In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet an early-thirties New Yorker whose love for bags is strong and palpable. This confessor began his collection at 25, and though he’s only been collecting bags for 6 years, he has already realized his dream of buying a Birkin. That Birkin 40 is his most-prized piece, it’s not only practical and a great design, but it was his dream bag for over a decade.
Living through COVID in New York has changed this handbag lover’s habits, as, like many of us, this collector mostly reaches for his smaller bags now. Additionally, the pandemic has changed how this confessor shops, since social outings happen a lot less now. A down-to-earth collector who loves bags, he now shops more thoughtfully, choosing to think like Marie Kondo and only keeping/buying things that truly spark joy. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Male
Location: New York
Household Income: $260,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 7
What bags are in your collection?
- Hermès Birkin 40
- Louis Vuitton Keepall 45
- Louis Vuitton Saumur 35
- Fendi Peekaboo XL
- Givenchy Mystic mini
- Valentino Joylock large
- Balenciaga Day Messenger
How much is your collection worth? I paid about $20,000.
What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Birkin 40.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? The most important piece would be my Birkin 40, and not just because it’s the most expensive one. It has been my dream bag for over a decade. I love the design, and it’s the most practical bag for me. I never thought that dream would come true one day.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? At the age of 25, I got a vintage Keepall 45. I even used it as a day bag in the beginning. Big bags were in vogue back then.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I would love an Hermès Constance, not sure about the size yet, but definitely in Green.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Valentino Joylock. I bought it at the Barneys in San Francisco while I was on a trip with my husband. It’s sad that Barneys no longer exists.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I don’t think so. The advantage of living in New York is that people have very different styles and value many things other than designer bags. I get compliments all the time, but I don’t think they all know (or care about) the brand or the value of the bag. When New Yorkers are nice to you, it means they ARE nice, no matter how you dress or what bag you carry. But I do notice that when I carry my Birkin, people in the know will stare at it a bit longer.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Yes, I used to carry large bags most of the time, now I reach for my Givenchy Mystic Mini more often because I don’t really want to stay out for too long, and I also take more short walks in my neighborhood, so all I need are essentials. But a big bag like my Birkin 40 is still very practical to carry all my masks, hand sanitizer, and a water bottle. I sold some mid-size Chanel and Dior bags as I simply didn’t need them anymore.
How often do you buy new bags? I only make a purchase when I feel like I need a different one for some practical reason, or I just fall in love with the design. I try to make that once a year only.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I definitely shop less now! LOL! I’ve been downsizing since the pandemic. I just have to when I spend this much time at home. Especially now I rarely go out during weekdays, so do I need more bags or shoes or clothes? Like Marie Kondo, I now only keep things that spark joy for me!
Which stores do you frequent the most? When I go to a physical store (rarely these days), I like to browse in Saks. But I shop online most of the time.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Most of my bags are second-hand. I always fall in love with discontinued styles. And certain bags look better when they are vintage. I often browse all the second-hand websites, from eBay to Fashionphile.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I sell bags when I don’t use them that much anymore, and I hate seeing them sitting in my (already-too-small) closet. I have sold them on eBay and to Fashionphile.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. I buy them for myself to use, not to impress anyone.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No, bags are not financial investments unless you are a Birkin dealer.
Who influences your buying decisions? Myself.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No because I shop online most of the time.
Why do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? As a designer, I appreciate beautiful things and high-quality material and craftsmanship. They give me joy.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity, or gender? I’ve never had a bad experience in New York. Most SAs are very welcoming. I enjoy just chatting with them. Some are quieter; they don’t want to “bother” you that much. I had gotten one or two judgy looks from some snobby SAs at Bergdorf Goodman a long time ago, but they were never rude to me. I want to point out that people at Dior are very, very nice in general, I get free samples for just walking around, they would offer me drinks even when I’m not buying anything. I also had wonderful experiences at Hermès, once I got a tour at the men’s store even though I was in t-shirts and shorts and with a 2-dollar tote bag on my shoulder. Paris is a whole different story tho.
Who pays for your bags? Me!
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.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I wouldn’t do anything crazy for a bag.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I think I had a shopping addiction, but I’m growing out of it now. I think it’s more important to have the right pieces that work for you and last longer. Quality over quantity, for sure.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I love collecting perfumes, but it’s not really an expensive hobby.
Anything else you would like to include? I have to say this to some people out there: please don’t keep the plastic on the hardware! Don’t let the bag wear you!