In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we’re checking in with a candid confessor hailing from Canada. This former Dior devotee began collecting bags when she was just 12 and has since amassed an amazing collection of bags. Her acquisitions include many bags (many of them pre-loved) from Louis Vuitton, Chloé, Dior, and more.
This collector’s attitude towards bags and shopping has grown over the years, and as she approaches 30, she shares an honest look into her shopping habits. Though she has a true passion for luxury handbags and admits to struggling with her purchasing habits, and this confessor has worked to get a handle on her shopping. Now, she carefully calculates her purchases. She finds joy in putting together outfits and expressing herself through her personal style and even authenticates bags as a side passion project. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Household Income: $120,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 22
What bags are in your collection?
- Chanel Classic Flap 20b blue
- LV Epi Noé blue
- LV Murakami Speedy black
- LV Lexington yellow Vernis
LV Mallory rose poudre Vernis
- Dior vintage Saddle White
- Dior vintage Trotter beige
- Dior Ethnique tote white
- Dior Gaucho bronze
- Dior New Lock black
- Chloé Hayley camel
- Chloé Drew pink
- Burberry Canterbury tote
- YSL SDJ silver
- 2 Sophie Hulme bags
How much is your collection worth? Approximately 40K CAD (I buy A LOT pre-loved).
What is your most expensive bag? My 20b Chanel Small Classic Flap. I bought her last year after a large bonus and couldn’t be more delighted. Fits my stature, my wardrobe, and I cannot believe that it fits my style as well as it does.
Though I’m sad to report that very little fits within it though :/
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Currently a Chloé girl. My favourite piece is definitely my Chloé Hayley. She resembles a small Evelyne, but has two compartments separated by a third with a zipper closure in the middle. She’s a terrific old gal whom I love and reach for without judgment or regard for the event.
Bike ride? She’s with me.
Brunch? Yes please.
Needed to hand in my last Econ assignment of my degree? She was in tow, and my assignment was carefully in place within as I rode dangerously through the mud to hand it in on time. As for other brands, I was previously huge on Dior (not a Maria Grazia fan unfortunately).
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? The tender age of 12. I went to a private school where every second girl had an LV Pochette Accessoires or a baby Speedy, and I had decided that I was going to be one of them. After months of asserting to my parents that it was the only way I could socially flourish amongst my peers, they bought me an LV Mallory in rose poudre. I barely wear her, but she’s a gem I still take out every once in a while.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? 100%, I keep lying to myself that I’ve hit purse peace and yet I still manage to buy a bag per year. I hope to purchase a Lady Dior for my 30th, secondhand of course.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I’m emotionally attached to many of my bags, both my Chloé bags for sure. My white Saddle, which has a story to boot, and my Murakami Speedy. I visited my sister in London in 2016 and found a consignment store called the Pandora dress boutique. Filled to the brim with designer goodies, I spotted her hanging high above my head and immediately knew she was mine forevermore. At the time the British pound was exceptionally cheap (thanks Brexit) and I got her for less than 600 CAD.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes. I am treated like a rich kid almost 100% of the time if people don’t know me and the bag is a bit more obvious. For that reason, I never wear my designer bags at work, never when I go for a walk (I’ve seen some do it). But it helps to receive much better customer service than those who aren’t [wearing one]when I go shopping :D.
My Chloé’s receive mixed reception in social circles. The Chanel girls of the world act as if it’s a Coach or an MK bag, and I’ve been treated badly for wearing Chloé amongst those people, even if it later comes out that their Chanel is a super fake from Turkey.
I only wear my “louder” bags around very close friends (i.e. the Murakami, the CF, or either one of my Saddles).
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Completely. I mostly end up just leaving the house for work or working in a coffee shop, so I wear my totes out 90% of the time. I’ve ended up going out a few times since things have opened up in June/July, so I have had a handful of opportunities to wear my bags out.
How often do you buy new bags? 2020 and 2021: 1/year. Before: 3-5.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Despite my career progression, I buy A LOT less thanks to the pandemic. The silver lining was that I was able to buy my CF thanks to my new rhythm. Though, I mostly bought pre-loved before the pandemic even hit.
My new focus is to keep a tidier and more intentional collection. I’ve sold lots of my clothes and non-luxury bags because of the pandemic, and I try to re-home everything properly so that it sees the love it once met when it was with me 🙂
Which stores do you frequent the most? I think it could be Chanel (you have the right to roll your eyes as I’ve previously made a disparaging comment on women who exclusively wear Chanel bags).
