Closet Confessionals

CC 170: The Retired Personal Chef Who Started Her Collecting Journey at 50

"If you don't have the money or have to hide the purchase, making that purchase probably isn't worth it."

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a retiree who began collecting bags later in life. Over a 15-year period, CC 170 has acquired an amazing collection of bags worth over $100K. Her collection includes pieces from Louis Vuitton, Dior, YSL, Chanel, and more! Her collection is a unique curation of both vintage and new pieces, and she states that right now, she’s favoring Dior bags, both new and old!

Lately, this collector has found that she’s not very excited by new bags and believes her next bag buy will definitely be vintage. CC 170’s attitude towards bags is wonderful, and she truly believes in buying what you love, what you can afford, and carrying them unapologetically. Her most special piece is a rare Chanel Python bag, and trust us when we say it truly is a stunner!

Read the full CC and check out photos from CC 170’s collection below!

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The Basics

Age: 65
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Scottsdale AZ and Cincinnati, OH
Occupation: Retired Personal Chef
Industry: Culinary
Salary: $0.00
Household Income: $190,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 60+

What bags are in your collection?

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No Hermès – they’re just not my style, and I’ve never had the desire to own one.

How much is your collection worth? $100,000+

What is your most expensive bag? 2015-16 Chanel Black Lambskin Maxi w/GHW.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? The most important piece, at least to me, is a vintage multi-color python Chanel with, a small top handle. I’ve never seen one like it before, and everyone who sees it is stunned.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was a late bloomer and didn’t get my first designer bag until I was 50. It is a two-tone, pebbled calfskin hobo by Bicchi (a very small designer in Florence, Italy).

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Not really. I’m not impressed with much of the current designs, so my next bag will most likely be from my favorite designer consignment store. And, probably, it will be at least 8-10 years old.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I’m very sentimental about my Bicchi bag. We were in Florence, Italy, for my 50th birthday, and while I wanted a bag, I didn’t want one from the leather market. We found a little store with a shop in the back that produces a very small line of bags, and I fell in love with the hobo. It was my first bag, and we spent 160€ on it, which was a fortune for us at the time.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Probably not, but truthfully I really don’t care. My friends are either “bag ladies,” or they’re not. Regardless they all know I have a weakness for designer bags. And when we’re out in public or shopping, either someone knows the designer of my bag or not. If, by chance, I notice that I was being treated better than someone else without a designer bag, I’d call the sales associate on it.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Definitely. Before Covid I babied my bags, rarely used some, and got into the habit of using the same 5-6 bags all of the time. Now I change my bag every couple of days and carry almost everything anywhere. When we travel, I just make sure I have the dust bag so I can put my bag in it before I put it on the floor on the plane.

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The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? There’s definitely no set schedule, and I don’t follow the seasonal drops. Sometimes I’ll go a few months without buying a bag; other times, I’ll buy 3 at a time.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I didn’t purchase any bags during the pandemic lockdown because I want to see and feel the bag before I purchase it. There are only a couple of resellers that I trust enough that if they say the bag is “pristine” or “flawless,” that I believe them.

While I do not flaunt my collection either online or in person, I am not ashamed of it, nor will I not carry designer because others can’t afford one.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I have long-term sales associate relationships at Dior, YSL, Gucci, and my favorite designer consignment store. Those are my top stores. I do not purchase from chain stores – not because I am a snob but because I travel so much that I’m never too far from any designer store.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Definitely! I love vintage bags and have a select group of resellers that I trust implicitly.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? While I’ve sold bags, it’s because I’m tired of it, don’t carry it or it’s too small/large.

I do not sell to online stores like Poshmark, Fashionphile, or The Real Real. I sell to trusted brand resellers.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Absolutely.

Who influences your buying decisions? My husband is the only person who might influence a buying decision. He has excellent taste, and I trust his judgment 100%.

At my advanced age, I don’t follow influencers or celebrities. My closest bag lady friend and I trade thoughts about certain bags that one of us is thinking of purchasing.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Absolutely. I’m extremely close with my Dior SA. She sends photos of her family when they’re on vacation, I’ve taken her and her husband to dinner before, and we text just to talk.

My other very close SA is at YSL. Again we text just to talk, and trade photos, and jokes.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I don’t go shopping just to go shopping. My SAs will send photos of things I may like and if I want to shop, I’ll make an appointment.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Only once. Years ago, at a newly opened Louis Vuitton store I was treated very rudely by an SA. The store was new in the city and they were very busy when I arrived. She was abrupt and after I tried on a couple of bags she informed me that she didn’t have time to waste on looky-loos. So I left, ordered several pieces online, had them delivered to the store and made sure she knew that she didn’t get the commission.

I’ve matured since then. Now if I’m in a store where I don’t have a trusted SA and I believe someone is not giving the best service, I’ll ask for a different SA.

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The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No. I probably should, but I don’t have a budget. I don’t hurry to purchase something just because the prices are going up next week. I need to think about a bag, where it fits into my collection and wardrobe, and then make a decision if I want it or not.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Just once. I purchased a counterfeit, not because I couldn’t afford it but because I wasn’t sure that I wanted the actual bag. I eventually purchased the designer bag and gave the counterfeit away, making sure the recipient knew it was not authentic.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I wish I had a crazy story but I don’t.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No.

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The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? We travel. A lot. I’m gone at least 1 week every month.

We don’t care about expensive cars; we’ve lived in the same house for 30+ years; I don’t wear designer RTW, and other than a couple of very special pieces, big expensive jewelry doesn’t do anything for me.

Anything else you would like to include? My husband and I have worked very hard our entire lives, often times when we were younger, we weren’t sure if we could make the house payment. The last thing I thought about was designer bags. If you don’t have the money or have to hide the purchase, making that purchase probably isn’t worth it.

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Stacey
Stacey
1 year ago

PS- are you able to share resellers you trust most?

Toupee Fiasco
Toupee Fiasco
1 year ago

I..I LOVE HER. Teach us your ways, Most Excellent Lady!

TLC
TLC
1 year ago

One of my favorite CCs of all time. Thanks for sharing your refreshing perspective and beautiful collection with us!

Stacey
Stacey
1 year ago

Such a fun read full of valuable advice. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

J B
J B
1 year ago

Great collection and very good advice.

Gayle
Gayle
1 year ago

I so want to have my lv bag painted on too! But i have a damier azure tote not sure if it can take a print real well than the classic monogram canvas does

Slim
Slim
1 year ago

Love the collection!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
1 year ago

Very nice!

Emmy
Emmy
1 year ago

What a refreshing, down to earth CC. It seems she has struck a good combination of collecting bags that she loves while still valuing her life of hard work. As someone who works hard for my money, isn’t afraid to buy consignment and who tries to keep perspective on my OWN fine handbag hobby, I appreciate her confessional very much!

susmita gupta
susmita gupta
1 year ago

The best one

Amanda R
Amanda R
1 year ago

I love her so much!! Oh, to be a fly on the wall when she picked up her LV haul in front of that rude SA.