In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we’re catching up with an HR professional hailing from North Carolina, whose candidness oozes a true passion for bags. An incredibly down-to-earth collector, this bag lover admits to having fell hard for all things #NewBottega, touting her Cassette bag as one of the most prized pieces in her collection, though a Saint Laurent Loulou was her priciest purchase. Though this confessor got her first taste of collecting with the purchase of a Coach bag, it was her friend’s firsthand accounts of working in the industry that helped her become familiarized with the handbag world’s major design houses. After a few years establishing her career and finances, this passionate confessor purchased her first premium designer bag, a Chloé Marcie, and the rest as they say is history. With a true sense of self, this confessor is incredibly down to earth, opting to buy pre-loved or bags on sale and shopping for her own tastes versus what’s trendy. Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Charlotte, NC
Occupation: HR Professional
Household Income: $150,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 9
What bags are in your collection?
Chloé Marcie Small, black
Saint Laurent LouLou Small, black
Bottega Venata Original Cassette, green
Bottega Venata Mini Pouch, metallic purple
Givenchy Nano Antigona, red
See by Chloé Hana Small, metallic silver
Marc Jacobs Shutter, black
Coach Edie, forest green
Rebecca Minkoff Regan Micro Satchel, black
How much is your collection worth? Full-price around $9,500, but I paid considerably less buying pre-loved and on sale.
What is your most expensive bag? Saint Laurent Loulou.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I don’t consider myself that trendy and, real talk, I don’t have the kind of money to buy designer for trendy things. BUT I have a weak spot for BV. The buttery soft leathers, vibrant colors, geometric shapes are a siren song LOL! So my bright green cassette is my prized purse possession. Coming in a close second is my YSL Loulou. An old friend of mine worked in the fashion industry and would talk at length about all the major design houses, so as soon as I developed any real brand awareness around luxury bags, I thought the logo looked positively sick and rocker-chic. For the most part I tend to go for bags that have small or no logos, but I threw caution to the wind with this purchase.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My first contemporary designer bag was my Coach Edie. I purchased it one year into my career (I was probably 23 at that point) so it cost a pretty penny for me at the time. I definitely babied that bag which was good practice for later purchases, I suppose. Fast forward a couple years, I’m in a new role, feeling a bit more financially secure (savings and retirement contributions-wise) and I’m looking for a black leather crossbody, but I’m not falling in love with anything. So I timidly go to the designer purse page of Gilt, where I came across the Chloé Marcie. I wanted it so badly, but having grown up in a family that didn’t order soft drinks at restaurants (because we had soda at home) it felt so frivolous. I went back and forth for weeks, researching the bag and worrying out loud about if I was being irresponsible before my husband told me I was being hard on myself and to just buy the dang bag! I took his advice. 🙂
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I think I’m 2 or 3 bags away from purse peace (unless BV pulls another one on me). I am watching the resale market like a hawk for a reasonably priced small Dior Diorama. That bag is so dreamy and I wish they hadn’t discontinued it! After that I’ll start searching for something else on my wish list. Maybe an old school Balenciaga City Bag (mini) or a YSL Niki (baby), something a little more grungy and less structured.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Nope, I’m really into all of my bags. Each time I wear one of them, it’s like when you put your music library on shuffle and you come across a song you haven’t heard in a while and you just love. You get that new feeling each time and think, “Man, I’ve got good taste.”
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I wouldn’t wear anything obviously designer to work. I have some anxiety around the potentially negative perception of an HR professional somewhat early in her career being too flashy. I’d rather them not think I don’t need a raise, considering I have long-term goals of buying a home and starting a family. Because I tend to go for bags with no branding or very subtle branding, it’s easier to blend them into my work wardrobe without drawing any attention to them.
As far as what I wear on my own time. Whatever I feel happiest in! I do get some double takes from random people I pass by. It’s pretty rare to see designer bags in the wild where I live, and when I do see them 9 out of 10 times it’s Gucci or Louis Vuitton, so it may be less recognition and more curiosity as to what I’m carrying.
How often do you buy new bags? Not all that often, I have years where I buy no bags and years where I buy several. I just got off one of the years where I bought several, so the next year or two will probably be pretty quiet bag-wise. I plan to do some hardcore saving for a house and bump up my retirement contributions.
