In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a reformed shopaholic who admits to being a “work in progress” (aren’t we all?!). CC 137 hails from LA, and has been collecting bags since college. The purchase of her first Coach bag kicked off her collection, and some years later, the purchase of another Coach bag impacted her collection too. With one red bucket bag, CC 137 realized how much more fun it is to buy what you love rather than what is practical.
This confessor also discusses how her habits changed over the years, and through hard work and self-reflection, she’s worked hard to address some of her addictive patterns. COVID has helped this collector too, who is now focused on streamlining her collection with a strict one-in-one-out policy. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own.
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: University English Professor
Household Income: $210,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 27
What bags are in your collection? Coach, Longchamp, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Aspinal of London, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Ferragamo, Tory Burch, Mulberry
How much is your collection worth? Geez, that’s a good question. I’m not sure.
What is your most expensive bag? Lady Dior
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Dior is now my favorite brand. I bought a pre-loved Lady Dior art bag and it is beautiful. I have a Vuitton Neverfull world tour that has special patches from the places I’ve visited.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I got my first designer bag when I was 26. It was a Coach drawstring bag. I wanted a Coach bag from the time I was in college and a classmate got one from her mom.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I don’t know why, but I want a silver leather bag. I know they were the rage a few years back, so I’m looking at pre-loved Chanel or Dior.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I have a twenty-two year old red Coach bucket bag. It is pretty banged up and really heavy, but I refuse to get rid of it. It was the first bag that I bought that wasn’t a “go with everything” bag. I just loved the rich red color. Since then I buy bags that I love not something “traditional”
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes I do. When I was in grad school, I carried a Chanel Flap to class and one person noticed it and commented out loud. The person wasn’t being rude or anything. If anything they were complimentary, but I was self-conscious. It made the class realize I wasn’t like them. I was older than all of them and this made me stand out more
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? I work from home now, so I downsized my collection
How often do you buy new bags? I used to buy bags a lot, like a lot a lot. However, I’m being more mindful with my purchases.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I shop more online or through sales associates via email.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Dior, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes I do. I like Fashionphile, and Yoogi’s closet.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I didn’t in the past but with Covid, I’ve had a change of habit. Now I have a strict one in one out policy and I want to keep my collection at about 30 bags. I used to have a collection as large as 100+ and I realized that was ridiculous. I’ve sold bags to Fashionphile and TheRealReal. I prefer Fashionphile for luxury.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. Pressure comes from me, and me alone. I love bags.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Oh gawd no!! It is an investment in my happiness and that’s it.
Who influences your buying decisions? I watch YouTubers or influencers, but I usually see a bag on social media or in magazines, and then use the youtube community to see specifics about the bag.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really. I just started developing SA relationships because of lockdown. I found a wonderful SA at Bergdorf Goodman, from the PurseForum btw, and I had a wonderful experience. I realized the ease with which you can acquire bags and the special touch a SA can provide.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Pre-Covid I loved to touch things and talking to sales staff. It was a social activity for me, in addition to getting something new. Now, shopping isn’t as enjoyable. I buy bags that suit my needs. I am a total shopaholic, but I am working on changing that.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I was at the Chanel boutique in Beverly Hills. I was totally blown off, on more than one occasion. I went in and tried to get a SA’s attention and they looked beyond me to other customers. Another time, my sister and I went into the same boutique and it wasn’t even crowded and no one even acknowledged our presence. The funny thing is that we went to Hermès and they were so lovely and helpful. Those experiences really put me off Chanel. I love Chanel shoes, but I get them at Nordstrom or some other store. And when I got a bag it was from the second hand market.
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? Yes, I wanted an LV sooooo bad and I got a quality Alma. It looked and smelled like the real thing but eventually I knew it was fake even if no one else did and I stopped wearing it. I let my kids have it to knock around with.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I used to do this when I was younger. I just felt guilty for spending money on myself. I have since changed that perspective. I talk to my husband about what I want to buy. And I told him my one in one out policy.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Sold a bunch of mid range bags to get a Dior.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? My word, yes! I had a serious problem with shopping, but not just for handbags but for everything. You name it, I bought it…books, makeup (I don’t even wear it much), shoes, clothes, etc. I learned through therapy and self-reflection that I was trying to fill a void. Once I recognized this, I started to change. As I said before, I’m a work in progress, and I’ve made some good progress.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Handbags are my weakness. Everything else is done within reason.
Anything else you would like to include? Don’t listen to people telling you that luxury handbags are investments, as in a monetary return. They can be investments in your wardrobe because the will last a lot longer and probably can be used for (with careful shopping), multiple purposes, but they are generally not money earners. Buy what you love, not what you think you should get. I watched a lot of YouTube during the beginning of the pandemic and I kept hearing about investment purchases, until I started to have that little thought creep into my brain when I was thinking about buying something. The reality is unless it is a rare Hermès B or K. You will not make money.