Will Your Next Hermès Quota Bag Be Big?

photo courtesy @stefaniehelen

Fashion trends come and go, but what about when you want to stick with the old? Hermès small handbag aficionados may find themselves facing this dilemma. Despite a nearly decade-long fashion obsession with small and smaller, lately Hermès boutique offerings seem to be growing larger. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed the increasing prevalence of these bigger handbags on social media, on the arms or influencers, and in stores. Although the “return of the big bag” has been predicted and examined repeatedly over recent years, with many luxury brands including oversize offerings in their bag lineups, Hermès bags tended to remain small. Or, at least, the demand for small bags persisted. Just consider the mini Kelly (and now Birkin 20) obsession of so many, along with the popularity of the 25 cm models. 


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Deep Dive Into the Popularity and Values of the Mini Kelly 20

photo courtesy @allabout_luxe

During the height of the pandemic, predictions of the big bag boom, well, boomed, particularly as our daily necessities expanded to include face masks, shields, gloves, sanitizer, etc. Yet, the small bag trend continued to surge. Now, with the return to office (RTO) trend and travel resuming, one cannot ignore the functionality and practicality of the larger handbag.

Apparently, Hermès celebrity clients are no exception. You couldn’t miss that extra large exotic Birkin 50 Kim Kardashian toted on the streets of New York City recently. Or the similar, but slightly smaller version her mother Kris Jenner carried. Even Julianne Moore, Victoria Beckham and Karlie Kloss are loving the big bag trend.

photo courtesy Red App

Kris Jenner walking from a private jet in December 2023.

Image courtesy @hawtkendall

A Hermès shift to larger bags arguably represents a return to the original models that brought acclaim and demand. Jane Birkin’s original Birkin bag, designed by Jean-Louis Dumas, was 35 cm and was first released in 1984. It is considered the classic size Birkin. The original Kelly bag, named Sac à Dépêches at the time, was used by Grace Kelly in the film To Catch a Thief released in 1955. She loved the bag so much she wished to keep it. Two years later, after marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco, she used the bag, a size 32cm, to cover her growing pregnant belly. In 1977 Hermès finally changed the name to the Kelly bag.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Grace Kelly with her Kelly bag, long before the Birkin was invented

Bigger Bags on Tap for Hermès

Recent Hermès runway collections and go-sees combined with in-boutique availability seem to indicate that, for Hermès bag buyers, your current options may be bigger bags.  Whether you want them or not.

At its Fall/Winter 2023 Show in Paris Hermès showcased a variety of bags in a range of sizes, including many larger bags. In this regard, “larger” refers to anything bigger than the über-popular 25 cm size. 

Capturing attention at the show were the Birkin 35 Anate in Noir with Fringe in Evergrain leather, the Kelly Danse Anate with fringe in Biscuit, Kelly 28s in Box leather, and a Kelly 35 with an embroidered jungle design.


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Birkin 35 Anate Evergrain leather in Ebene, photo courtesy @vogue

photo courtesy @pursebop
Kelly 28 at F/W 2023 Resee

photo courtesy @karenzpurses
Kelly 35 at F/W 2023 Resee

Based on community members’ reports and reveals on social media, there are signs that Hermès may be urging larger sized Birkins and Kellys rather than petite. Many Hermès clients say that they are being offered Birkin 30s and Kelly 28s in response to requests for sizes 25 and 20. They often are told there are no size 25s available. Could this be true? It is hard to believe. Yet, as discussed below, reveals on social media do feature more larger scale bags than in the past. 

Regardless, there does appear to be a growing shortage of Birkins and Kellys in the 25 cm size. At the very least, supply is nowhere near meeting demand, despite Hermès efforts to increase leather production capability. Some suggest there is an intentional suppression of the small bag availability in favor of large, but to date, there is no real evidence.


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Image courtesy @stefaniehelen

Influencers Are Carrying Larger Bags

To anyone following social media for the latest fashion trends, you may be seeing a general shift in Hermès bag sizes as well. As influencers and others share the sizes and types of handbags received at Hermès, a trend is emerging. There are many more larger handbags on view.

Top influencers such as @leoniehanne, @tamara, @iamhearte and more have posted their new larger Hermès and other designer bags recently. Interestingly, nearly all of the luxury houses include oversized bags in this season’s line-up. Have you seen Chanel’s newly released XL flap bag from 24C which replaces the XXL flap bag released previously. YSL, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Celine have oversized totes in their lineup, and have been adding additional sizes for their most popular bags.


