota bag, so getting your hands on one from the store only gets more difficult.

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In fact, in the wake of the mini bag craze, the Kelly Pochette has become as much of a Holy Grail as its elder sisters, the Kelly and the Birkin! Some find it even harder to obtain. And its prices have gone up too – setting you back $6,050 for the Swift version. Compared to its sibling, the K25, however, the KP comes with a more east-west orientation. And of course, a smaller capacity.

The Kelly Longue

The Kelly Longue is the original “Kelly clutch.” It mirrors the trapezoidal shape of the Kelly bag, but in a flatter profile. No need to worry about its capacity though. Measuring 33cm by 15cm by 2.5 cm, or 13 x 6 x 1 inches, it will accommodate your evening essentials without appearing bulky or misshapen.

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The Longue was released in the Spring 2008 Collection, but was discontinued after Fall of that year. It also came in a variety of materials, including Box, Swift, Chèvre Mysore, Doblis and Crocodile, and the style was a favorite of style-icon, Victoria Beckham.

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And the best part about it is that it fits right into the oversized clutch trend, pairing equally well with casual and formal outfits without having you rationalize your belongings to a massive degree. Although now a unicorn on resale (*sigh*), the Kelly Longue Swift sold for $4,000.00 when it was in production.

The Kelly Cut

The Kelly Cut is essentially a shrunken-down version of the Longue, and was introduced by Hermès after the discontinuation of the Longue. But it features some important distinctions too. A more pronounced rectangular shape, a thinner profile and a more east-west silhouette being the most notable ones.

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Measuring 31cm by 13cm by 2cm, or 12.2 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches, the Kelly Cut Swift now retails for $6,100 – a small step up from the Kelly Pochette. Although it’s touted to be easier to find than the Pochette, it is, by no means, readily available. But it’s also a true clutch from the Kelly family, and a great way to transition to the clutch life if you adore the aesthetic of the Kelly and can do with carrying less throughout the day.

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The Jige

But if you’d like something that you won’t have to make offerings to the H gods for, Hermès offers you the Jige. It’s big, it’s slim, it’s understated. And it’s quintessentially Hermès, with an H prominent enough to notice across a room.

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Legend has it that a Jige was originally presented as a gift by Jean Guerrand, Hermès CEO Émile Hermès’ son-in-law, to his future daughter-in-law. But it didn’t hit the shelves until 1975. And when it did, the brand knew it had a classic in its hands. Hermès ultimately leaned into this style and expanded size offerings PM, GM, Elan and a mini size that’s more of a wallet-on-chain.

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But, the largest size is the one that’s really, forgive the pun, clutch. Not only is it, at nearly a foot wide, the perfect portfolio to accessorize your office attire, it’s also an excellent Hermès option for men. Available in Epsom, Swift, as well as in exotic or exotic-leather combinations, the Jige is slightly more affordable, with the Jige Elan 29 Touch at Hermès USA priced at $5,900, while the Jige Elan in Swift will set you back $3,100.

The Medor

The Medor, on the other hand, is a showier affair, featuring the Hermès Collier de Chien closure on an otherwise plain flap silhouette. And because of its unique, pyramidal-studded hardware, the clutch is elevated from simply elegant to edgy and cool.

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Largely due to its prominent statement hardware, the Medor often is the chosen clutch among fashionistas. It works as a gem with formal gowns or as the crown jewel of a business ensemble. The Medor is a shining jewel that can complete virtually any ensemble. But don’t be fooled by its glitzy outlook. It can even make a sundress look glamorous!

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The Medor has a cylindrical side-profile, enabling you to fit more of your belongings in it than the flatter Jige. Initially available in two sizes, the Medor 23 the 29, though the 29 was discontinued later. Measurements for the Medor 23 are 23cm x 11cm x 5cm, or 9 x 4.3 x 2 inches. Available in smooth Tadelakt and Box leather (both of which are rather delicate), as well as Chèvre Mysore, Swift and exotics, the Medor features hardware combinations in gold, palladium and permabrass. It’s also pricier than the Jige, starting from $4,675 for the Box leather version.