I don’t buy more than one accessory and clothing item per season, but all my latest accessories have been from Chanel lately.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? It is a rare and momentous occasion for me to buy a bag in-store, like my precious CF. I buy off everywhere; Kijiji, eBay, Japanese resellers, Depop, Poshmark, less so consignment stores. I have a knack for authentication and also authenticate freelance – Dior, Fendi, and Chloé bags as a side hustle. As a result, I know a lot of authenticators to cross-authenticate pieces I find. If you want something cheap though, try Vinted or going after pre-loved pieces in your own city. You’ll be shocked as to what you can find.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Although it isn’t with the intent to pay for new purchases, yes I do. A lot. I think I’ve sold 10 of my bags on places like Depop, Kijiji, and Poshmark. I’ve even sold all my costume jewellery thanks to Kijiji.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? At times. Especially with the Classic Flap I felt surmounting pressure to fit in by buying in store. Otherwise, no new bags are lovely enough for me to want to buy it these days. I spurn anything too recent as Instagram’s marketing pushes are so tasteless. Unlike bags, I’ve bought lots of accessories (sunglasses and SLGs).
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Wardrobe investments? Yes. Though I do deal in CTAs and am a master hunter for a good bargain, the bags I buy are not meant to yield much return other than the satisfaction of pulling off a very hot outfit.
Who influences your buying decisions? The idea of achieving an ideal “Je ne sais quoi” look with a classy undertone does. New bags aren’t achieving that, instead, they’re dictating a uniform. There’s an artful essence within each one of us that can be expressed through the clothes we wear and the accessories we pick, I let mine push me in the road I’m meant to follow…
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Despite being big on pre-loved bags, I love buying my SLGs fresh and have a preferred SA at a couple stores. I’d also like to thank Ryan from Chanel Montreal for helping me get my first Chanel bag. He makes notes and doesn’t refuse any project too small (such as a scarf), and I really appreciate that.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I used to like shopping for the rush, and still partake in mindless purchases. I used to be a big shopaholic prior to 2018. Now, I love shopping because I enjoy taking a piece and marrying it with my fashion identity. I like to think about how I’ll wear it, where I’ll wear it, why I’ll wear it, what emotions it may evoke for others when I wear it… When I have an event or a trip to look forward to, I’ll always think about what I’m wearing and how I want to communicate my personality through my garb.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Only once. As a woman of Western Asian descent I’m part of a largely despised community, especially in France & Austria (shock). I was denied entry at Zara in the changing rooms by a French man with a disgusting smirk on his face, and effectively told that I wasn’t the kind of clientele that they catered to. Racist jerk.
Who pays for your bags? 2000-2016: A mix of my father and myself (I bought all my high street bags and just a couple designer pieces up until that point).
2017- now: Me, myself, and I.
I was well-loved and given the opportunity to have access to fashion that women dream of buying well into their 20s, 30s, or even later. But I’m semi resolved to never let a man buy me a bag again. Buy me food, flowers, food and even jewellery if I make you that happy. My bag purchases mark a certain point of pride on my end. I scour the net for what I want, consult women in my community, and have an excel sheet on my bag collection needs (and their purchase prices/their current going prices). If someone buys me a bag I don’t need, as my poor father has experienced, the bag can end up going to waste (or in the hands of a dearest cousin/sibling).
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I simply approximate to spend around 3k on bags a year (with the large exception of my Chanel). I astutely budget for my needs and leave a small portion for my second-hand bags.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? When I was 14 I saw a pink Burberry check bag in an alley in Hawaii lined with white pleather and had to have her. I now understand the malignant nature of the counterfeit industry and steer clear from them.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I haven’t had the displeasure of such an experience because I don’t allow my relationships to drag on.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Skipped meat, a lot of grocery store essentials, store-bought coffee and my last meal of the day for the last two months of grad school for a Saddle bag. It was 300 CAD though (pre-2018 craze), so a sound wardrobe investment. The costs I bore were a tad extreme.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? In my first year out of grad school I had a big problem. I was certainly not saving enough and I was spending my money on tons of alcohol, restaurants, traveling, and luxury accessories/clothing. I was very lost with my direction, working jobs I hated, making friends that weren’t any good for me, and not making an effort to figure much of that out since I was so burnt from my Master’s degree. I was adequately able to regroup after a year of mucking about and found a job that set me in my current career trajectory.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Travelling, shoe shopping, and dining out.
Anything else you would like to include? The debt isn’t worth it, fakes are even less worth it. A $500 super fake could have been better spent on a contemporary designer bag that brings its own charm to your wardrobe.
Also… always cross-authenticate your second-hand bags, large pre-loved e-luxury [websites] only know what they’re doing 30% of the time.