Closet Confessionals

CC 162: The Handbag Lover Who Keeps a Spreadsheet of Her Collection

"I calculate the cost per wear on everything (clothes, shoes, bags), and so I try to use everything to bring down the cost per wear"

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet an organized bag lover who has been collecting bags since the ’90s. At the time, Coach was at the height of its popularity, and it was Coach bags that allowed CC 162 to first dip her toes into the collecting pond. In fact, she still has that original Coach bag all these years later. From there, CC 162 has amassed a collection of over 25 handbags, though she does admit to selling or donating bags she’s not using. Thanks to this collector’s handy spreadsheet, she’s able to keep track of everything she owns (shoes and jewels, too!) and is mindful of the cost per wear of new purchases too.

CC 162’s collection is truly stunning, with amazing vintage pieces from Gucci, Dior, and Hermès. While CC 162 dreams of adding a Chanel 2.55 to her collection one day, her attitude towards bags and shopping is down-to-earth and realistic. She doesn’t buy on credit and knows that as much as her bags spark joy, life is really about “people first, then financial security, then things.” Read the full CC below with a stunning look at CC 162’s collection. Don’t forget to submit your own! We’d love to hear from you!


The Basics

Age: 63
Gender Identity: Female
Location: New Jersey
Occupation: Project Director
Industry: Pharmaceutical
Salary: $200,000
Household Income: $350,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? Around 25

What bags are in your collection?

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How much is your collection worth? More than 25K

What is your most expensive bag? I paid the most for my recent bag, the Saint Laurent college in Charron blue ($2,600), which I’m waiting for from Neiman Marcus as we speak. I think my Kelly is probably worth the most, I paid $2,400 for it a few years ago, but I bet I could sell it for $6k or more since it’s authenticated, in lovely condition, just back from Hermès spa.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Probably the vintage Kelly and Drag bags from Hermès. I’m in love with both of them.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I started buying Coach bags in the 1990s, I’ve sold or given away most of them, but I still have the first one I bought, which is a little brown Scooter — I don’t think Coach makes things from that same lovely leather anymore, I’m so glad I kept a few of the old ones, I’ll use them forever.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? My dream bag is a Chanel 2.55 vintage, but I can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a bag. I’ve loved them forever. I wanted a Birkin for a while and started to pursue it, but I’m pretty much over that. I think I was influenced to want one.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My black Coach shoulder bag that my husband bought me for our 2nd anniversary in 1997. I hauled it out last month to use it for a while, and it’s aged beautifully.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Definitely. I used the De Mellier bag when I went shopping at NM a couple of months ago, and even though I was dressed well and wearing good shoes, I felt like I didn’t get the same service I get when I carry the Kelly or Gucci.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? A little. I work from home exclusively now, and I carry a good bag every day since I don’t have to worry about what people at work might think about a designer bag. I’m using the Drag bag right now. I calculate the cost per wear on everything (clothes, shoes, bags), and so I try to use everything to bring down the cost per wear. When I get that new Saint Laurent bag, I’ll wear it for a few weeks right away to bring it down under $100/wear.

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The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? It depends. I’ve bought 3 in the last month, but I might go 6 months without buying or selling one.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I buy more bags than I used to. I also see more because I’m spending more time on Poshmark, Thredup, Fashionphile, etc.

Which stores do you frequent the most? For new items, I like Neiman Marcus and Hermès. For secondhand, I like Poshmark, Fashionphile, Vestiare Collective, and ThredUp.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Definitely, I love vintage bags. I’ve purchased from all the ones I listed above.

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Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I sell old bags to refine my collection. If I’m not wearing it (I really do have a spreadsheet to keep track!), I evaluate whether the bag is really for me. I had a Launer bag, which I LOVED the look of, and it was such nice quality, but it was not suited for me to use, just not the right shape or size, and I sold it after the Queen died since I knew everyone was looking for Launer bags at that time. It was pre-1981. I bought the Gucci 1947 bamboo handle with the proceeds, and I’ve used that bag quite a bit already.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? To some degree. I watch YouTube videos about bags and have been influenced by them. At the beginning of the pandemic, I made a couple of purchases I’m not proud of. For example, I didn’t list the above Speedy 25 Damier Azur I bought during the pandemic and have never even taken off the tags. It’s going to be sold; I just haven’t decided where/how to sell it; I know the prices keep going up for LV, and even though I think the bag is beautiful, I’m not that into bags that are too obvious, and that one is just too obvious for me. It took me a while to learn that. So now, I still watch videos and admire some of the bags, but I”m smarter about what I really will use and feel comfortable carrying around.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not financial. But they are an investment in me 🙂

Who influences your buying decisions? Now it’s my own taste for simple bags without too much logo or craziness. I do like a little flashiness in the style, like my Antigona in Pony, which I think is spectacular, and the Prada Cahier; it’s so over the top with the hardware. But mostly I like an elegant bag in a beautiful leather.

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Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really for bags.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? It’s fun to look at pretty things and talk about them with the SAs, even if I’m not buying that day. I might not be the best shopper. I do definitely check out bags that I think I might buy online later – for example, I went to Gucci to look at the new bamboo handle bag before finalizing the purchase of the vintage one; I wanted to make sure it would hold my stuff.

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 so. At my age, some people are beginning to talk to me like I’m an old lady, even though I still feel like I’m 18 inside. Not when I’m shopping, though. I think most SAs know that at my age, I’m at the height of my income, and I am not as price-conscious as I was when I was younger.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not exactly. I don’t buy them on credit; I make sure I have the cash first. I have a certain amount of disposable income after my regular budget items are paid.

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The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I’ve never seen one that tempted me.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I used to, but lately, I’ve been open about it. I told him how much I paid for the Drag bag ($1,800 vintage), and he didn’t faint, even though he buys his jeans at Tractor Supply and still carries the wallet he bought in Italy in 1995. He gets me.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Worked hard 🙂

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I don’t think so; I don’t let my things spill over outside my walk-in closet. If it’s full, I have enough. I do love looking at my closet and my bags. I worry that it’s a bit frivolous, but nice things do give me pleasure. My spreadsheet keeps me in line, ticking off what I wear every day and what shoes and bags I use. I have less than 250 items, bags, shoes, and jewelry included, which I don’t think is excessive. I stick to a color palette, and if at this time of year I haven’t worn something yet, like my converse sneakers and Brighton straw bag, neither of which saw any use this year, I either find a way to wear them or get rid of them. I imagine that bag will be going to the donation bin soon.

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The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I’ve really gotten into niche and luxury fragrances this year. No one will be shocked to hear I have a spreadsheet for that, too. I have room for 35 bottles of fragrance, and I’ve been good about refining the keepers. The others are given away. that’s one advantage of working from home, I can cover myself in a cloud of perfume twice a day, and no one cares.

Anything else you would like to include? Having beautiful things like my bags is a privilege. Even if I couldn’t afford them, I’d still like looking at them; I remember being in my 30s and thinking I’d never be able to own a Kelly bag or even be able to put myself on a waiting list, which was how you bought them back then. A beautifully made bag or shoe, or piece of china is a joy to behold. I worked hard and had a little good luck. Owning things is nice, but ultimately it’s people first, then financial security, then things.

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