Closet Confessionals

CC 159: The Statistician

"I try to influence my own decisions based on what I need from a bag"

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We’re back at it this Thursday morning with a fresh new installment of Closet Confessionals coming to you from Western Australia. Today’s confessor is a late twenty-something statistician working in the academic world. CC 159 changed her life during COVID by acquiring a new job and a move that came along with it.

Inevitably, CC 159’s access to bags grew with a salary increase, and it was only with this life change that today’s confessor snagged her first “proper” designer bag. This was a big deal, as the Celine Trapeze of CC 159’s dreams was the bag that started it all, the one that was featured prominently in the Vogue magazines of our confessor’s youth. Her collection has grown since; though small, it’s well thought-out and calculated.

Read CC 159’s candid and rather refreshing confessional below, and don’t forget to submit your own!


The Basics

Age: 29
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Occupation: Statistician
Industry: Academic
Salary: $104,000
Household Income: $104,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 7

What bags are in your collection?

How much is your collection worth? $4000 AUD, ish

What is your most expensive bag? The Celine, although it was secondhand for pretty much the same price as each of my (new) Mansur Gavriel and Deadly Ponies.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? The Cambridge Satchels (which aren’t really designer bags at all, but feel it when you’re an undergraduate!) were gifts from my best friend, who had the smaller push-lock engraved with my initials. I’ve had them for ten years now, and they’ve followed me through so many different life experiences — including the job interview which would see me move from London to Western Australia.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? Proper designer? 27, after I moved to Australia and finally indulged myself in the Celine Trapeze. This bag featured heavily in the Vogue magazines my friends and I read surreptitiously under the desk during English lessons in 2010, and I’d dreamt about it nightly: I remember being obsessed with Phoebe Philo’s Celine and bereft at how far out of reach it was to a 16 year old. I wanted a Luggage in all sizes, a Trapeze in all colours, and most of all to look like those women flitting around the great cities of fashion in trench coats cuddling Box Bags.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? The Celine Classic Box, in Black, ideally old-logo. I’m trying to save for a house deposit, though, on an academic’s salary, so even pre-loved it wouldn’t be the most sensible of purchases.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? The aforementioned Cambridge Satchel, for its provenance as a gift. My Cloud Clutch is important to me: I have quite bad social anxiety and it purchasing it the first time I’d been into a boutique you had to ring a bell for entry to, and really interact with the sales associate rather than just picking up a bag and taking it to the counter. The SAs were lovely, but I was very very awkward! I’d never been in a small boutique before and so I felt like an awful, not to mention poor, spare part the entire time, despite the SAs obvious best efforts to put me at ease.

It’s odd to feel proud of yourself for the simple act of frivolously spending hundreds of dollars, but I did feel an emotional satisfaction from buying that bag. I’m still working up the courage to go to the LV/Gucci/Chanel boutiques in town: if I was a bit braver and more self-assured I’d be much poorer!

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? This is quite closely related to the answer I gave to the previous question: nice bags give me confidence. I’m a short, feminine woman in a male-dominated field. It can be hard to be taken seriously, but a shield of good quality leather gives you weight in a room whilst still showing some personality. At work, I prefer bags with a IYKYK quality to them, to inspire female camaraderie, without flashiness. With friends, I mainly worry about overdoing it and spilling drinks on my bags!

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? I moved continents during Covid, and doubled my salary in the process, so my bag carrying habits have changed for the more expensive! Pre-Covid, as a PhD student in London, I would buy well (a Sandqvist backpack, for example), but practically, and wear a bag continuously until death. All the bags listed above I paid for personally (5/7) have been purchased since January 2021.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Currently at a cadence of about once every three months for “a bag”, and twice a year for “investment bags”

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Not especially, but then my financial circumstances changed a lot during the pandemic so it’s somewhat confounded

Which stores do you frequent the most? Perth isn’t blessed with heaps of designer stores: David Jones is alright, and Cult Status fantastic.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I do, from luxeitfwd. I’d not had good luck with the bigger consignment sites, but I find there’s an exciting thrifting feeling to shopping with a smaller site and more limited range.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I don’t really have enough old bags to have reached that point, and I’m still building my collection of core basics.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Instagram can be pretty brutal, but I’ve found one of the better things about making the conscious decision to move towards buying higher-end bags is that it’s removed a lot of the pressure. Second-hand leather is one of the more sustainable luxury purchases, but everyone knows they’re expensive! No-one is expecting you to have a leather bag which perfectly matches every outfit. I find that quite freeing.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Only in myself. I don’t (and probably won’t have) the resources to purchase actual investment level bags, unless I get weirdly lucky on a trend cycle. Where (especially second-hand) bags are an investment to me is in the planet: looked after, a leather bag could be used by my children’s children. Fast fashion bags will be on the planet forever, but not in the same way…

Who influences your buying decisions? Celine aside, which is driven purely by thwarted youth, I try to influence my own decisions based on what I need from a bag. My cloud clutch? I needed (wanted) a black “going out” bag. My Mr Porter tote? I needed a zip-top tote big enough for my laptop and a weekends worth of Perth-weather clothing.

As for how I choose the brands which fill those needs: Perth is a small place, you take what you can get.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? They’re detrimental. I am so intimidated by them! What if I go into a store and don’t want to buy anything? I am a browser, and prefer to be left to browse. Anxiety around having to ask to see/touch/examine things is the number one thing in the way of my purchasing my bucket-list bags.

Despite this, I abhor online shopping. Go figure…

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I enjoy owning something thought, love and expertise has gone into: the bags I’ve listed are not necessarily straight-up designer bags, but they are bags which have been designed rather than simply produced.

There is definitely an unhealthy element of “owning something thought, love, and expertise have been spent on means by association those things have been spent on me”.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not as far as I know.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do, with the small exception of two presents early in my collection. I’m single, so everything in my life is 100% paid for by me.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Subconsciously. I’ll get the urge for a new bag, and will only give in with the savings account allows.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I hate forms, especially customs ones.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I don’t have an S/O.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing — the bags are a bonus.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? If I could stop buying bags cold turkey I’d be maybe $3k closer to a $100k housing deposit, so no not really. After spending the first decade of my adult life in gentile poverty, and being no closer to being able to buy a house at the end of it, I’ve decided to indulge myself, so long as my bank balance at the end of the month is higher than it was at the beginning.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Given a choice, all my passions would be expensive. My bike’s probably where more of my money goes.


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1 year ago

I love this woman!

She writes with a clean, evocative, relatable voice: “…I wanted to look like all those women flitting about the great cities of fashion wearing trench coats and cuddling Box bags.”

She’s vulnerable, insightful, honest, and witty. This is my favorite CC yet. I want to hang out and have drinks and a bag-shopping adventure with you. I will have your back in the boutiques 😉

Ess Are
Ess Are
1 year ago

A great CC! You write with a thoughtful, honest, and humorous voice. Enjoyable to read!