Which stores do you frequent the most? TheRealReal, Gilt, and Poshmark are my go-to for bags. I have also purchased from Neiman Marcus online. I stalk bags on Fashionphile, but haven’t pulled the trigger on a purchase from them before.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Oh absolutely! Nearly all of my bags were bought second-hand. I have bought secondhand from TheRealReal and Poshmark.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Not yet, I can’t imagine wanting to part with any of the bags in my small collection. With the pandemic I was able to realize a LOT of savings by not going out, less trips to the salon, eating in, less travel expenses. I also did a deep clean of my closet and made several grand selling gently used items through Poshmark. I used most of that money to finance some bag purchases. I realize how blessed I was to keep my job and my health this past year! I hope for healing and health for everyone as we move through the remainder of the year.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Nope, I’m not really into social media. I take instagram influencers with a grain of salt! I’d be broke before I finished typing this diary trying to live that lifestyle!
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No ma’ams and sirs! These are purely for my enjoyment. I might be able to scrounge up rent money with them if I found myself in dire straits. I’m not sure anything gains value aside from Chanel or Hermès. I’m not that into either brand, so no investments for me.
Who influences your buying decisions? Usually me. I think if I had to name a celebrity whose bag collection I adored, it would be Emma Roberts. She has a lot of playful bags from tons of designers. Other than that, I usually just window shop online until I see something that I can’t stop thinking about.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No, I shop online. I’m pretty introverted and like being able to take my time and look up reviews/videos. I also worry that I would get pressured into making an expensive purchase I didn’t feel comfortable with to make in order to help out that SA. Working on commission sounds really high pressure!
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? The thrill of the hunt! Finding a bargain is really fun, and makes me feel a tad better about how I spend my money. I like doing this when looking for all things, appliances, housing, travel. This past year, I’ll admit I did some doom shopping. Even though I had a good year, the suffering of others weighed heavily on me. Being high risk for COVID because of a medical condition and hearing about people like me passing away…man, it took a mental toll. I think I leaned more heavily on retail therapy than I ever would in normal circumstances.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Oh absolutely, especially in stores like Nordstrom and the like. Sales clerks seem more helpful, probably because of the assumption that I have more money to spend. As a woman of color, I’m no stranger to being invisible in stores when I need help, but readily followed just in case I try to steal something *heavy eye roll*. My mother didn’t raise a thief! But wearing something visibly designer, such as my YSL or Givenchy gets me quicker service.
Who pays for your bags? I do!
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No. I pay my bills, set aside savings, then think about any upcoming expenses. If nothing big is coming up, I’ll just buy the bag. It’s like a carefully planned impulse buy LOL!
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No, I thought about it for some trendier designer bags, but I’m nervous someone would know and call me out for it. I mean, I would also know and it would slowly drive me crazy! Plus, the industry seems a little sketchy–I’m not sure I want to support it.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Nope, but I’m guilty of rounding the price down $100 or $200 if he asks me how much I spent on it. He has almost no knowledge of fashion related things so it’s all the same to him really. I like to ask him for his opinion on bags, he can have a good eye when he wants to.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing crazy. I sold a bunch of things I didn’t wear to get more money for bags. I also financed one of them through Affirm. Which, I guess, some might consider crazy, but I make my payments on time and really love the bag so *shrugs.*
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No, I think my car and student loans have sobered me up enough to not go off the deep end shopping! Like, I mentioned earlier, I definitely did some doom and despair shopping over the past 12 months. I think I wanted to enjoy some pretty things because life is short and it’s felt exceptionally precious lately. I predict I’ll return to my traditional shopping habits over the next year.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Not really. I’m fairly conservative with spending outside of bag purchases. I’m trying to expand my wine palette so I’ve put more money than normal towards buying new wines. I want to spend more money traveling in the upcoming years. I didn’t really give travel much though before I met my husband. I want to see so many things with him and make memories we can reflect on when we’re old!
Anything else you would like to include? I love reading your posts! I hope you all are doing well and finding the purse, calling, people that make your hearts sing!