In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a financial analyst hailing from NYC whose love for bags is both palpable and relatable! This bag lover began loving bags with her very first purchase—a Coach logo bag that she purchased with her winnings on a trip to Vegas for her 21st birthday! Since then, this confessor has amassed a pretty enviable collection of bags spanning brands such as Chanel, Givenchy and Gucci. As a financial analyst, this confessor understands that bags aren’t always investments monetarily, but they are almost always emotional investments. This confessor’s attitude towards money, shopping, and of course bags, has developed over time. Now that she’s over 40 this collector truly feels at peace within herself, choosing to purchase what makes her happy and no longer caring about what others may think. Overall this confessor is incredibly wise and down to earth. Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Occupation: Risk Analyst
Household Income: $300,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 15?
What bags are in your collection? Here are the main ones in rotation:
Chanel Boy Bag Old Medium
Chanel WOC (1 Navy chevron / 1 in a stunning gold with rainbow thread *swoon*)
Celine Box Bag Medium
Celine Trio (1 large / 1 small)
Givenchy Mini Pandora
Gucci Ophidia Embroidered Dragon
Chloe Nile Bracelet Bag
How much is your collection worth? Roughly $25K
What is your most expensive bag? It’s between the Celine Box Bag and the Chanel Boy Bag; I purchased the latter on a holiday to Italy in 2016, pre-increases and cashed in on the VAT refund so it’s possible that I paid more all-in for the Box Bag. It’s one of those two.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I love my Chanel pieces but overall I’m appalled at their price tags, and after owning them for years, I see a comparable level of quality from bags that are half that price. The Gucci Ophidia with the dragon embroidery stands out in my collection of classic black/neutral tones…truly a piece to be enjoyed.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? We have a tradition in our family: when you turn 21, my parents take you to Vegas! I had just started working and was reluctant to play, much less buy anything… so when I turned $20 into $1,000 (beginner’s luck always), I splurged on a Coach shoulder bag with the signature C’s (black on black, of course).
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I’ve been itching to get a larger, more casual bag, and the Balenciaga City Bag has always been on my radar. Wondering if it’s worth buying new or to find a gently used one. I have been having a thing for bags of the past… also on my radar, a gently used Givenchy Nightingale or YSL Muse. Obsessed with the 2000’s? Perhaps.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I purchased the Givenchy Antigona in 2013 and it was my first bag over the 2K price point, and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies that bag is something I treasure.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I think so, but that also could be my own projections. Working in finance as a woman, I felt like my presentation and demeanor was constantly being scrutinized. Being “put together” but not “flashy” was my M.O. I imagine many women share this sentiment, and over time, I’ve been able to let it go and show my authentic style without apology. I’ve heard a number of men (especially in my profession) who say women buy bags to impress other women, but those same men have also given me compliments on my bags (ie “cool bag”, “is that Fendi?” — I guess my boss’ wife likes Fendi and perhaps that is the only brand he knows).
During the pandemic I’ve been grabbing bags that are sturdy and not susceptible to leather damage from continued hand sanitizing. Carrying a tote these days is du jour, and I’m pleased to acknowledge that it doesn’t change people’s behavior. I think most of it is in our minds… the more value we put in the bags we or others carry, we assume others judge in the same manner.
How often do you buy new bags? It used to be 1-2 a year, but recently it’s only been like 1x a year, if that. I have a number of bags I cherish, and I’d like to use them more. It has to be something very special (or a great deal!) for me to consider adding it to my small NYC closet.
Which stores do you frequent the most? You mean besides Whole Foods and TJ’s? I love a good department store (especially during friends and family sales), love perusing Net-A-Porter (love how they curate!), and recently have been ordering small leather goods/shoes from Farfetch.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Not yet! See above for my retro bags I seek and please let me know trustworthy sources where I can find them!
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I’ve sold a couple of bags (namely a 3.1 Philip Lim bag and A. Wang Rockie) because I wasn’t using them using Rebag, but it wasn’t much of a return. At some point I may choose to sell a bag, not to pay for a new purchase, but to move on and make literal and figurative space for something new.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Retail therapy is real… recently I’ve been wanting to buy “something” big, and by sitting with that feeling, I decided I could get that same dopamine rush with a small Gucci cosmetic bag, rather than something pricey. It was a revelation, and I’m so glad I got it because it’s so. dang. cute.
I think once I hit 40, I started caring much less about what other people think and more about what makes me happy. I wish we could all channel that much earlier in our lives. Let’s celebrate other women and remind them to trust their intuition with life and fashion! We already know what we want and need.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? As a financial analyst, unless you are selling your bags, they are a sunk cost. But the enjoyment I get from each of them is an investment in me.
Who influences your buying decisions? NYC street style is everything! I can’t wait to people watch again and see the chic set on the streets again. I have a couple of friends who are also bag nerds, so I’ve asked for an opinion here and there.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I don’t think so, I prefer not to spend a ton of time shopping. I have had extended contact with one SA at Chanel who was a treat to work with and helped me procure gifts. Other than that, if I’m in the store, it’s very likely I already know what I want. And then I’m in and out.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? See the “retail therapy” part above. But all my friends know I hate “shopping” and would rather get my teeth cleaned. Don’t get me started on outlet shopping… it’s a personal nightmare. Even with luxury purchases, I’d much rather buy what I want online without the fanfare in person.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Uptown stores tend to be quite snooty and far less diverse, in my opinion. Downtown is where it’s at.
I’m a woman of South Asian descent, and while I haven’t experienced casual (or overt) racism in some time, my heart bleeds for the folks experiencing it or worrying for the safety of their loved ones. There is absolutely no place for racism. Full stop. #StopAsianHate
Who pays for your bags? Moi!
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I have a “funny money” savings account for travel, jewelry and bags to which I put approx $800-1000/month. I love savings accounts where you can rename them because I have one called “rainy day”, “funny money”, and “get that bread”.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I did when I was young, broke, and in college. At the time, I thought that having a designer bag on your shoulder was paramount to living your best life. Now I understand that shadiness that surrounds the booming counterfeit industry and how it boils down to the horrible working conditions for many humans.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? In a newish relationship here, and have been quite open about my love for bags (jewelry and watches). I am proud of my purchases, and I will not make myself small for anyone.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I won $1,700 in a Super Bowl pool (you know, the thing with squares), and I immediately took that to Gucci to buy a beautiful cream leather Gucci Horsebit shoulder bag. I have NO recollection who was even playing that year or any other for that matter. Halftime shows are a different story, but I digress…
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I think for many of my formative years, I associated my worth with how I dressed, my work, and what other people thought. Once I dealt with that, it’s really had an impact on my relationship with money and by extension, shopping. I work hard, I stay within my means, and there is no shame or guilt over here. Bless and release that $hit.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Oooh, travel, jewelry and watches. I have been eyeing a Rolex Datejust but at the moment my Fitbit has been the most worn of all my watches, so I’m holding off.
I love a beautiful hotel room, and I can’t wait until it’s safe for us to enjoy traveling again.
Anything else you would like to include? It’s been a helluva year, and you’re doing great. Sending love to everyone, and thanks for reading!