Two and a half years ago we published our very first installment of Closet Confessionals. Since then we’ve received over 800 submissions, offering readers (and us too!) a candid look into the luxury shopping habits of readers from all over the globe. From men, women and non-binary confessors alike to those of all races, sizes and income brackets, we’ve been able to provide a unique look at all that comes with loving (and shopping for) handbags. While today we’re checking in with a 50-year old collector who began loving handbags later in life than most of us, we also thought it would be fun to revisit our most read confessional ever, which was viewed more than 26 thousand times! CC 35—thank you for your honesty and candidness!

Today’s confessor also offers us a candid look into her shopping habits. The 100th installment of CC takes us to The Netherlands, where we check in with a smart shopper who began collecting handbags in 2016 when she was in her forties. It’s never too late to start loving bags, and by beginning her collection well into adulthood, this handbag lover was able to develop a smart approach to bag-buying: pay your bills and set aside money for ‘nice things’ after. Though this confessor does have a collection that spans many brands, she enjoys the quality and price point of Mulberry and Coach, and believes that Longchamp is really underestimated. Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own to be part of the next 100!

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The Basics

Age: 50
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Occupation: Finance professional
Industry: Asset management
Salary: $100,000
Household Income: $100,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 17

What bags are in your collection?

Jerome Dreyfuss Igor, black
Longchamp Penelope, brown
Loewe Puzzle Bag, blue
Mulberry Small Bayswater zipped, blue
Coach Rogue small, leopard
Prada Soft Cahier, brown
Coach Rogue medium, black
Fendi, vintage cloth bag, brown FF logo print
Longchamp 3D bucket bag, brown
Longchamp Cavalcade croc embossed, black
Gucci Jackie, vintage, brown
APC Betty, brown
Gucci 1955 Horsebit, brown/canvas
Chanel, Wallet on chain, blue
Saint Laurent Niki medium, black
Longchamp Le Pliage, blue
Longchamp Le Pliage, terracotta

How much is your collection worth? USD 18,000

What is your most expensive bag? The Prada Cahier. It is also my least-used bag. I still find it very pretty but the metal makes it quite vulnerable in terms of scratches.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? My favorite brands are Longchamp, Mulberry and Coach. I think the price/quality ratio offered by these brands is just perfect. I think a brand like Longchamp is really underestimated. It is a brand with a long history, they offer very timeless pieces, quality is good and their prices are affordable. From the Mulberry brand I mainly like their classics, the newer styles they have been offering in recent years don’t appeal to me as much.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I started discovering designer bags fairly recently. I bought my first one in 2016. It was my Jerome Dreyfuss bag. I bought it in their store in London. I still own the bag and still love it. It is a very understated, timeless and super practical bag. These are three features you will see coming back throughout my collection.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I don’t intend to purchase a next bag any time soon. But I do have a sort of dream-bag wish list. I really like the Chanel Executive tote, I occasionally browse the websites of pre-loved bag sellers to see if I can find one at an affordable price. I would really love to own a Fendi Peekabo, but wouldn’t want to pay the full price for a new one. So for this one too, if I can find one I like on the pre-loved market I may grab it. And I am still very much in love with the good old classic large Mulberry Bayswater bag. So if I see one of those in a nice color I may be tempted to buy it.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Not so much. I do usually buy my bags while I am travelling. So many of them I bought abroad. The memory of my time spent in another country while buying the bag does add a bit to its sentimental value. I bought my Longchamp Penelope on my first visit to New York. So everytime I carry that bag, it brings me back to those days. I got my black Coach Rogue in Tokyo. Coach is apparently a very popular brand in Japan.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? There aren’t many fashion or bag lovers among my friends and family, so they don’t really notice what I am carrying around. Some of my co-workers are also bag lovers. We like to show and discuss our bags, mainly as a joint interest. Also, I live in The Netherlands and designer bags are a way less common sight here than what I’ve seen in places like New York, London or Tokyo.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? It depends. Last year I bought four, which I actually find quite a lot. Spending too much time online during lock down had a lot to do with it. I really discovered online pre-loved shopping last year and found some very good deals that I could not let go. Also because of lock down, there weren’t many other things to spend money on.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I buy online. And most of the bags I bought in-store were bought in other countries than where I live. Pre-covid I used to travel to London once or twice a year for short, combined musuem and shopping trips. So I bought several bags there. I got my Loewe Puzzle bag and the Prada Cahier from Selfridges. And I got my Mulberry from the London flagship store.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes. I think one third of my collection is second hand. I got most of them from Vestiaire Collective. I love browsing their website to find vintage or discontinued styles. And I also found several ‘as good as new’ bags there at prices at least 25% or one third below retail. I got my Gucci 1955 Horsebit and the YSL Niki like that. When I am considering buying a new bag, I will first look online so see if I can get it second hand in a ‘good as new condition’. You miss out on the boutique experience, but the price reduction you can find is substantial.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? So far I have not sold any bags.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I like to think that I don’t. But in today’s society I think we are all influenced in some way or another. I enjoy reading the articles on the PurseBlog to read about what’s new. I like to relax watching handbag videos on Youtube. And of course, as you see certain bags or styles come by, they do find a comortable place in the back of your mind and the desire to buy them grows. Fortunately I can also easily talk myself out of impulse buying.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No. Invest in securities not in bags. I buy bags because I like pretty things, and I can use them everyday.

Who influences your buying decisions? I do follow quite a lot of bag lovers on Youtube. Handbagholic, Isabelle’s Style, Alyssa Lenore, Mel Soldera, Mel in Melbourne, Chase Amie are some of my favorites.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No. I bought almost one third of my current collection online. And the rest of them in store. I don’t like the idea of having to first buy a whole lot of smaller items to be allowed to buy a holy-grail item like they do at Hermes with the Birkin. A hand bag shop, is a shop. They are selling things. If I want to buy a bag from them, they can earn some money if they want to sell it to me.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? What I enjoy most, is the whole process before I actually buy a bag. I like to do my research. Reading reviews, watching videos, weighing pros and cons that’s what I enjoy most. And I do consider myself an occasional shopaholic, I do have periods in which I buy a lot. Not just handbags but also shoes and clothes. But I can also quite easily tell myself that enough is enough. In 2020 I did a lot of online shopping. But I haven’t bought anytning since the start of 2021.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not really. But I do find designer boutiques a bit intimidating sometimes. When I got my Prada Cahier bag I initially wanted to purchase it in the Prada Boutique in London. I did go to the store, but did not go in. I bought it in Selfridges instead. Somehow that felt more accessible.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I set aside money for ‘nice things’. When I have paid my bills and have set aside money for long-term saving and investing, I also set aside some money to pay for things like travel and luxury shopping. If I want to buy a bag, and funds in my ‘nice things’ account are too low I postpone buying it.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No. When you are spending your own hard-earned money I don’t think you should have to hide your purchases from anyone

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? No crazy things. I am a very boring, responsible person. I only spend my money on things I can afford.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I do go through phases in which I shop more than necessary, but it has never become a problem in that I was overspending or putting myself in debt or anything. And I don’t think I would ever let it come that far. I know when to stop.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I don’t think so. I like travelling and going out and am really looking forward to being able to do all those things again.

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