In today’s CC we meet a confessor hailing from Hawaii whose starter bag was a trusty Longchamp Le Pliage. From there she has amassed a collection of 20 bags, spanning important brands like Chanel, Celine and Balenciaga. This bag lover has an incredibly smart approach to shopping, carefully planning out her purchases by investing in a ‘fun budget’, which she uses to save for extras like dining out and of course…bags! The pandemic and many months spent inside allowed this confessor’s fun fund to grow, which resulted in four covetable new additions, including a vintage Chanel Raffia bag. Unafraid of selling off old bags to make room for new ones, this confessor uses resale sites like The RealReal and Poshmark to help keep her collection streamlined and her closet organized. Overall this confessor’s attitude towards shopping is honest, down to earth and incredibly relatable! Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own.

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The Basics

Age: 30
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Honolulu, HI
Occupation: Marketing Director
Industry: FinTech
Salary: $200,000
Household Income: $350,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 20

What bags are in your collection?

My top 5 most used (right now) are:

Chanel Small Gabrielle Backpack
Balenciaga Black City Medium Tote
Celine Amall Seau Sangle Tote Bag in white
Chanel Diana Flap Bag
Chanel White Small Flap Bag with SHW

How much is your collection worth? I think around $50,000

What is your most expensive bag? Resale, probably the Chanel beige med flap bag with GHW. But I think the Gabrielle backpack was my most expensive ($4.8k) purchase.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Anything (old) Céline – like many fashion lovers, Phoebe Philo’s minimal and classic aesthetic really speaks to me, and fits really seamlessly into my lifestyle! I own (or have owned) almost all of her most popular designs – the sangle, belt bag, a clutch, the trio, the nano luggage… Otherwise, I definitely love Chanel for its versatility and upscale look.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My very first designer bag was a Longchamp Le Pliage in Lavendar (does that count as designer?) in freshman year of high school. In terms of upscale designer, it was the Chanel Diana flap bag — it was a graduation / starting college present to myself (with help from allowance money, graduation gifts, etc.) I LOVE that bag and have had it for over a decade.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Honestly, I think my collection is complete — it took me years and years to build, and I’m always striving for the “satisfied with what I have” feeling. Otherwise, my dream bag is the Hermes Kelly in Gris Perle (if you haven’t seen this color, google it! It’s beautiful). But I don’t think that I’ll be buying or looking for one any time soon, not until I have a really memorable life event to commemorate.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I purchased the Chanel Small Gabrielle Backpack in black for my 30th birthday — I had been eyeing it since it came out, and it seemed like the perfect bag to celebrate a milestone birthday. I think I love it more now also because they seem to be pretty impossible to find on the resale market.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? To be honest, I can feel a little self-conscious sometimes carrying my expensive bags. The majority of my friends (with exception of one or two) don’t gravitate towards designer as much as I do, and I’m not one to flaunt labels. Otherwise, while I’m shopping in a more upscale store, I notice that SAs are quite attentive so that might be a function of the bag I’m carrying.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? It depends on the year. Generally, only about once a year. I’m pretty careful with the size of my collection. I typically sell a bag before I purchase a new one. I definitely feel like my collection is pretty inflated right now, and I have two or three bags up on resale sites right now (The RealReal and Poshmark).

During the pandemic, I added four bags to my collection (Chanel black Reissue 226, the white Seau Sangle, a vintage Chanel raffia bag and a Chanel Boy bag) — this sounds like overkill when I list it out, but I love all of the additions. I can use shopping as such an escape – I get caught up imagining my “dream self” carrying one of these bags post-pandemic.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I don’t shop in-person very often, I don’t really like sifting through things at a store. I prefer shopping online because there’s so much more inventory and I can do price comparisons before buying. I do a lot of research before purchasing a bag – googling photos, watching YouTube reviews, learning about the history of the bag, etc.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? The majority of my bags are purchased on the secondhand market, with the exception of one or two Célines that I’ve purchased abroad. Fashionphile is one of my favorites – they seem to always have the latest inventory, and the best prices. I’ve also purchased from Rebag and The RealReal.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Yes! I’m a pretty impulsive shopper. But on the flip side, I like to keep a pretty streamlined closet, it’s stressful to me when I feel like my collection is too inflated. So generally, I’ll sell any bag that I haven’t used in at least a few months. Sometimes, I’ll even list a bag that I’m still actively using and see what the “going rate” is. I’ve sold at The RealReal (I find that bags sell pretty quickly on here, and it’s nice that they handle the sale and shipping for you). I’ve also sold on Poshmark (but I’d prefer The RealReal for selling designer).

