The Quest for a Neutral Handbag

Neutrals are supposed to be girls best friend… who could imagine that PurseBop has struggled to acquire her very first. In all the years that I have been collecting handbags… why is it that adding a neutral to my rainbow palette is the hardest thing for me to do?!

By “neutral”,  I am referring to beiges, tans, greys, essentially, any earth tone.


Take a close look at these Hermes F/W 2016 colors here on BopTalk.
Clockwise: Sage, Gris Mouette, Cuivre, Blue Agate
(pics courtesy @ladyhermezz @ruelamode @theauthenticchoice)


Hermes Trench color for F/W 2016 (pic courtesy @priveporter)


Hermes F/W 2016 from


Our girls gang traveling to NYC for a celebratory birthday. Most people travel with neutrals, I have orange, LOL #desperateneedofNEUTRAL @pursebop


Girls night out, clearly my girlfriends LOVE NEUTRALS @pursebop

Let’s examine my definition of “neutral” till date.

1. The obvious BLACK
I have a few, but not nearly as many as most would have acquired considering the years I have been ‘bagging’ LOL. In fact, I crave black now more than I ever have before. But somehow, black doesn’t necessarily satisfy all neutral moods I have only recently started to crave. I particularly start to feel this neutral void in my collection more in the Spring/Summer season with summery florals and lighter colored feminine dresses where black looks too harsh. Although, my myriads of pop colors would do just fine, I want to try something different, but at the same time I’m hesitant in fears of making the wrong ‘expensive’ decision, and possibly even a little stubborn to venture into neutral territory.

Related Reads:
The Quest For My Ultimate Bag by @mrslulu3
Why is Black the Most Popular Handbag Color?

2. Metallics
Gold and silver (primarily gold) metallics have been the invisible colorless shades that I reach for when I presume most fashionistas seek ‘neutral nudes’. While it may seem odd for the understated dresser, I must confess that silver and gold are the closest I have ever gotten to beige or tan.

My failure to find the right neutral is not for lack of trying. On two separate occasions, a few years apart, I have bought a classic beige caviar classic, once a jumbo and once a medium/large. Unfortunately, I just stared at these bags in my closet and did not know how to incorporate them into my wardrobe, so back they went.  More recently, when in Paris this last January, I nearly pulled the trigger on the calf patent Chanel Boy Bag from the SS16 collection in soft nude pink, but it turned out to be a no-go  (Read: Chanel Spring Patent 2016 Boy Bags & Boy Shopping in Paris).  I will even reluctantly confess to you (please don’t kill me here) that I was offered an Etoupe Kelly28 PHW that I also turned away. I think had it been GHW I may have been more tempted to buy it. In my mind somehow, this neutral casual bag I crave needs to be a Birkin (vs. Kelly) or a Birkin style top handle bag.  




Read: Chanel Spring Patent 2016 Boy Bags (pic courtesy @mrssopiiia )


The Etoupe Kelly 28 PHW I passed on in hopes of a Birkin in the same with GHW.

I have not quite figured out whether some of us are just wired for neutrals and some of us simply are’nt?

Don’t get me wrong, nothing gets my heart rate up quite like a pop of color like Hermes Bamboo green or Chanel flourescent pink but I want to try, I want to give a neutral other than black a serious test run. The hardest part is knowing what type of neutral will work best for me. I do not wear earth tones, I rarely ever wear beige or brown… I wear brights and lots of black in the winter. Nails and lips are usually reds, pinks and oranges. Rarely colorless, except the rare occasion I do the new nude Bobbi Brown lip pencils.

I have been posting neutral colored potential possibilities to my IG page, and we have had incredible lengthy chats about each.

Which shall PurseBop choose?

Should I jump into the neutral game with the investment of an Hermes bag? Will it be Etoupe, Gris Tourterelle or possibly the new Gris Mouette? Should it have grey, pink or brown undertones?

Option 2, should I start with a less expensive brand first to see I can truly fall in love with neutrals? Maybe I could try it out with the hot Givenchy Antigona (the #1 most searched bag on the internet, Read: Top 10 Most Searched For Bags), a YSL shoulder bag , or maybe even Saint Laurent Sac du Jour before jumping to Hermes?

Look at the options and vote below to help me decide…*Remember the pictures down below are only for style reference, the color and size of bag I ultimately buy can change.

Hermes Birkin

Givenchy Small Antigona Sugar Goatskin in Old Pink via Bergdorf Goodman

Saint Laurent Large Monogram Grained Leather Shoulder Bag in Fard via Nordstrom

Saint Laurent Small Croc Embossed Sac de Jour via Nordstrom






Alex Curran with Hermes Gris Tourterelle, Irina Shayk with Hermes Etoupe and Kim Kardashian West with Hermes (we aren’t really sure what color, your guess?)

Side Note: I know I’ll need  a fabulous pair of neutral kitten like heels and some form of low heeled fall boot to make this trial run work?

Related reads:
The Hermes Boot Mission
The Blingy Boot: Rene Caovilla

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 5.41.04 PM

Valentino Rockstud Pump via Bergdorf Goodman


Hermes Joueuse Boots from _@happy_hour

Hopefully, some of you can help me with my neutral dilemma so that I can fill this void (and craving) for this upcoming season!

Let’s chat here on BopTalk! 

Read related articles below:
Why is Black the Most Popular Handbag Color?
Back to Basics: Little Black Bags
The Many of Shades of Hermes
Hermes Color Swatches AW 2016

Love PurseBop


Where are the neutrals? @pursebop

Published: August 15th, 2016
Updated: June 27th, 2017

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25 Responses to “The Quest for a Neutral Handbag”

  • I’m personally in love with the Birkin Etoupe color. I think it’s the perfect neutral.

