In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a handbag lover in her late 40s who has been a vegetarian for 25+ years. Because of this, her collection is comprised mostly of fabric or leather bags, and CC 171 has a soft spot in her heart for Louis Vuitton. While she’s come to accept that LV bags do have leather trim, she also favors Prada Nylon bags and states that her Prada SA is an integral part of her collecting journey.
While CC 171 has a lovely collection of handbags, she’s been on quite the journey since she first began loving and collecting bags in her 20s. After her divorce, she started fresh, though she states that there are some regrets over pieces that she sold, particularly original Prada Nylon Pieces. CC 171 also favors designer shoes and does admit that while shopping at times feels like a form of therapy, her divorce and subsequent home sale made her realize how much excess stuff she owned that she didn’t need.
Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Southern CA
Occupation: Office Manager
Household Income: $300,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 14
What bags are in your collection?
How much is your collection worth? I have no idea. I haven’t taken the time to research that.
What is your most expensive bag? Maybe the Louis Vuitton Monogram Utility Crossbody?
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I love my Prada Re-Nylon crossbody and my LV Odeon MM. I use these bags the most. I also have the Louis Vuitton Clear Ambre tote that I absolutely adore, but I haven’t used it yet. My other favorite is my Louis Vuitton Baggy in kaki.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My first designer bag would probably be a Kate Spade in my early to mid 20s. I loved the sleek, smooth nylon of the Kate Spade bags. My generation growing up wasn’t too into designer bags. My first high-end designer bag was a gift from my ex-husband…the Louis Vuitton Clear Ambre. I loved it, but I made him return it because I didn’t feel like we could afford it at the point in our lives. That was one of my biggest regrets, I think I pined for that bag for 20+ years and I finally broke down and bought it on Fashionphile a few years ago.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I would love to get another Prada Re-Nylon, but I am waiting for more styles to be released. There isn’t one out right now that has caught my attention. As I have gotten older, I have decided that I really have to LOVE a bag to purchase it. I have kind of switched my love of designer bags to designer shoes. We just had to install more shelves in our closet because of my growing shoe collection. But, if I had to pick one, it would have to be the Re-Nylon Prada Re-Edition 2000 mini-bag.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Not really. I actually sold about 90% of my bags when I was going through my divorce, mostly because I didn’t want the memory of my bags associated with my ex (and why he bought them for me). I needed to start to fresh. Though as I stated before, I always had this undying love for the Louis Vuitton Clear Ambre.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Definitely. But, it is not something I agree with. I think when you walk into designer stores or boutiques and you are carrying a designer bag, you are helped a little quicker. It is not right, but that is just how that industry is. I don’t normally dress up when I shop because I am all about being comfortable.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? My habits have changed, but not because of COVID. I have been a vegetarian for 25+ years and I have always tried to limit my collection to nylon and canvas bags. I only have one leather bag and I never use it, but I do really like the style of it. I have never liked how leather feels. I have come to accept that the Louis Vuitton canvas bags have leather on them (i.e. straps), but I love the new style of LV’s that have the fabric strap now as an option.
How often do you buy new bags? I buy one to three bags a year.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Not really. My husband and I were fortunate enough to continue working during the pandemic, so our lifestyle didn’t change.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Nordstrom, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue (only through an Instagram stylist) and I love Anthropologie.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have bought two bags from a second-hand bag store (Fashionphile). My Gucci small tote and the Louis Vuitton Clear Ambre. I COMPLETELY trust Fashionphile. Fashionphile is where I sold my previous handbag collection and a large chunk of my jewelry. I sent them a Tiffany solitaire necklace that I thought was silver and they contacted me to let me know that it was platinum. The honesty in the employees blew me away, because they could have easily paid me out for a silver necklace. If there was a bag I really wanted and I waited too long to purchase it, I would buy it from Fashionphile. But, I read the bag conditions meticulously, especially the smell portion.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No. But, as I mentioned before, I did sell my a majority of my bags to start fresh. I honestly, regret selling all my Prada original nylon bags.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not at all. I purchase bags because I love them or I have worn out a bag.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not really. I choose not to purchase the bags that I would consider to be “investments” (i.e. Chanel & Hermès) because they are mostly leather. While they are beautiful bags, I just don’t want to carry them. Louis Vuitton canvas has changed in the last ten years. I think the canvas tends to rip easier than it did in the past.
Who influences your buying decisions? I think my tastes have stayed fairly consistent through the years. Social Media doesn’t really influence my purchases. I follow a lot of NFL wives on Instagram and it helps me stay in the loop with whats new. But, I have accepted the fact that I cannot afford everything I want and be happy with what we can afford. I blame this on my OCD, but I always want my bag and my wallet/cosmetic pouch to match. I won’t buy a new brand of bag unless I can purchase the accessories to match.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Prada Phoebe…as she is listed in my phone. If I see a purse online, I text her and she will bring it into the store for me. I personally don’t like purchasing a bag without putting my wallet, keys, sunglasses, etc. to see how they fit. Since Prada Phoebe is willing to do bring in the bags, it allows me not to have to purchase and then return if I don’t like it.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Unfortunately, I have always used shopping as therapy. There is nothing like coming home to a package on the porch!
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I think I am not helped in higher-end clothing boutiques because of my plus-size body. I am on the fence of regular sizes and plus size, but I know which stores I can fit into the clothes and which I cannot. I don’t usually go into stores that I know I cannot fit into their products. I always tease my husband that it would be over if I was a ever a lower size.
Who pays for your bags? Myself and my husband.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No. My husband will usually purchase a bag for me for the holidays or my birthday.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I don’t believe you should purchase counterfeit. Purchase something that you can afford. I read an article once that said, the more people that purchased counterfeit bags, the higher designer prices would go up.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, I am upfront with my husband with all of my purchases. He may not like it, but he knows about them.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Other than putting a bag purchase on a credit card…nothing crazy.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I think because of my divorce and selling the home I owned with my ex-husband made me realize how much “stuff” I had that I didn’t need.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Designer shoes…Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Golden Goose, Balenciaga (before the child advertisements). My son recently turned me into a sneakerhead. I am always trying to get Nike Dunks in the SNKRS app drops.
Anything else you would like to include? Make sure you love the purses you buy. I have a few in my collection that I have never used (besides the LV Clear Ambre), and I regret purchasing them. Anyone interested in an LV Neonoe? 🙂
I have given away some of my LV bags to my co-workers who have always wanted an LV. I wasn’t using the bags anymore and I had not plans to use them in the future. It was a better decision to give them away instead of sell them.
*My photos aren’t the greatest…I don’t usually photograph my bags unless I am selling them.