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not really, the majority of my friends wouldn’t be able to tell if I was carrying a $100 or $1000 bag.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? They’re investments in my happiness! And my image! I don’t think the majority of my bags are monetary investments. I mean yes, I could make maybe an extra $1500 if I sold my Diana flap bag today, but I don’t think the ROI is as high as the happiness I derive from owning and wearing my bags.

Who influences your buying decisions? I get inspiration from a few different places – I follow a few French influencers on Instagram, like @camillecharriere. Otherwise, I read PurseBlog pretty religiously, and love street style snaps from fashion weeks.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Yes and no. Generally, when I go into an upscale store, I know exactly what I’m looking for and just go in to buy it. But, if I’m looking for a hard-to-find piece (recently this was a pair of Chanel sandals that were sold out everywhere), I’ll message my SA to see if he can source it from a different Chanel store.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? For me, it’s like I’m constantly chasing this idea of an aspirational self – a high-powered executive that wears nice clothes and carries expensive bags. I’m constantly striving to feel satisfied with what I have, and convince myself that I just need one more bag or one more X to have everything I need. This attitude has served me really well in work, I’m conscientious and always take the extra step, but probably hasn’t been great for my wallet as I typically convince myself that “this will be my last purchase” resulting in some pretty impulsive purchases.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I haven’t. Although, I was in Barcelona at a Céline boutique a few years ago and a celebrity (I will hold their name) walked in. She interrupted my conversation with my store associate to ask for help, and the SA I was speaking with left me to help the celebrity. I was a bit bitter after that, and left without buying anything.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do – with exception of my first few bags before college which were purchased with a mix of allowance and birthday / graduation money.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Absolutely. I have a “fun budget” that I compile after I’ve put money into savings, 401k and investments. I can do whatever I want with that budget – eating out, shopping, travel, etc. During the pandemic, this budget became pretty inflated since I wasn’t doing any eating out or traveling, which is how I could afford so many new bags. In terms of budgets, I believe everyone is willing to spend different amounts on different things. For one, I don’t drink and I don’t eat out often, so all that money is really getting funneled into designer bags.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Never. I’d be terrified someone could tell I was carrying a fake bag. Although, to be fair, I’ve had friends who have had fake versions of my bags and there really wasn’t a strong difference. I think it comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I’ve definitely been known to answer “is that new?” with “oh this? I’ve had it for ages.” Since I buy my bags with my own “fun fund”, my husband has never really said much about my purchases. Plus, I’m pretty sure he still thinks Chanel bags only cost $1000.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Is it crazy that I’ve sold bags I’ve purchased after 3 months because I found one I liked more?

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? It’s not a problem in that I have credit card debt or I can’t afford basic necessities like my apartment or food. But, I definitely sense that shopping is my go-to when I’m bored, when I’m celebrating something, or when I’m feeling sad or anxious (I shopped a lot during the pandemic). I think it gives me some level of control over my life, and I’ve always told myself to actively curb shopping tendencies by filling my time with other activities that don’t involve browsing bag reviews online.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Pre-pandemic, we were traveling almost every month (domestically), and usually would travel internationally once a year. We also ski in the winter – which can get to be pretty expensive.

Anything else you would like to include? I love this community – it’s been such a breath of fresh air during the pandemic to be connected to so many women who enjoy nice things and have their own opinions on bag purchases.

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