  • I LOVE Gris Mouette for the upcoming season… that would be my top vote… Otherwise, Craie is my favorite neutral.

  • Gris Mouette looks like the grey that everyone has been waiting for! I have gone through etain/ etoupe/ gris t and of these gris t would be my favourite choice, it seems the most neutral in terms of colour and fits colourful and black outfits. I did vote to try the SL shoulder bag first bec if neutrals are not for you, it won’t be a very expensive mistake. like you I love metallics as neutral choices but my first love will always be black (not a colour girl at all). having said that I think Gris T needs to make an appearance in my collection now. Trench reminds me too much for argile, not my kind of colour at all.

  • Gris Mouette, if you are seeking a current color option. I think its a great grey and will work well as a neutral. I think a good grey is actually the best neutral of all since it goes with absolutely anything in any season. I like Gris T and Etoupe as well, however, you turned away an Etoupe bag in the past (despite the PHW) so perhaps it is not a color you love. If you did, you would have known right away that you “needed” an Etoupe bag; just that it had to have GHW instead of PHW. Give Gris M a look. If I were you, I would stick only with the Birkin bag and not the other options you listed above. You seem to be quite enamored with H right now so nothing else will likely “satisfy your craving” like a B will. Let’s be honest here…LOL

  • You know I’m all about neutrals, but I think Hermes bags should be love at first sight and not…a struggle. My 2 cents to you, dear PB, is only buy the bag that you cannot leave behind, and you know what bag that is within two seconds of seeing it. If you’ve walked away from certain colors before, regardless of brand, it’s probably a good indication that you won’t love it all that much more just because it’s a Birkin or Kelly.

  • Maybe you are not made to have a neutral color bag of any kind…it’s just not you… I would avoid the gray anyway…I personally don’t see gray as a neutral…more as a lighter version of black…
    Sometimes I want to be like the others but ultimately I am me and just feel different..what I am trying to say: if you don’t fall in love with the neutral bag of any brand…don’t buy it, let someone else be into neutral.. And stop worrying about it, if you bump into it one day you will know soon enough ????????????????????

  • Thank you my dear friend. Expert advise from one of my favorite Hermes aficionados ever.
    But I want to be like you ;)
    I want to LOVE neutrals like you, LOL… so I need to try at least one for sure!

  • Love your response, yes you are 100% correct, nothing but H seems to satisfy my cravings, LOL, if I am totally honest! The Etoupe with PHW in a Kelly was simply too understated for my fancy. However maybe a B30/B35 would be just right! I def think this neutral plunge needs to be a B for me and I can’t wait to see a Gris M bag in person. I’m curious, what’s your NEUTRAL?

  • I did not realize Gris T was this popular and now Gris M – WOWZA!
    Yes metallics are my go -to neutrals and black of course :)
    thanks for the reply!

  • Have you seen a Gris M bag in person yet? I love Craie too but I think it’s a little seasonal for Chicago weather.

  • If I had to choose, I would probably return to Gris T but in a smaller size than my original 35. And I prefer GT with phw. The 35 is just too big for me to be functional. Just this past weekend when I carried my 35 again I thought to myself “this size is just too cumbersome to be functional in a day to day way.” Because it was Lagon I found myself being careful not to bang into things but it was almost unavoidable. Therefore definitely a size 30. I do, however, think Etoupe could work just as well for me. Black is a no brainer and I have been using my white Chanel far more then I ever thought I would. So in order:
    1) Gris T 30 B phw
    2) Etoupe 30 B ghw
    3) Black 30 ghw
    4) White 30 ghw (or even phw) – this would likely be an often but not a daily use bag

  • they had actually rested it and then brought it back last year or the year before I think? whatever you choose I am sure it will look fab :)

  • Great article!
    I need help, can anyone let me know what is the colour of the Kim Kardashian Birkin?

  • Sometimes trying to hard is a sign ????Did you make a decision yet?
    I wanted to be more like the others but I can’t haha! I am just me ????

  • Firstly, I have to admit I literally screamed (good thing I´m alone, did scare the dogs though hahaha) when I read “I have bought a classic beige caviar classic, once a jumbo and once a medium/large. Unfortunately, I just stared at these bags in my closet and did not know how to incorporate them into my wardrobe, so back they went.” U sent back caviar beiges, OH MY GOOOOODNESS, can´t believe this!!! Caviar beige is perfection!!! that being said, I voted Antigona (LOVE this bag too) as a second attempt to liking neutral bags (I´d say give the CC beige caviar another try, but it´s not in the list hehe) before making the bigger investment… if you come to love it, great, then you go for the B/K…but on the other hand, if u get a B or a K and decide you don´t like it, u can always sell it hehe good thing about neutrals is that u don´t even have to think about what colors they go with, they simply go with everything, so in a day u´re tired or lazy to pick a bag, u just reach out for the neutral and voilà, perfect combo :) u do have that perfect white classic CC though that goes with everything too. Loved that pic of some of your bags ;)

  • I’m late for the party, but here are my 2 cents.
    Since you mentioned you wear a lot of “brights”, any warm toned neutrals (like the classic beige and the soft nude pink) might clash with some of the colors you wear and the Etain Kelly is too dark and warm toned to wear with bright colors.

    In my opinion, the perfect nude for your case is almost an absence of color: a light to light-medium neutral or cool grey Birkin (but without blue undertones) with gold hardware to contrast the grey and tie in with the brights. Think of the greys in a black and white scale.

    I think both the lack of color and light color will be a great contrast against light saturated colors.

    Maybe a Gris Perle or Gris Mouette? (Haven’t seen them IRL, but online they seem to fit the bill)

    Hope this helps, if you’re still on the hunt for your “neutral for brights” bag.