In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a young collector hailing from Columbus, Ohio who is currently in school full-time studying art history. As an art student, her passion for fashion as well as her studies has had an influence on her collection so far, but ultimately thrifting has been the biggest factor in the bag’s she’s acquired. This Gen Z handbag lover thrives off the thrill of the hunt and has amassed a pretty amazing selection of pieces for some pretty insane deals! Though this handbag lover is only at the beginning of her bag-loving journey, her attitude towards shopping and bags as a whole is incredibly admirable. She shops well within her means and understands the importance of saving for bags, something many of us wish we were better at in our younger years! Today’s confessional offers a fresh look into the shopping habits of the younger generation.

Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 19
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Columbus, OH
Occupation: Full-time Student/Fellow at a music museum
Industry: Music/Art History/Fashion
Salary: $5,000
Household Income: $85,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 30+

What bags are in your collection?

“Luxury” label bags

Vintage Gucci Accessory Collection Boston/Doctor Bag (authentic and thrifted)
Supreme Mini Dionysus in GG/Taupe (authentic and thrifted)

Vintage Girly Boston Bag (bought secondhand with matching wallet)

Balenciaga City Bag (authentic and thrifted; it’s like a burnt orange color)

Off-White “Cash Inside” Jitney 1.0 (bought new)

Moschino Couture x Ben Frost Fresh Box Bag (bought secondhand)

My favorite Coach bags from my collection:
Mickey Mouse x Keith Haring Tote 42 (the multicolor one)
Keith Haring Rogue 25 in metallic smoke
Jean-Michel Basquiat Square Bag in black
Jean-Michel Basquiat Rogue 25 in Ivory
Vintage Ergo bag in Red
Poppy Liquid Gloss Hippie Bag

I also have a lot of non-designer “novelty” bags in my collection that I have thrifted over the years.

How much is your collection worth? $10,000+

What is your most expensive bag? In terms of how much money I personally paid for the bag, my most expensive is my Off-White Jitney. I bought it in France for 750 Euros, which was a big purchase for me. In terms of original price, I would say the Dior Girly bag, the Balenciaga City, or the Supreme Mini Dionysus.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I have a lot of love for my Coach bags, the majority of which were thrifted for under $10 each. (I even found one Coach tote in mint condition for $2.) My first bag was a Coach, and I like their craftsmanship and the value behind them. I’ve never bought one for their full price. As an art history student who has done extensive research on these two artists, the Haring and Basquiat bags are really special to me. I got myself the Basquiat Rogue off of the outlet for 60% off after I nabbed the fellowship, as it is a dream job in my field for me (and I had grown up going to the museum that I am now employed at.)

I would also say that my Supreme Mini Dionysus is significant for me. I always thought that style would be out of reach for me financially, but I came across it in a thrift store recently and I was so happy. It was $30 and I was able to authenticate it through Entrupy right away. It seemed like the stars aligned!

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I got my first bag in middle school at a garage sale. It was a Coach legacy hobo and I still have it today. My first ~luxury~ bag was the Moschino box bag, which I got off of Vestiaire Collective for a steal. It is really unique and I was so excited when it came, as it was brand new with tags. I still get butterflies when I re-watch the runway show that the bag is in and see it walk down the runway.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I would really like to get a Louis Vuitton bag next. My loved ones often note that there is a Louis Vuitton-shaped hole in my collection, which makes me laugh. I’d particularly like to get the New Wave, as I love the sliding chain, quilted leather, and the rainbow nameplate. If I could get any LV bag, though, it would be the Cindy Sherman Iconoclasts bag. It is undoubtedly my dream bag. Cindy Sherman was the artist that really inspired me to study art history, so I feel like the bag is the intersection of my two interests. I have yet to find it for a non-terrifying price though–LOL!

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Off-White Jitney has a lot of sentimental value to me. I bought it at the Galeries Lafayette Haussman in Paris on a trip with my mom. We had planned the trip years in advance and Covid hit halfway through our trip. We had to leave unexpectedly when the US banned European travel, and I bought the bag on my last night in Paris. I had saved up for a while to get it. Originally, I wanted to get the Meteor bag (that had just come out at the time), but it was sold out. The Off-White SA came from the back with this bag and I was so excited, as this bag was what I wanted before the Meteor (since it was from a previous season, I figured I had no chance of getting it.) I love the humor in the design, and I think the significance of the bag’s name (Virgil Abloh named it after the Jitney bus and its diversity in clientele) resonated with where I was in my handbag journey at the time. To me, it represents all of the hustling I did working in a grocery store in high school.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? It really depends on who. If I am shopping at a department store or a luxury boutique, yes. If I am without one, I am ignored, since I am young. My friends and family don’t care about them; I’ve always had a unique sense of style, so they are used to it at this point. I do notice that if I am carrying a nicer bag, I get more complements on my look by strangers.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I rarely buy bags new, but I generally buy whenever inspiration strikes—maybe every couple of months for a big purchase. I thrift once a week, but I often end up with nothing. Overall, I wouldn’t say that there is a particular schedule to which I buy bags, since so much of my collection is a luck of the draw per se.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Thrift stores!! There are so many in my area, so I have a lot of options. As a college student, I don’t have a lot of money, so I love the low-budget appeal of thrift stores. Thrifting allows me to experiment with my style and also be sustainable. Since I am a Coach SA during the school year, I do shop at Coach a lot. I particularly like looking at the Coach outlets for retail “deletes” (boutique bags with steep discounts.) If I want to buy a premier designer bag, I’ll go into my local Saks to check it out in person, but I never buy in-person.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? About 60-70% of my collection is bought secondhand or thrifted. I did buy the new-with-tags Moschino on Vestiaire Collective for $275, and the Dior girly was purchased on Mercari with its matching wallet for $315 total. I ended up finding the vintage Gucci at a Goodwill pop-up shop of all places. I found the Balenciaga at a local thrift chain for $3 (!) Buying secondhand or thrifting is so much more economical for me given the stage of life I am in, and I feel less pressure to baby the bags (that is not to say that I don’t take good care of them, though!)

