In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a divorcee in her late thirties hailing from Singapore. A lover of luxury bags but also a fan of minimalism and a clutter-free life, CC 154 believes in quality over quantity through and through. Throughout her years collecting handbags, she’s owned many bags from various designers, but these days, she says her most important pieces are from her collection of vintage Chanel bags. Not only are they beautiful, but they hold an important piece of her heart as they represent freedom in her new life post-divorce.
CC 154 has learned a lot about herself throughout her time collecting bags. These days, she budgets and buys what she can afford and no longer has to hide purchases from anyone. This collector truly believes in buying what you love and what will work for you, not what’s popular. While she admits to once being in debt in her younger years, CC 154 has only gotten wiser with age and says she no longer buys things above her budget to impress others. A great read with some good solid collecting advice; check out the full CC below, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Age: Late 30s
Gender Identity: Female
Occupation: Civil Servant
Industry: Civil Service
Household Income: $125,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 7
What bags are in your collection?
- 4 Vintage Chanel Bags (Diana, Diamond Flap, Full Flap, Medallion Tote)
- Ethan K Mini Briefcase
- Gucci Bamboo Top Handle
- Alaia Mina 25 Tote
How much is your collection worth? $30,000
What is your most expensive bag? The small Chanel Diana – vintage is making a comeback and this model’s classic design is holding the test of time. Unmistakenly classic Chanel but with a twist. Prices are insane!
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Any of the Chanels, important as I could only afford them in the last one year – afford financially and mentally in a sense. I was in a bad marriage for a decade and finally getting a divorce freed me up financially and provided the peace of mind to pursue my interests and likes. Helps also that no one will be shaking heads disapprovingly at home anymore! I also see the vintage Chanels as an alternative investment while providing eye candy at the same time. I only use the medallion tote and Diana; the other two are kept and maintained to hopefully sell at a profit a few years later. Planning and investing for the future was also something I could only look into after the divorce hence the entire Chanel collection marks my freedom post-divorce.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My children’s father bought me all the brand-name bags back then. It started with a Marc Jacobs tote when we were dating then a Chanel Reissue and Loewe Amazona during our honeymoon. The MJ was beloved and used to the last bit while the Chanel reissue was sold to contribute to my divorce war chest. Despite the fact that it was a bag I keenly loved and wanted, I knew I could no longer stand to look at it, much less use it.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Perhaps a preloved Chanel camera bag with tassel. I was recently alerted to the Ethan K brand, which is a Singaporean designer whose bags are rather elusive and carried by royalty (!!). I just bought the mini briefcase and am amazed at how soft and light the bag is. It fits my belongings well and wears well on the body too. will road test it for the next few months for quality and might get another of his bags! Nothing like supporting a homegrown brand.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Any of my Chanels for the reasons listed above. It will be bittersweet if and when I eventually let any of them go.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I always prefer carrying more elusive / less-it models of brands, eg. I don’t have a Chanel Flap Bag as it is so common. For that reason, many of my bags fly under the radar and are not easily recognized. Of course, when I choose to shop physically, I do detect a difference in how I am treated based on my dressing. It is ultimately only human to behave like this, and we all exhibit such behavior to an extent.
With my girlfriends, I don’t carry my Chanels as I can detect some sentiments about foolish spending from them, and I’d rather not have to defend myself if at all. I carry what I want to work as I have attained a certain level of competence and seniority such that even if there were any negative perceptions, I would be able to deflect or squash them easily.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Not at all, as my work cannot be done from home so I have been going out to work all this while.
How often do you buy new bags? Trying to make it not so often 😂
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Definitely the shift towards online shopping and learning to use rebate programs to maximize purchases to earn cashback. Luxury and well-made quality pieces truly stand the test of time and are impervious to cyclical trends or world events. If anything, I have learned to be much more appreciative of my ability to buy and indulge in something as frivolous as bags. I feel immensely fortunate and grateful to have retained my spending power during such grim times.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Fashionphile and vintage bag purveyors on Instagram.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have always loved preloved bags or things harking back to older times. Could be due to my mother’s influence. She advocated quality over quantity and frequently lamented that things made now are not as good as before. When I was 18, I shopped for vintage bags on Etsy and with my fledgling debit card, nervously shipped two Paloma Picasso bags from the US to SG. I loved them both and used them to bits. I am so glad that shopping preloved is way easier now.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I don’t sell bags to fund but to declutter. I have a minimalist mindset and if something is no longer providing value, it will go (hopefully at a good price!). I am ruthless at destashing and SG runs a robust recycling program where anything usable within some categories will be collected from your doorstep for free. I also have no qualms about giving things away for free so long as it leaves my house.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Nope. I have come to the age and maturity that I buy what I like when I can. I was a foolish and immature person who “buys things I don’t need with money I don’t have to impress people I don’t like.” Life has wised me up.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yep as mentioned earlier.
Who influences your buying decisions? How rare and elusive a design is.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Nope.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I’m a homebody and enjoy staying at home and doing/learning activities I’ve always wanted to do, but had no time or energy previously. I started on adult ballet and piano recently.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not so in sg.
Who pays for your bags? Moi.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I have been in painful debt before and never wish to be in such a situation again. I know how much I can spend and stick to it.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Nope, always quality over quantity. I am amused though by how good counterfeiters have become!
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I used to; no longer!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Stayed up for the launch time of a bag offering on Instagram? I’m not really a FOMO person so nothing too crazy.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? It used to, as a retail therapy to combat a very unhappy marriage. That’s what got me into debt in the first place and that’s just one of the many ways a bad marriage can manifest in a person.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Thank god no.
Anything else you would like to include? Buy what you like with what you can afford. Getting into debt to afford things like bags is never wise.
Quality counts. Fast fashion does not. Even if you are tired of a bag and wish to offload it, a quality bag prob means it is still in a more than decent condition and will fetch a better price on the resale market.