In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a young professional in her late twenties who began collecting bags at the start of University. It was then that her mother gifted her with a Prada Saffiano tote, which was an upgrade from the contemporary bags she had before. Though this confessor loves designer bags just like the rest of us, she’s very smart about her purchases, and her bag buys are calculated and well thought out.
CC 157 likes buying bags that are part of the holy trinity as she believes they are classic and will remain relevant for years to come. Relevancy aside, this collector has had some trouble with quality issues and believes it’s important for consumers to speak up when they’re offered a bag that’s not up to par. A curated but mighty collection of bags, CC 157’s closet contains beloved bags from Louis Vuitton, Celine, and Chanel. Hermès is in CC 157’s future, but for now, she browses Nordstrom for bags or will reach out to her network of associates to see what stock is like. Read the full CC, and don’t forget to submit your own below!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: San Jose, CA
Household Income: $140,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 6
What bags are in your collection?
- Celine Micro Belt Bag
- Prada Saffiano Tote
- Louis Vuitton Alma BB
- Louis Vuitton My Lockme BB
- Chanel Seasonal WOC
- Chanel Coco Handle Medium
How much is your collection worth? Rough estimate $17,000.
What is your most expensive bag? Chanel Coco Handle medium. I wanted to buy a Classic medium but I couldn’t justify the price point so I bought its distant cousin, the Coco handle.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Chanel and Louis Vuitton, I try to keep all my new purchases within the “holy trinity” of brands. I want brands that are going to be in fashion for the next 10-15 years. Hermès is clearly outside of my budget so I’ll aim to get that later on.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I owned many Tory Burch/Michael Kors/Kate Spade bags when I was in my teens but my first real designer bag was when I turned 20. My mother bought me the Prada Saffiano tote at the airport on our way to drop me off at university. It was the sweetest thing. I still wear it out when I go out for interviews. Although the structure of the bag has started to sag a little.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Not Chanel. I personally have had terrible experiences with their quality and customer service. Both bags I purchased from them had quality issues – loose stitching, and dented quilts. Perhaps I was unlucky or maybe it was due to my short purchase history, I would rather not play their mind games. If I can afford it, I’ll go for the Hermès Constance. I also think bags from jewelry brands are highly underrated. I heard that Cartier and Bvlgari produce great quality bags for a much lower price point. Maybe I’ll go for one of them.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Chanel Coco handle. I purchased it ahead of my 30th birthday and with the first big bonus from my job. I think it will have sentimental value for years to come.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Sometimes. I live in an area of the bay area where people don’t really dress up. When I do carry nice bags, people look at me like she’s trying too hard. When I go back home to Seoul on the other hand, people are way more into conspicuous consumption, and everyone regardless of the socio-economic status is expected to own at least one nice bag. If you’re in the nice part of city, wearing designer bags is a given and not wearing designer, can lead to poorer customer service. South Bay and Seoul are polar opposite environments.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Absolutely. I stopped purchasing bags until March of this year since I didn’t have many social events to attend. I’m starting to purchase more now that I’ve started to travel again.
How often do you buy new bags? Once every other year. Not often. I’m practical with my purchases and will spend months doing research – which includes going through YouTube bag reviews, Instagram bag with outfit photos, product comparisons, etc. I’ll even do a Google trends search to see how in-demand a particular bag is year-over-year to see how classic it is. I’m nuts. But I thoroughly enjoy the research portion of it.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Sort of. During 2020-21, I barely shopped. The only things I bought were pajamas and lounge clothes. But this year, the old me is back.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Reformation is my favorite. Their fit is always so nice. In terms of handbags and accessories, I am a Nordstrom girl so I scan there often.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? No. I’m too much of a wuss to buy second-hand. I’ve seen super fakes in real life and I can’t tell the difference. I don’t want to be scammed (not that all second-hand bags are fake, but they could be!)
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I wish. I’ve been trying to sell off my old bags for years now but I have yet to go into a consignment store.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Like I mentioned before Being in Seoul, I always feel pressured to own nice bags. But certainly not in the Bay Area.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Somewhat. I mean these bags no matter what other people say (unless you own Hermès) will never earn back the same amount of money you paid to purchase them. There’s certainly tax and also the amount of time I spent trying to acquire these bags (for me, my time is money). I don’t think I’ll break even, especially with my small collection. So no I don’t consider my bags investments.
Who influences your buying decisions? Perhaps Instagram influencers? I see some nice bags and I’ll start researching from there.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Ah no which is maybe why I don’t get good service. I try to stay loyal but I’d rather play the numbers game where I text a bunch of SAs in my database and see who has what in stock. This probably only works for less coveted items though.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Doing the research is my favorite part. Finding out which bag goes well with my wardrobe and will stay in fashion for a long time.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I don’t think any of the poor services I received was due to my appearance or demographic makeup. But who knows.
Who pays for your bags? My first three designer bags were paid for by my dear parents. After I became financially independent, I started paying for them.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No set budget but I think I will plan to use the annual bonus season as the time I start shopping.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Yesss. I’m guilty. It was the Boy bag. I regret it though because I rarely wear it since deep down I know it’s fake and I’m paranoid someone will call me out for it.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No significant other so I’m good.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing crazy. But I drove 4 hours to buy a bag since they couldn’t ship it to me since I had no purchase history.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Not at all. I’m good at self-control. Maybe too much self-control when purchasing designer items. Every single designer bag I purchased had been fully paid for just by me using them so frequently.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I like going to the beach and seeing small sea creatures. It costs $0. It’s great.
Anything else you would like to include? Final parting words would be not to buy poor quality bags. If a SA offers you a luxury bag with clear flaws, call them out! Bag quality has been decreasing these days. I see so many posts on tPF of “is this normal that my $xxx bag has these issues?” Don’t let these big brands bully you into accepting bad-quality bags. We as consumers need to stand up for ourselves with the little power we have!!