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In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a lawyer hailing from the Philippines whose love for luxury has contributed to a collection of over 30 handbags. Spanning multiple brands from the top luxury players such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Celine and more, this confessor has amassed quite an enviable collection. A collector who loves travel almost as much as she loves bags, this bag lover often picks up pieces throughout her travels, making memories to coincide with purchases. Self-admittedly this handbag lover does occasionally feel societal pressure to purchase the latest It-Bag, but because her shopping is budgeted and planned for, the bags she acquires leave behind little guilt. Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 42
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Manila, Philippines
Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Legal
Salary: $200,000
Household Income: $200,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 30+. More than I need, I know.

What bags are in your collection?

Chanel Classic Jumbo Flap
Chanel Reissue 227
Hermès Evelyne
Celine Mini Luggage
Celine Nano Luggage (2x)
Celine Trio (2x)
Louis Vuitton Neverfull (2x)
Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis (2x)
Louis Vuitton Montsouris Backpack
Louis Vuitton Onthego tote
Louis Vuitton Multipochette Accessories
Balenciaga City (Ultraviolet)
Balenciaga Work (Cardinal Red)
Bottega Veneta Large Hobo
Gucci Soho Disco

How much is your collection worth? I spent about US $50,000 for all of them, but if I sold them all now I would probably get back only around US $35,000.

What is your most expensive bag? The Chanel Classic Jumbo which I purchased in the boutique in Amsterdam. It was as a gift to myself for making partner in the law firm where I work. At that time, it was EUR 5,420 (less tax refund). Now a brand new one costs EUR 6,600!

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? The aforementioned Chanel Jumbo, and the Chanel Reissue 227. Both were purchased to mark career milestones.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? Age 18. The Ralph Lauren Blackwatch line of bags was all the rage back then, and my parents gifted me the bucket bag as a high school graduation present. I used and abused that bag all throughout college and law school! Photo found via Pinterest reference:

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? To be honest, I am quite content with my bag “collection” as it is right now. But my dream bag has always been the Hermès Kelly in Togo Leather, Retourne style in the Gold color. I wish I could purchase it, but sadly I am nowhere near VIP level to be able to get offered one from the local Hermès boutique.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? The bags gifted by family: my first Louis Vuitton Neverfull gifted to me by my parents after I passed the bar exam in 2007, and the Gucci Soho Disco gifted to me by my sister after I helped her close a deal for a purchase of property in 2015. I will never, ever get rid of those two.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Only when I go shopping in designer boutiques, which is not very often as I only do so when I go overseas.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? About 1-3 bags per year?

Prior to 2020, I only purchased bags overseas, as luxury goods are very much more expensive where I live. I go overseas for vacation or work about 2-3 times per year, and I usually get a bag or an SLG or a pair of shoes on those trips. Last year, since we were all stuck at home, it was my first time to try a personal shopping service to purchase a bag from Italy (the Montsouris backpack)

Which stores do you frequent the most? As I mentioned, I don’t really shop the luxury stores here except for the occasional foray into the Louis Vuitton boutique to window shop.

For clothing I like Zara and Uniqlo for basics. I prefer having formal and work clothes made by a tailor rather than buying off-the-rack. To me it’s much more economical and I get clothes which fit my body better.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have not purchased a second-hand bag yet, but I won’t discount the possibility of doing so in the future for a discontinued bag.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No. When I no longer use a bag, I usually ask my sister or my mom if they want it. If they want it, I just give it to them. Sometimes friends express interest in some of my bags, so when I no longer use them, I sell those bags (at a bargain) to those friends. The motivation for selling/disposing is not really because I want to fund new purchases, but more because I no longer use them.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? On the contrary, I feel societal pressure to NOT purchase more bags. Ha!

I am the first to admit I have a LOT of bags. But I do try to rotate their usage on a regular basis, and they’re not just sitting in a closet for me.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No, definitely not. Bags are meant to be used, not kept in the hopes of selling them off for a premium in the future.

Who influences your buying decisions? I sheepishly admit to being influenced by celebrities and the not-so-subtle ad campaigns for “it” bags, hence the reason why I have the Onthego tote and the Multipochette Accessories from Louis Vuitton. I do not regret purchasing those bags at all though, they have been very functional for me.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No, because I don’t buy from the local boutiques.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? This might be surprising to hear, but I actually don’t enjoy the act of shopping? I like bags and shoes and jewelry, but I am not the type to spend hours at a store to try on clothes or shoes, or to window shop for hours. I am mostly an “online” shopper, I look at photos online and only when I decide that I like something do I venture to a store to check it out.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I had a very unfortunate experience at a luxury watch store in a major European city a couple of years back. I wanted to look at a particular watch and the sales person rudely refused to even show it to me and dismissed me by saying: “that’s not for sale”. I’m not one to make a scene, but the incident bothered me so much I wrote to the store to express my dismay. I got an apologetic reply from the store manager the day after, who asked me to come back to the store, but of course I didn’t anymore. I just bought the watch from another store.

I do not know what it was that made the sales associate rude to me. I was dressed simply and was polite. So I couldn’t help but think it was my ethnicity that played a factor, since I am Asian (Filipino).

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Me, myself and I. 🙂

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, but I set aside a portion of my salary every month to fund non-essential purchases. Everything luxury (shoes, bags, jewelry, travel) comes from that fund.

I’d say about 20-40% of my salary goes to that fund.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I am vehemently opposed to anything counterfeit because a significant aspect of what I do deals with intellectual property law. So no to fake bags (and illegal movie streaming!) for me.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? We do not live together currently, so I do not ever need to hide anything! Ha!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Thankfully, I don’t think I have done anything crazy (so far!) to afford a bag.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Right now, I wouldn’t say so, as my shopping is very planned, deliberate and not impulsive.

What helped me immensely is documenting all my purchases. When it’s laid out there for you in black and white, and when you keep a record of what you have in your closet, you would have less urge to shop because you’d realize you don’t need to buy a new thing every time.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I like to travel, while I am still relatively young. My goal is really to visit 50 countries before I turn 50.

I am not a luxury traveller, but I wouldn’t say I am budget traveller either.

Also, while I do not have kids, I spoil my nieces rotten. 🙂

Anything else you would like to include? Buy what you love, but only buy within your means.

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