Closet Confessionals

CC 102: The Chloé Obsessed Collector

"It is understated. It is my go to brand because I don't feel like it is oversaturated like some other brands."

Today we’re catching up with a confessor hailing from Chicago who owns quite a bit more bags than she would like to admit! This confessor began collecting handbags when she was 30 and her first purchase also happens to be her most expensive piece. Though her collection does span quite a few designer handbag brands, Chloé is one of the most important brands in her collection. Many of her bags are tied to milestones, and while this confessor admits that sometimes she feels her shopping is a problem, she also makes a point to balance her spending with charitable giving, allowing herself to only spend up to the amount that she’s donated to various charities. Read more from this candid CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!


The Basics

Age: 42
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Chicago
Occupation: Corporate Executive
Industry: Manufacturing
Salary: $150,000
Household Income: $250,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? Quite a bit. More than I want to admit.

What bags are in your collection?

I will list my notable and favorite ones:
Louis Vuitton Chain It, Monogram black
Chanel Continental Wallet, blue
Chloé Marcie Satchel Medium, red
Chloé Nile Bracelet bag, suede black
Chloé Hudson, red
Chloé Daryl Clutch, black
Chloé Drew Fold-Over Clutch, black
Chloe Mini Faye Bracelet Bag, Gray
Chloe Mini Faye Bracelet Bag, Blue
Mulberry Bucket Bag, camel
Celine Dimitri Python Fringe Hobo, gray
Fendi Vintage Crocodile Train Case, black
Gucci Vintage Hard Coated Canvas Bag, monogram
Todd’s Satin Handle Bag, black
Burberry Bridle Bag (laptop bag), black

How much is your collection worth? I would be estimating, approximately $20K.

What is your most expensive bag? Celine Dimitri Python Fringe Hobo at $4,200 back in 2009. I was madly in love with that bag then, and still madly in love with Dimitri now.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? This is a tough one to answer. I would say that Chloé is my most important brand. It combines my corporate life with my desire to be boho chic. It is understated. It is my go to brand because I don’t feel like it is oversaturated like some other brands.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 30. The Celine Dimitri Python Fringe Hobo was my first purchase. I purchased because I just had my second child, my husband and I were going through a rough patch. I felt like I needed to treat myself, I was working my butt off at work and at home, and I felt unsupported, so it was my way of saying “I got this!”

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I am eyeing a Chanel Boy Bag.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I think my Celine Dimitri Python Fringe Hobo. Just reminds that I am a hard worker, I love my kids, I love my husband and everything will be just fine. When I wear it, I am reminded to keep my chin up, I am enough.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I think it just depends in which environment I’m in. At work, I work with mostly men, who for the most part are not into fashion. Once in a while, a colleague will say, “My wife loves that designer.” Most people I associate with outside of work love my style, and I love the compliments. There are, of course, some that say that I am over indulging. But in order to ensure I stay balanced, I only buy as much as I have donated to charity. So for example, in 2020, I donated over $7K to various charities, so that means I allow myself to buy bags and shoes up to $7K if I want to. But $7K is a lot to spend, don’t get me wrong, but this helps alleviate some of the guilt I feel with my continuous shopping habit.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I usually buy a bag whenever there is a milestone of some sort. Lately though, I have noticed that I’ve been shopping when I feel anxious. I think with Covid and quarantine, I’ve been feeling like everyday is like the movie Groundhog’s Day, same routine day in and day out. I am looking forward to traveling once Covid subsides, so I have been doing a bit of online bag shopping.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I love and Neiman Marcus. Their rewards points keep me loyal. I will shop at online lux consignment stores as well.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? There are some vintage bags that I love that can only be bought second hands, The real real is mostly where I look and shop.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, I don’t. I tend to buy bags and keep them. I like having the variety, and I don’t follow trends, I buy what I like. When I get an envious friend that says, that bag is old (like my Celine), I just say, yes, and I still love it.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I intentionally stay off of Instagram, YouTube and other social media apps that are designed to promote and sell products. Like everyone, I can be impressionable, so to stay true to me, I am intentional about what I read, watch and engage in.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I consider my bag purchases an investment in myself. I don’t consider my bag purchases as an investment, though I know could sell and recoup a high percentage of the cost. And I do take good care if them. But I invest in stocks, mutual funds and real estate.

Who influences your buying decisions? No one influences me. If I like a bag, I buy it. I will say though, if I don’t like a marketing campaign for a given designer in a given season, then I won’t buy from that collection… you could say that the designers’ marketing has some influence on me.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Yes, I will say that it took years to develop a trusting relationship with a sales associate. At Neiman Marcus, I had a personal shopper that learned my style, and would “save” me a bag that was debuting and fast sellers. She has moved on since, and this new sales associate has to learn what I like, but I am not sure I want to invest the time and energy anymore.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I enjoy shopping because I feel like I have earned that privilege. I paid my own way through college, I donate to charities, and I don’t have debt. My husband and I don’t share finances, and so I feel like when I purchase a luxury item, it signifies that I earned the privilege to wear it.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I have a look that people can’t typically guess what ethnicity I am. So I usually get asked when they see the name on the credit card. I could pass for Greek or Italian, but I am Palestinian. Depending on how cultured the asker is, typically depends on the response. I once had sales associate respond by saying, ” Omg, I love humus and Gigi Hadid!”