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, not yet. I have thought about it, though. I don’t think my collection has gotten that crazy yet. Occasionally I will donate a novelty bag to a local thrift store to make room in my closet.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Sometimes, I do. I particularly follow Emma Chamberlain and her content, so she has drawn me more into Louis Vuitton’s aesthetic as a result. I find that I do resist a lot of the trend bags, though. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum when it comes to style.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes and no. One of my mom’s friends is a financial analyst, and he described my bag collection to me as an investment in my style and happiness. I liked the way he framed that. I do check how much my luxury bags sell for on preloved markets and think of unrealized profit. I always run comparisons for bags I thrift before I purchase them. I feel like I will consider them more as financial investments as I grow older.

Who influences your buying decisions? I often ask my mom for her opinion, especially when it comes to bag quality. Her father was a furniture designer who worked extensively with leather, and he passed his intelligence of different types of leather to her. I also take my boyfriend thrifting with me. He has a unique eye/style and I value his opinion.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Since I rarely buy new, they are not instrumental to my shopping. As an SA myself, I recognize the value of an SA-customer relationship, and I love the connections I make with my customers. I feel like it is so empowering to help someone pick out a bag. I feel that I’m assisting them in shaping their style.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I feel like my style is so integral to my identity–I know that that sounds shallow. My style icon is Princess Diana, and she once said that she felt her clothing was a communication device. I like to use that as an approach to how I dress. I pick articles of clothing, bags, and shoes from everywhere–I love being eclectic with my style. My outfits empower me and make me feel my best. Thrifting in particular is very exciting for me. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, especially when I find a good value. I do sometimes leave my favorite thrift stores empty-handed, though–I never buy something just to buy something.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Maybe sometimes due to my age. I am a white woman, so I recognize my privilege there.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I pay for the majority of them, and I singlehandedly pay for all of my luxury label bags. My mom has given me some of my novelty bags (think a Disney bag) and one Coach bag as a birthday gift or a souvenir from traveling

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Half of my paychecks go into an account for spending money, and the other half goes to savings. When I am about to go on a trip (like my vacation to Paris), I start saving money for a bag in case if I find something. I’m feeling inspired after binge-reading other Closet Confessionals and am thinking of saving a little bit of my paycheck a week to go toward an LV bag, but I feel selfish doing it as it would be significantly more than any other bag in my collection.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Yes. I unknowingly purchased a fake Speedy at a vintage shop in London and have since discontinued its use. I since purchased two fake Prada re-editions: one for myself and one for my mom. I did not feel comfortable spending over $1k on a primarily nylon bag (especially in my financial position), and I didn’t want to invest a lot into a “trend” bag. I do not regret it, as it is mirror quality and it has gone virtually everywhere with me–from school to the beach to camping to being whipped around on a roller coaster! I do not know if I would do it again, considering the ethics.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No. He and I both collect sneakers and vinyl records as well, so we are judgement-free when it comes to purchases. He is fully supportive, and thinks my collection is cool. Oftentimes, he sends me photos of luxury bags he sees in the wild and asks me what they are and what I think of them 😂

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Take money out of my savings (but never more than half of the total savings) or use a layaway program (like Afterpay or Klarna) to buy a bag.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I do not consider myself a shopaholic, as I live within my means. I do notice that I sometimes shop when I am sad, which is a bad habit that I am trying to break. If I buy something new and I come home and don’t like it, I always return it. I don’t have a credit card and I have no debt. I try to exert self-control. I know that I could blow all of my savings on a new bag, but I could not live with myself if I did it.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I collect vinyl records and sneakers as well (but I REALLY struggle with the monstrosities that are the vinyl record and sneaker resale markets, particularly hypebeasts.) I am also a concert photographer; pre-pandemic, a lot of my money would go towards concert tickets, festival passes, camera lenses, SD cards, etc.

Anything else you would like to include? I definitely feel financially privileged, which is something I want to recognize. I have an academic scholarship that fortunately covers all of my tuition, and I have a college fund from my parents that helps me with housing.

And thank you for reading if you have made it this far! I know that my bag collection is small and unconventional, but it makes me so happy!

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