In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we’re catching up with a collector hailing from across the pond. A lover of luxury bags for well over a decade, this bag lover began her journey into the world of designer bags with a Gucci Pochette that was gifted to her by her godmother. It was love at first carry and the rest, as they say, is history! Today, this confessor has amassed a huge collection of bags, spanning both premium and contemporary designers a like. She admits to owning too many bags, though she also unapologetically admits to buying what she likes versus what everyone else is carrying. This confessor will occasional shop the secondary market after thorough research, though you won’t find any of her bags for sale as many of them hold special meaning to her, and parting ways with a bag is really difficult. Get a candid look into the life of this London Lawyer below and don’t forget to submit your own CC!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: London, England
Household Income: $400,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? A fair number…I’ve never counted (and I’m not sure I’d want to – I think I’d realise I have too many!).
What bags are in your collection?
I’ve listed the more ‘luxury’ ones below – I’ve also got quite a few from Hunting Season, Staud, Danse Lente, Shrimps, JW Anderson, Coach, Mansur Gavriel, etc. too (and a beloved vintage Burberry from my mom – who bought it with one of her first paychecks in her 20s!).
Celine Luggage, Dark Green
Celine Medium C Bag, Red
Chloe Faye, Embossed Brown
Chloe Georgia, Blue
Fendi Large 3jours, Bright Yellow
Gucci Dionysus, Pink Blooms
Gucci Peggy Braided Tote, White Monogram
Gucci Canvas Craft Tote, Diamante Beige/Purple
Gucci Monogram Pochette, Orange/Purple
Gucci carryall weekend bag, Monogram
Mulberry Alexa, Quilted Beige
Mulberry Bayswater, Brown
Mulberry crossbody, Patent Navy
Louis Vuitton Speedy, Monogram Brown
Louis Vuitton NeoNeo, Monogram Red
Louis Vuitton Trocadero crossbody, Monogram Brown
Louis Vuitton Trevi, Damier Brown
Prada Square Saffiano, Bright Orange
Alexander McQueen Large De Manta clutch, Black/Pink
Alexander McQueen Large De Manta clutch, Multi
Stella McCartney Falabell Clutch, Brown Velvet
Stella McCartney Falabell Clutch, Gold
How much is your collection worth? I honestly don’t know.
What is your most expensive bag? My Celine Luggage – I had always loved the bag but never bit the bullet… and so when I turned 30, even though it wasn’t the ‘It’ bag anymore, I bought it for myself as my birthday present.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? This one is tough! It doesn’t quite answer the question but my Gucci Dionysus is probably my hardest working bag. It was the first bag in a long time that I fell in love with instantly and surprisingly, it somehow goes with tons of outfits both for work and otherwise. I also live in London, so carrying an umbrella in my handbag is an essential – and the Dionysus fits an umbrella perfectly!
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 17 – my godmother gifted me my Gucci pochette and the rest is history… I haven’t used the bag in 10+ years but I still treasure it.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? A Loewe Puzzle bag – I’ve been lusting after one for a while! I’m also tempted by a Fendi Baguette – I love how they look crossbody but am having a hard time justifying the price tag for such a small bag.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? A lot of them do actually – I’ve already talked about the Celine Luggage, the Gucci pochette, the vintage Burberry above. I bought my Mulberry Bayswater with my first proper paycheck. The Gucci Dionysus was purchased at the airport Duty Free on the way to South Africa for a holiday – and unknown to me at the time, I’d get engaged on that holiday! So that bag really holds happy memories.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? This sounds terrible but I’m almost always using a nice bag – and have been pretty much since I received my first one – so I don’t think the bag changes people’s perceptions of me as they largely expect me to be using one? Although if I’m meeting people for the first time in a professional context – an interview or a client meeting for example – then I’ll use a bag that’s more understated (no monograms!) as I don’t want them to make any kind of judgment based on what I’m carrying.
How often do you buy new bags? It depends – I’ve only bought 1 since the start of the pandemic. A few of the bags have been impulse purchases (my Fendi 3jours and Mulberry Alexa for example – and they’re the ones I use the least. The 3jours is a bit too big and the leather on the Alexa is outrageously fragile) but generally, I’ll lust after a bag for months, do lots of research and look at pretty much every photo of the bag I can online before I’ll actually buy it.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I buy most often at Heathrow duty free – we travel quite a bit (or at least we used to before the pandemic!) so after I’ve done all my bag research and have decided to purchase, I’ll wait until we travel and buy the bag then. If the bag isn’t available at the airport, I’ll buy at Harrods because at least that way I can collect points on their rewards program. Also – this one is a bit more unusual – but in London we have a ‘Gold Label’ section in our TK Maxx stores (TJ Maxx in other countries) and I’ve actually found a few bags there at a serious bargain. I’ll buy them, take them home to ponder, and then return if it’s not right!
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I’ve bought two bags on eBay (after a LOT of research and getting comfortable with the authenticity) quite a few years ago. However, now that there’s more designer resale sites, I’ve found that the prices seem to have all increased and it’s harder to find good bargains.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No – I’ve actually never sold a bag. I get too attached (even to the ones I rarely use) and can’t bear the idea of parting with them. I have given a few to my mom though – but that way, they’re staying in the family!
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not really. I know I have a lot of bags already – if anything, I think I feel societal pressure to stop buying more.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I wish I could say yes – but deep down, I’m well aware that the only investment I’m making is in my happiness. Also, given my inability to part with my bags, it probably wouldn’t do much good even if bags were genuine investments.
Who influences your buying decisions? Just me! I generally just like to buy what I like, rather than what everyone else does. Several years ago, a few people I knew were all saving up to buy Chanel bags – and I did consider getting one too. And then I realised that I (and I know this is controversial!) don’t actually like Chanel (and certainly not at the continuously hiked up price points)… that’s probably the closest I’ve come to being ‘influenced’ into buying something.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No. I’m one of those customers that like to be left alone in a store to browse at my own leisure so I’ve never made any real relationships with sales associates – I also tend to know in advance whether I’m just browsing or am going to purchase. I’m also not a frequent enough visitor to any store!
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? It’s the whole process – from initially seeing something beautiful, to researching and dreaming about it, to going to the store, feeling it in my hands and then taking it home and feeling like you’ve just accomplished something great… and then finally getting to wear the bag too!
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I don’t know if it’s necessarily inferior service but I’ve been to a few boutiques where the Mandarin speaking sales associate is immediately sent to me. While I understand Mandarin, it isn’t my mother tongue and it’s a little uncomfortable when that assumption is made about you. It’s also a bit awkward for the sales associate who will speak to me in Mandarin and have me respond in English…
Who pays for your bags? Me (although a few of my earlier bags were presents from my parents)
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. Although my mom and I did purchase a counterfeit Louis Vuitton Speedy once because we wanted to compare it against my authentic one. We did a side by side comparison – and were surprised by how good the counterfeit one was actually. But I feel very strongly that I’d never use a counterfeit as I’d always know that I’d ‘cheated’.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, he does think that I have too many bags (also applicable to shoes, clothes, jewellery, anything!) but he would never tell me not to buy something. I think he also appreciates that these purchases make me happy.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I feel a little boring but I don’t think I’ve ever done anything particularly crazy 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 don’t think so although I acknowledge that I do shop quite a lot. I do buy too many clothes but I clear out my closet two or three times a year to declutter, which I think helps.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Shoes…
Anything else you would like to include? At the end of day, if you love it, you can afford it and you know that it will make you happy – then definitely buy it!