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This Is the Best Way to Buy a Birkin Bag, According to an Expert
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If you're ready to invest in a designer purse, it's possible you want something that feels rare and unique that also holds its value. That's where a Birkin bag comes in. Aside from its expensive price point, this celebrity-approved, highly sought after design can be pretty hard to snag — which yes, is also part of the appeal. But purchasing one comes with its own set of rules, so if you're wondering how to buy a Birkin bag, there are some things to know before racing to the closest Hermès boutique.

First things first: what makes a Birkin bag so unique? While celebrities such as Hilary Duff, Jennifer Lopez, and Kendall Jenner all own a coveted Birkin, there are other specific qualities and details that make this bag so desired and valuable.

"The Hermès Birkin is arguably the most iconic bag produced. It was named after Jane Birkin," says Julia Rose, the owner of Julia Rose Boston, a curated shop of chic designer accessories. "It has a unique, defined shape with double handles, no strap, and an interior zip pocket. There are variations to the size, color, leather, and, with limited edition pieces, the design."

This Is the Best Way to Buy a Birkin Bag, According to an Expert
Credit: Getty Images

Are There Different Types of Birkin Bags?

Yes, and one of the first steps in purchasing one is deciding which size you're looking for. Rose tells InStyle that the most popular size for a Birkin is the 25cm bag, which is known as the Birkin 25. Other options include the 30cm (Birkin 30) and the 35cm (Birkin 35).

"They [also] come in variations of leather, including epsom, togo, swift, alligator, ostrich, lizard, box calf, and crocodile, amongst others," she adds when discussing material. "Hardware options include gold, palladium, rose gold, and permabrass, also amongst others." Recently, the Birkin 25 was released in a wicker material.

The classic Birkin colorways are black and a gold that has a caramel tone, which are both produced every season. But each spring and fall, Hermès also releases a variety of brand new selection of shades, so if you aren't finding what you want, it's worth it to wait it out until the latest options are revealed.

However, if your goal is to get a really rare find? Keep your eyes open for the colors that are occasionally re-released, "such as gris tourterelle or gris asphalt," Rose tells us.

How Much Does a Birkin Bag Cost?

"As of 2022, the retail prices for the most popular models are around $10,145 for a Birkin 25, $11,200 for a Birkin 30, and $12,450 for a Bikin 35. These vary by country and tax rate," Rose explains.

Even still, the resale value for a Birkin can be two to three times the retail price depending on the rarity and popularity of the combination. For example, Birkins with more exotic leathers will retail for four to five times the cost of one with togo and epsom leathers.

This Is the Best Way to Buy a Birkin Bag, According to an Expert
Credit: Getty Images

How Can You Buy a Birkin Bag?

Even though color, size, and hardware are all important factors, Rose urges potential Birkin buyers to do extensive research before shelling out their money.

"Of note, as a curvy woman, I cannot put my hand through the Birkin 25, so this bag would be only for hand carry for me," she says. "You should also decide a budget."

Once you've settled on your choice, though, buying a Birkin bag isn't as easy as heading to the Hermès store. You will first have to check in with a sales associate at that location to see if the specific bag you are looking for is in stock or arriving. While the fashion house says there is no special waiting list to purchase a bag, finding one in such a limited market will require patience and diligence. 

In some cases, it is easier and takes less time to purchase Birkin bags secondhand. But Rose — who is a trusted designer reseller — adds that "it's critical to purchase from reputable companies who guarantee authenticity and have a history of selling Hermès." Should you be worried that you're buying a fake, you can always "authenticate your purchase through an established company such as Bababebi," she says

It's also important for secondhand buyers to ask for detailed photos of the Birkin bag, along with disclosures of any flaws and odors such as perfumes or smoke.

"Some flaws can be repaired at the Hermès spa, such as corner scuffs or scratches or tarnish to the hardware," Rose reassures us. However, handles and interior wear cannot be fixed, especially if another company has already restored it.

This is Ask the Experts, where our favorite fashion know-it-alls share their wisdom. Just because you can trust your style instincts doesn't mean you should have to.