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The Hermès Birkin bag: an iconic symbol of status, style, and above all, exclusivity. Named after Jane Birkin, the Birkin bag’s soft leather material, signature lock, and the structured top handle was once a more subtle expression of luxury. You may have seen an incredibly chic or perhaps famous person carrying the bag—but without any logos, the bag is classified in the“if you know, you know” category of designer goods. Recently, however, it seems like the Birkin bag is everywhere—between shots of Kylie Jenner’s closet, “BirkinTok” on TikTok and J Lo’s habit of causally carrying hers as a gym bag, you may be shocked to find out that the bag retails anywhere between $10,00 and $300,000. Needless to say, the easiest way to get the look is to shop for more affordable Birkin alternatives.
Even if you did have a quarter million to drop on a handbag, you wouldn’t be able to just go into the store and buy one—you have to be offered one. “BirkinTok” videos have revealed the long (and incredibly expensive) process the average person has to go through to acquire an authentic Birkin bag directly from the Hermès store. To sum it up, the shopper must form a long-term relationship with a Hermès sales associate by purchasing a high volume of Hermès items over the course of weeks, months, or sometimes even years. The shopper is then able to create a “wishlist” of dream Hermès items which usually includes a Birkin bag. Once the sales associate feels like the shopper has met the required threshold of customer status, they may be offered a Birkin bag. Oftentimes, the bag isn’t the same as the one on the shopper’s wishlist but the shopper still purchases the bag in order to move up in status and increase their chances of being offered a rarer (and more expensive) bag. Whew! An affordable alternative sounds better already.
Now if you’re a celebrity, status alone will get you to the top of the list for a Birkin bag. Based on photos of Kylie Jenner’s closet, she is rumored to have at least 13 Birkins and was recently gifted a rare $100,000 Birkin bag for her 25th birthday. Jennifer Lopez also has an equally as expensive bag: the iconic and incredibly rare Himalayan Birkin. An authentic Birkin bag is a genuine monetary investment piece but an affordable alternative can be a more practical investment for your lifestyle.
Brands ranging from Steve Madden to Saint Laurent have made Birkin-inspired handbags that will bring the same chic look and functionality to your everyday life. Here are five Birkin bag alternatives that you can rock, no matter your budget.
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Lee Radziwill Petite Bag
This Tory Burch bag has the same top handle and gold hardware as a Birkin but doubles as a crossbody with a removable strap. Since it’s still a designer item, it comes at a higher price point but you’re sure to get your money’s worth since this bag will never go out of style.
Distressed Vintage Leather Rora Crossbody
If you love the look of the rare Crocodile Birkin bags, then this Patricia Nash convertible crossbody is an excellent pick. This bag comes in three natural shades of leather and has a timeless vintage look.
Bdignify Red Patent Bag
This bright red mini bag from Steve Madden is the party girl alternative to the Birkin. The bag is under $50 which makes it the perfect going-out bag and comes in seven fun colors and patterns.
Manhattan Leather Shoulder Bag
Now don’t tell Hermés but I may just like this Saint Laurent Manhattan Bag more than the Birkin. While the body of the bags looks similar, the Saint Laurent bag has a shoulder strap instead of a top handle. This bag is definitely a splurge but will be the ultimate staple piece.
Voyage Medium Satchel
I love the cheerful shade of this orange Kate Spade bag. The top of the bag has open pockets and a zipper folder to help keep all of your essentials organized. The bag also comes in white which is perfect for the summer season.