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The Egée

While the Medor showcases the Collier de Chien motif, the Egée features the Chaine d’Ancre closure. The hardware is bold, no doubt, but less glitzy than the Medor – perfect for lovers of slightly more minimal, almost sculptural accessories.

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But that doesn’t mean that the clutch is any less adaptable than the Medor, rather, it probably makes even more sense to use the Egée in a casual setting to give you just the right amount of edge from everybody else.

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Introduced in 2011, the Egee measures 25cm by 10.5cm by 4 cm, or 9.8 x 4.1 x 1.6 inches. Like the Medor, it too came in an oval-esque profile. It was made in Tadelakt, Evercolor, Evergrain and Niloticus crocodile, although now it appears to be sold out everywhere, except on resale.

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Other Hermès Clutches

Now besides these wildly popular clutches, Hermès offers a slew of more affordable non-quota clutches. These are actually often available for purchase over the H website. And, needless to say, their simplicity and unique constructions make them favorites among fashionistas. These include, but are not limited to:

The Cinhetic

Inspired by vanity cases and the kinetic art, the Cinhetic clutch is modern and understated. It features a statement asymmetric H-like hardware in palladium, gold, or a combination of both, on leathers like Chèvre Mysore of Villandry Calfskin. The clutch version of the Cinhetic measures 24cm by 20cm by 2.3 cm, or 9.4 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches.

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The Verrou

The Verrou, similar in outlook to the Cinhetic but with a wider base and a more organized interior, comes in a lot of different forms. This includes a more elongated Verrou clutch, a larger Verrou Strap Shoulder bag and a Verrou Chain Mini bag, all boasting the same flap closure and edgy hardware detail. It is, however, the clutch version that interests us, which measures 20cm by 11.5cm by 2.5cm, or 8 x 4.5 x 1 inches.

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The Multiplis

The Multiplis is more of a document-holder than a clutch, making it perfect to sneak from work to an evening party. And what it lacks in terms of hardware, it makes up with a clever use of leather paneling and colors, creating the illusion of a broad H monogram. Hermès USA currently offers a very unisex version in Evercolor calfskin and matte Mississippiensis alligator (priced at $10,300). Absolutely drool-worthy!

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The Opli

Featuring a very simple, origami-like design, the Opli is one of the most minimal (and least expensive) clutches you can buy over the Hermès website. It comes in two sizes – 24cm and 28 cm – and as an added bonus, also includes a detachable shoulder strap! If you’re looking for an unstructured, pouch-esque clutch, now you know what to look for!

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The Pliplat

Another large-but-flat clutch like the Jige, the Pliplat is also highly minimal. The only striking feature on it is the handle that is placed on the top flap – meaning you can fix it onto your wrist and still have both hands free! Quite a rare feat for a clutch. Plus, you can also opt for the Touch version where the clutch is in Swift leather and the handle in lizard.

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The Cherche-Midi

Another clutch with a shoulder strap, the Cherche-Midi also features a more understated Chain d’Ancre closure. Most commonly found in Epsom in a variety of colorful and neutral tones, this clutch comes in three different sizes – 18cm, 22cm and 25cm.

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Large and In Charge: What About Bigger Wallets?...

Until now, our discussion has been centered exclusively on clutches or “evening bags”. But how many of us are guilty of running errands with nothing but a large wallet? I know I am. Does that mean larger To-Go wallets, like the Kelly To Go, the Kelly Pocket to Go, or even the men’s Kelly Depeches, can serve as clutches?

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Finally, as fashion becomes more androgynous, even men are eschewing traditional briefcases or document-holders in favor of more stylish clutches, just like they’re now competing with female buyers for Birkins too! The truth is, you don’t need any excuse to indulge in the clutch life. Simply take your pick and enjoy!

Published: November 19th, 2022
Updated: November 21st, 2022

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