Closet Confessionals

CC 151: The Collector Whose Birkin Is an Ode to Her Late Mother

"The Birkin bag reminded me of her beautiful style, she was my style icon."

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a hard-working handbag lover in her mid-twenties, whose love of bags has evolved over time. At 22, CC 151 graduated from Coach and Michael Kors to the premium designer bag realm. These days, she’s amassed an enviable collection spanning beloved brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and more. But by far, CC 151’s most-prized piece is the Birkin 30 that was inherited from her late mother. This collector wears the bag proudly as an ode to her stylish mother, who passed away from cancer.

A smart shopper who thinks through any big bag purchase, CC 151 is also great at budgeting, and because of this, she hasn’t really had to sell off any old bags because she only buys what she truly loves and will use. While she does cite being influenced by YouTubers, CC 151 will not make a purchase unless she’s thought about it for at least 2 weeks. Ready the full CC below, and don’t forget to submit your own.


The Basics

Age: 25
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Hong Kong
Occupation: IT Consultant
Industry: IT
Salary: $45,000
Household Income: $95,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 20+

What bags are in your collection?

How much is your collection worth? USD 40,000+

What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Birkin 30 inherited from my late mother.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I have always loved luxury fashion, and even back in college I was working odd jobs to pay bills and I was able to afford a Michael Kors bag here and there, but it wasn’t until I was 22 when I start working full-time that I could start curating my premier designer bag collection such as the Gucci and Saint Laurent pieces.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 16 and I got my first contemporary bag, a Michael by Michael Kors Grayson bag (kinda like a Speedy bag). After I start working full-time at 22, my first premier designer bag was a Gucci Marmont Mini Camera Bag.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Hermès Birkin 30. It was one of my mother’s favorite bags. She passed away in Feb 2021 from cancer. After she passed I found it in her closet, but the handles were broken presumably from the lack of use during the last couple of years of her life when she was in and out of hospitals. The Birkin bag reminded me of her beautiful style, she was my style icon.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Growing up in a large city like Hong Kong, influenced by luxury fashion and glossy glamour, I definitely find that people start treating me more seriously when I wear my designer bags. Perhaps, (un)surprisingly though, I find that there is a weak correlation between the level of respect when I’m out and about (before I even open my mouth) and the value of my bag. I get much better treatment when I go to a luxury store (or even a restaurant) wearing my Gucci than my Coach bag, which is sad because I find my Coach bag just as well made as my Gucci one, at a fraction of the cost.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Not much. Even during work from home days, I don’t find myself shying away from Saint Laurent for going to the grocery store. I firmly believe that what makes you happy, go do it!

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I try to buy one every couple of months, or whenever I get a good commission at work. I like to plan out my budget, and consequently my purchases. Yeah, definitely need to figure out my “luxury priorities”.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? For sure. It made me a lot more conscious of my spending. Especially when Hong Kong took a bitter turn of events from COVID starting in 2022, I started looking a lot more into Coach and Tory Burch since I find that their quality is pretty much on par with the premier brands, but at a fraction of the cost.

Which stores do you frequent the most? In Hong Kong, you can’t expect to get into a Chanel or Hermès store without lining up for AT LEAST 2 HOURS. Chanel, especially, love the lining up tactic to encourage (or for me, more like discourage) only the customers that are “worth it” to go in – as you can imagine, most of Chanel’s clientele in Hong Kong are wealthy ladies over the age of 40 that can afford the TIME and obviously, the money to wait. Haha, that’s definitely an exaggeration – but truth to be told Chanel is not the first choice for millennials like me in Hong Kong.

Dior, Gucci and Saint Laurent (not their brick and mortar stores) are a lot more inviting – both the bag styles that they offer and service quality are more up my alley.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I’m always scared of counterfeits, so I’ve never done so.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, in fact, since I will never buy a bag on a whim (I always plan out the purchase months in advance when I’m budgeting for it), thankfully I haven’t found a bag to delineate from my style so much that I need to sell it. The old Michael Kors ones from back in the day – they are all happily given out to my close friends and relatives.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I do follow several luxury YouTubers (such as Sophie Shohet, Cassie Thorpe), etc. For sure YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest are great in keeping up with trends, but I will ALWAYS spend at least two weeks thinking about a bag before buying it – comparing it with my existing collection, brainstorming outfit ideas that can work with my style. If after two weeks I still can’t get the bag off my head, then I’ll go ahead and pull the trigger.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? For sure, I consider them investments. Not in a financial way, but they are definitely investments in a way that I am sure I can wear it for many years, or even pass it down to my children.

Who influences your buying decisions? YouTube influencers definitely play a role – but again, I try to counter that by planning out my finances well and budgeting what I can buy in the next 6 months, or even a year.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Dior and Gucci Sales Associates, yes. They have been awesome and I have my go-to Sales Associates to whenever I want to browse or buy something. Even so, I always look up online before hitting a store and I know exactly what I want.

However, I had a weird experience at Saint Laurent that made me NEVER want to go back to a physical store again. One time, I went there to try on the Le 5 A 7 bag. When I went in, FIVE SAs were all staring at me, and they all started whispering among each other. They didn’t even say hello. That was crazy.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Good question. I think while I’m nowhere near a shopaholic level, every item that I purchased represents a memory (of hard work, or effort, or a business deal) that I can always cherish and look back on. I think shopping serves as retail therapy when I need it to, but most of the time it’s a reward.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I am grateful that so far I have never received inferior service at a store or boutique. Keeping in mind though, whenever I go luxury shopping (or even shopping, period), I try to dress smart, look polished, and treat everyone with politeness. I think that’s the way to go.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Other than the Birkin, all of the bags were paid by myself.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Definitely. I set aside around US $300-500 into my “bag fund” every month, until I hit my goal of whatever bag I have been waiting for. Planning ahead for my purchases helps a lot in knowing what I want next, and prevents a lot of temptation from the SLG section in a luxury store where potentially I can use up all US $1,000 and back to zero again.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No, since I’ve never bought something that I can’t afford.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Luckily, my significant other also shares my love of fashion. He likes the fact that I don’t expect him to buy me bags and he respects the way I plan out and spend my hard-earned cash.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I have worked 3 jobs right after university for a year to kick-start my “bag fund”.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? It’s so easy to get tempted by fashion magazines and influencers. I have always countered that by planning out all my purchases, and I don’t plan on stopping doing that, ever.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I am quite frugal in other parts of life. I buy my clothes from Zara and Forever 21, and I rarely dine out. Priorities.


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