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I pay for my bags. I work hard and play harder.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I have a miscellaneous category in my budget that carries over month to month if I don’t use it. I always have cash for the bags I purchase, I never go into debt buying anything. I keep to my charity rule, I will spend equal to what I have donated to various charities.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No, I have never purchased a counterfeit anything. I believe it is unethical, and I’m sure it is illegal. It’s like stealing from the designers/companies. It’s absolutely wrong. And quite frankly, I get really annoyed and frustrated when I see counterfeit bags online. I think these online stores have a duty to ensure counterfeits do not make it on their sites/stores.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Yes, in a way. I never tell my husband how much I spend. Even though it is my money, I earned it, I don’t tell him how much my bags cost. He doesn’t value luxury items the way I do. He is into gadgets,
cars and tools. As long as we fund our children’s college fund and our bills are paid, the rest of each of our earnings is our own discretion. I know this may not be typical, it just works better that way for us.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I did forfeit a vacation to pay for a bag. It was during the rough patch with my husband, we were planning to go away together, and I decided I wanted something for me, so I used the money to buy my Celine. Glad I did!

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yes, sometimes I do feel like it’s a problem because I do believe in retail therapy. I shop when I want to relieve stress. I understand the science behind shopping: make a purchase, endorphins released, getting the item, endorphins released. Endorphins wear off….shopping again… and the cycle continues. I have thought about going to a therapist to learn some skills and/or coping techniques to reduce stress and find a different, less expensive, distraction.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I love designer shoes. I have about 150 pairs of pumps, mostly Louboutins and Monalo Blahnik, sprinkled with some Louis Vuitton and Gucci for good measure. I should really schedule some time with a therapist.

Anything else you would like to include? Thank you for reading my confession. I really hesitated for a long time to write this mainly because I didn’t want to come across braggy or showy. I’m glad I finally confessed. Most of the folks in my life don’t know that my shopping is sometimes spiraling out of control. I have way more than I need, and I’m thankful for that, but I need to find another means to reduce stress. I think I will schedule some time with a therapist, and maybe I’ll write another confession after a year as an update to this one. I hope you enjoyed reading this!


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3 years ago

A very interesting read and I thought the author was thoughtful, grounded and practical in her approach — until I read about the 150 pairs of pumps. I’m all for having plenty of shoes to choose from, but even if you get rid of 100 pairs, you’ll still have quite a variety left over. Sell as many of those 100 as you can, give the rest away to an organization like Dress for Success, and put whatever you make into your Chanel Boy Bag fund.

3 years ago

Finally some Chloe love! I have a couple Chloe’s and for sure feel they are so underrated. Some of the best made bags I own. Good for you for mentioning a therapist. I hope you follow through. Sounds like you already have a good head on your shoulders, I see you figuring it all out and being an even better person than I bet you already are.

3 years ago

OP102, if you feel that a shopping addiction is taking hold, I hope you get the help you need and I would love to read an update in the future, but please know that you come off grounded and self-aware, not braggy or showy. I truly admire your charity rule. I doubt most of the readers here or on purseforum can say that they donate an equal or greater amount to charity as they spend on luxury items for themselves.

3 years ago

I loved so much of this confessional. It actually made me stop and assess how much I’m giving. Handbags are special to me, I know in the grand scheme they’re not important but they bring me joy which IS important. I was pleased to realize that my giving (slightly) exceeded my shopping but it does make me want to do better, and maybe compare other fun but important spending (like vacation) with my giving.

About the addiction, I have definitely struggled with overshopping and obsessively browsing, and one way I’ve sort of curbed it is by ALWAYS having a library e-book to read. On my phone I use the libby app which a lot of libraries participate in, and then I use the library’s website on my computer, so when I have down time I’m not (always) just scrolling mindlessly through insta or looking at sales but I ALWAYS have something productive or entertaining to read that I feel good about later on. Also way less stressful than doomscrolling through the NYT or FB.

3 years ago

I love her reasons for buying and cherishing the Celine bag. She has a put-on-your-own-oxygen-mask-first mind set. It’s a healthy attitude yet she’s responsible. She makes sure to pay the bills, pay into the college fund and give to charity before purchasing a luxury bag. This was one of my favorite CCs.

3 years ago

Love the dollar for dollar charity for designer bag!

3 years ago

I WANT TO SEE HER SHOE COLLECTION YESTERDAY! 150 pairs?!?!??! Every woman’s dream!

3 years ago
Reply to  Julia

Not every woman’s dream. This would be my worst nightmare. Last time I checked i had 2 feet!

3 years ago

I love the charity rule! And I have the same financial set-up – combining finances if both make their own money is not necessary, and it really works for us. I share all purchases with my partner, and he is happy for me, but I don’t tell him what I paid for it. He really doesn’t want to know. Just can’t relate to the shoe collection – I’ve been going for years now with a shoe collection between 10 & 15 pairs in total, I wouldn’t even know where to put them. I had more before, not 150 but nearly 40 pairs. Did a thorough declutter once and never went back.

Nelia Kanakubo
Nelia Kanakubo
3 years ago

You’re a wow in my lists!