Part I: Inserts
Our beloved PurseBop community is comprised of many and avid fans of Hermès bags. We write articles comparing and contrasting these stunning creations; consider the cost and value of our collections whether large or small; provide advice and counsel about color, size, fabrication, use and more; and share pictures and stories about reveals, dreams and holy grail bags (HGB’s). But rarely do we discuss protecting these prized possessions.
It’s time for a series on “Protecting Your Hermès Investment.”
Following our discussion of the topic, PurseBop herself will provide a testimonial. Read on, dear reader, and prepare to be introduced to your first tier of protection for your bags.
Obviously, buying Hermès is a huge financial commitment. Spending five figures (or more) on a bag is significant, even with unlimited coffers. Perhaps you justify it by pointing to articles about the Birkin being a better investment than gold or the S&P 500. And we’ve seen these bags sell at skyhigh record prices and well over retail on reseller sites and auction houses like Christie’s.
Whether it’s your first and only Hermès bag or just one of a colossal collection, generally speaking, we care about our Birkins and Kellys (and the others) and buy intending to use for our lifetime and/or pass them on to the next generation. Even if you don’t – and plan or need to rehome a bag or two – there’s an integral factor you must consider: Condition.
The condition matters when using, bequeathing or (the latest anticluttering trend) rehoming your Hermès bag. But this is particularly true if/when you and your bag part ways: Should you decide to rehome a bag – for whatever reason – the key to recouping a sizable chunk or all of your initial investment is keeping your bag ‘like new’. Condition affects price! If you keep your bag in great condition and use it gently, you can likely resell it and buy another. The fact is no one else will want your bag in bad shape, neither grandchildren nor other future owners. The condition plays a significant role in market value.
Protecting the Interior
Let’s start with the inside and work our way out. Most of us try to keep our bags clean from scratches, marks and spills, but, let’s face it, those leaky pens, lotion spills, makeup mishaps, key scratches, and the like are bound to happen in daily life. Traveling with a Birkin or Kelly in tow multiplies the risk and the need to make special protective provisions.
It’s probably no secret that using an insert will help protect the interior base and part of the sides. Call it self-contained mess, if you will. What may not be obvious it that an insert also can help keep your bag contents from spilling out of the bag. With a place for everything (like your keys, lipstick, tissues and even tide-to-go pen), it will help everything stay in its place.
Maintaining Shape and Structure
The other, and for PurseBop larger, inside preservation issue is how to maintain the shape of your bag. We don’t like sagging and bagging on our faces and we also don’t want it in our purses. There’s the age-old slouchy versus structured debates… there are those that prefer a Kelly to be sellier style, a Birkin’s corners to stand tall, and then there are those that wear their bags with the sangles and sides hanging wide open and the top folding or settling over it’s base. There’s certainly no right or wrong, nor do we judge how you wear your bag, but one thing remains constant: we all want our bags to keep shape. How we wear our bag is quite different than changing the structure of our bag. A Sellier style Kelly must not begin to look Retourne and the Birkin’s base not cave.
Indeed, as you may have noticed over the years of PurseBop’s Hermès addiction, she personally likes her bags structured. Flaps on Birkins are always tucked in, never flapping out. PurseBop’s Kelly collection is now all Sellier with not a Retourne in sight.
In a similar vein, PurseBop prefers the stiffer Hermès leathers – in other words, a more structured bag. As a result, one of her Birkin 35’s in Togo was too big and floppy and didn’t fit her fashion. Look, let’s face it… there is some trial and error – you figure out what works with your style and when you’re new to Hermes you don’t always get it right. Some is the Hermès experience – Bs and Ks are rarely offered so you take what you can get. And some is… well, you just change your mind.
Another factor we’ve been pondering is the change in Hermès leather quality. Yes, we’ve read the diatribes by long-term Hermès buyers who complain it’s not what it used to be. Some like that Togo leather was thinned and lightened (from a weight standpoint) and others don’t. Either way, the quality of the leather affects how it holds up to use. In other words, the condition. An example: a PurseBop friend has a Togo Birkin from the early 2000s. The leather is heavier and stiffer. It looks pristine and brand new despite heavy use. So, perhaps the newer leathers and the more delicate leathers just need extra support.
Your Hermès treasure also may benefit from some reinforcement when traveling. For both chronic over packers and under packers, overstuffing a tote (like the Birkin) on the road is pretty irresistible, bag-nesting or not. A little more support can’t hurt.
PurseBop's Personal Testimonial: 7RP L'Insert
With this in mind, use of an insert became a necessary consideration. Despite initial reluctance, several months ago, PurseBop inserted one – L’Insert by French company 7 Rue Paradis (7RP) – and we’re pleased to share the happy results with you. Made in luxurious and royal-like-but-engineered waterproof fabric, L’Insert is customized to your specific size and model Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag. There are even different Kelly fits depending upon whether the bag is Sellier or Retourne. You can select among several colors. L’Insert is lightweight and efficient. You don’t lose or waste space in your bag while keeping the base and sides clean. And, yes, of course, it makes switching bags a breeze. It’s hard to believe it took PurseBop (who changes bags daily… if not more) so long to convert. L’Insert arrived specially wrapped, packaged and labelled. The packaging nearly rivaled a sealed Hermes box.
We caught up with PurseBop’s gal pals on a girls night out to compile experiences and reviews – and guess what… they’re loving it too. The Paris traveling gang decided to group try it out.
Let’s take a closer look at each one’s L’Insert and understand why they use them.
PB: Gina why do you like to use L’Insert in your Birkin 25’s?
Gina123: I have several swift Birkin 25’s and I like the way the L’Insert maintains the shape with my softer leather bags, especially the ones I use on a regular basis. L’Insert has soft edges yet is firm enough to offer all sides that extra support. It fits and shapes my bags perfectly.
PB: J you hardly fill your L’Insert to capacity, why do you still use one in your bags?
Chi Town Chanel: True, I rarely stuff my bags, but I still like that extra layer of protection and support for my Birkin 30’s and 35’s with L’Insert, especially while I am traveling. I have yet to jump on the 25 bag-wagon, even though both of you are mini obsessed, LOL
PurseBop’s collection now includes one for each size category and they are especially loved for my Birkins. L’Insert keeps the insides protected, contents organized and, quite honestly, adds a layer of luxury to the experience of using my bags. The best way to describe using L’Insert is like well-fitting pretty foundation garments, but for bags… something maybe only you need to know or experience.
L’Inserts are extremely well made, and they fit so perfectly without altering the shape of my closed bag. Sides tucked in or flapping out, L’Insert accommodates either style.