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Image courtesy @leoniehanne

photo courtesy @tamara

photo courtesy @iamhearte

Beyond specific influencers, there are fewer mini bag reveals on social media than in the past. We can’t help but wonder why. Of course, mini Kellys have always been difficult to obtain at the boutique. Despite this petite purse’s popularity, the supply does not seem to ever increase. The Birkin 20 is even more unattainable. And the Kelly Pochette, although not technically a quota bag in many jurisdictions, has become so popular that some SA’s advise it will be virtually impossible to get one. 

But Hermès keeps us wanting. After all, we can only purchase what we are offered. And in part, perhaps that not knowing what to expect keeps us coming back for more. 

Image courtesy @clairechanelle

Image courtesy @carolin_dahmen

Image courtesy @missmondo

Will You Go Big? If So, How Big?

photo courtesy @boy_nam

So, if Hermès only has big quota bags available, is that what you will be buying at the boutique? Big bag or no bag may be the choice for now unless you are willing to wait indefinitely.  The only other option is to go to the secondary market. Before you decide though, let’s consider (or reconsider) the potential advantages of a non-mini bag. 

Obviously, bigger handbags accommodate more of your necessaries. For those who can’t quite pare it all down to mini Kelly size, that may be a real advantage to upsizing. Adding a larger-sized quota bag to your collection would add versatility. It definitely holds more. A luxury bag that can double as a work and travel bag also brings down the cost per wear. 

And not all bigger bags are actually big. Admittedly, a Birkin or Kelly 35 can feel large and heavy. But consider the Birkin 30 or Kelly 28. Would you reject those if a 25 wasn’t offered? After all, there is a reason why the more midsize, but still not petite, Birkin 30 is arguably the most popular size Birkin available. It is the perfect everyday size that has a substantial capacity yet still small enough for almost all body types. Likewise, the Kelly 28 is the fashion girl’s best friend. It is chic, transitions well from day to evening, and can hold all essentials with room for more.

photo courtesy @fnch310

photo courtesy @fashioncoops

Final Thoughts

All of this raises an interesting question, though. Are big bags coming back into vogue because fashionistas demand them or because brands want us to want them. Put another way, is this supposed shift being imposed by Hermès or as a response to demand? It’s not entirely clear.

Certainly, fashion trends shift often. What was once popular may become less so and be replaced with something similar, perhaps from the past. Nostalgia runs deep and younger generations typically seek inspiration from bygone eras. One need only observe the repeated resurgence of the 1990s and Y2K styles. And this can feed a movement. In this instance, as larger bags become more widely used, excitement may surround them. They are clearly a top choice for travel. And for everyday use it is becoming more accepted and popular. 

There is a reason the Birkin 35 started the craze back in the early 2000’s. The proportions are classic Hermès. Yet, there was a time not that long ago when it seemed everyone was rehoming size 35’s in favor of the smaller sizes. If the larger sizes really are becoming more popular, then collectors who held onto their original Birkins are probably feeling thankful. Carrying a mini Kelly is very stylish and trendy. But there is something very chic about toting a Birkin or Kelly 35.


Don’t Get Rid of Your Larger Bags Just Yet

photo courtesy @sobalera

And buyers on the secondary market have noticed as well. Larger Birkins, particularly 35s – which over the last number of years have traded well below the retail price – are selling for higher prices than in recent years. Although, to some, it may feel like the focus on larger Birkins and Kellys is being forced upon us by Hermès, and this may be accurate, the perception is that fewer smaller bags are being offered by the boutiques. 

The bottom line is all sizes have a place in your collection. Most handbag lovers embrace the variety of sizes and styles amongst their favorite bags. For the handbag fashionista who has been collecting for several years, it is a welcome change. And the new collector will likely enjoy the versatility a larger bag provides.

Although we believe mini bags will always play an important role in fashion, particularly as an evening bag, practicality sometimes takes the lead and we find a larger handbag suits our needs better.

Share your thoughts with us on the resurgence of larger Birkins and Kellys appearing on the market, in fashion, on the streets, and on social media. Are you willing to venture into the world of oversized bags or will you hold out for a smaller bag no matter how long you must wait? We want to know.

photo courtesy @mrmoudz

photo courtesy @bagsionista

Image courtesy @la_nadia

Image courtesy @marti_7447

photo courtesy @leylahajrovic

photo courtesy @tkloves

Love, PurseBop


Published: January 11th, 2024
Updated: January 14th, 2024

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