Closet Confessionals

CC 179: The Sentimentalist

"There are a lot of memories for me that I can connect to specific bags in that time of my life"

In today’s brand-new CC, we meet a collector who has loved bags for over a decade and whose collecting journey has seen many ups and downs. CC 179 began collecting bags in her early 20s, and that first purchase was a Marc Jacobs bag…those were the days! Since then, this collector has explored many different aesthetics, falling in love with the gothness of Alexander McQueen as a young adult and then the BoHo-y Chloé-Girl vibe as an adult.

CC 179 has collected a nice variety of bags from Chloé and Givenchy to Coach and Gucci, her collection is diverse, but each piece holds sentimental value. That being said, for CC 179, shopping is all about the experience and the memories, but this collector prefers online shopping. Like many of us, CC 179 has often struggled with overspending and states that online shopping has helped her to think purchases through and shop more mindfully.

Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!


The Basics

Age: 37
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Louisville, KY
Occupation: Counselor
Industry: Sex Therapy
Salary: $67,000
Household Income: $67,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? At least 25.

What bags are in your collection?

CC 179 Photos

How much is your collection worth? No functional idea!

What is your most expensive bag? The Gucci Hysteria.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I was a teen obsessed with Alexander McQueen’s dark aesthetic and designs, which showed me I really could marry my love of all things goth and luxe. As an adult, Chloé came to really symbolize modern yet timeless femininity to me and effortless, cool girl chic.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 23, and got myself a Marc by Marc Jacobs hot pink leather Natasha Q. That bag saw me through so many bad dates! Perfect weight, perfect hang, perfect size, it was such a good, solid city bag, and the color always made me feel edgy but feminine.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I’m kind of circling vintage Fendi baguettes right now, but it hasn’t blown over into a proper obsession yet. My husband would probably want me to add a Dior Gaucho, he really likes that bag for some reason!

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I have a Rebecca Minkoff tri-zip Jealous bag I brought with me the first time I ever met my husband in person, so I’m incredibly sentimental about it. The Alexander McQueen is a final gift from my grandmother, who passed last year. And I have a little pink Coach mini Dempsey bag, given to me for Valentine’s Day two years ago, that I had with me when doctors told me I was breast cancer free. There are a lot of memories for me that I can connect to specific bags in that time of my life, whatever it was.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes, absolutely. I get compliments on them all the time, and people seem to really warm up to me when you’re seen as someone with good taste or a good eye for fashion. They can start conversations, command respect, and even set or change moods depending on what you’re carrying. For me, my bags are definite statement pieces, the exclamation mark to whatever I’m wearing. I have power pieces, which are things I wear to feel in control and strong during meetings or appointments; and I have what I call fluff pieces, things that are just cute, current and meant to catch the eye.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Yes! I used to be so into larger bags, but the very early days of COVID trying to run for your life in packed, panicked grocery stores and get away from large groups of people as quickly as possible convinced me that I needed something more wieldy and easy to root through while out and about. The panic eventually faded, but my love for a quick and to-the-point crossbody or midsized shoulder bag has not.

See by Chloe Hanna

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? It really depends on how the mood strikes me. I had a month last year where I bought a bag every week; there have been times I could go months without a new purchase.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I did remote work long before the pandemic and was fortunate enough to be able to continue that all during lockdown, so nothing about my finances really changed, and there really was no reason to change the way I shopped. My love for luxury never dulled, but I do think I became a little less attached to my collection—when you’re surrounded by stories of people being evicted or without income, you start to wonder what you would do in that situation and lines you previously drew start to become faint when it comes to survival. The thought of selling pieces hurts less than it did before.

Which stores do you frequent the most? When I’m window shopping, I end up checking out Chloé, Marc Jacobs, and Coach quite a bit. I love contemporary American designers like Marc Jacobs, Rebecca Minkoff, Michael Kors, and Coach.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I love secondhand bags; after I had my son and he put a pop tart in my poor Natasha Q (“for lunch, mama!”) it became clear that if you work your bags hard anyway, you shouldn’t be afraid to purchase something that looks less than perfect. I collect for my own personal joy, not resale necessarily, so it works out.

Vintage is a good way to get your hands on older bags you loved but couldn’t afford before or a good way to dip your toe into prestige brands without breaking the bank; most of my bags are vintage pre-loved finds. I buy from Fashionphile or Net-A-Porter if it’s a prestige brand, but I’ve also scored some great contemporary finds on Poshmark.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I’ve done this once or twice, but generally, if I bother to get a bag, it’s one I want to keep badly. I would only sell for a Holy Grail purchase.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. I don’t buy according to trends, so I never feel like I’m missing out or like people expect me to be hip and current constantly.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Some of them, yes. Most, however are just personal favorites.

Who influences your buying decisions? Myself. If I love it, will use it, and it makes sound financial sense, then I’ll buy it.

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

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I love the possibilities that I can see in so many items when I’m shopping—the interactions you can have, the memories you can make, the feelings you can create. It feels a little intoxicating to walk into a store and know that something amazing could be waiting for you inside. And that, everyone, is why I consider myself a shopping addict in perpetual recovery.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Yes, but not often, thankfully. I think you just learn to ignore it, but I haven’t had anything particularly dramatic or upsetting happen.

Gucci Hysteria Hobo

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Family has gifted them, my husband has bought quite a few, but mostly I get them for myself. It’s my little hobby, and I don’t expect others to indulge me.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, it’s more of a right time/right place kind of thing. I feel like if I set aside money specifically for bags, I’d just blow through it.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Yes, and I likely will in the future. As much as I love my authenticated handbags, I’m not crazy enough to put myself in debt just to achieve my very lofty style goals. I cherish the moments I’ve been able to score legit finds, but I’m not afraid to buy a dupe if the price point of the real thing is just out of my comfort zone.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No. I love showing him my acquisitions, and he enjoys that I love nice things. I wouldn’t need to hide things even if I had the urge to, which I don’t because I don’t think he’s ever actually seen the extent of my closet anyway, he has no idea what I’ve got. He stopped counting a long time ago!

When I get the urge to hide a purchase or start to worry about what others might think about the volume of my purchases lately, that’s a good sign to slow down.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? You know, I actually don’t have any crazy stories about that. I think I might have borrowed some money from my mother for a Coach unicorn tote when I was a little younger and had just blown my savings on a move.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I have had a definite lifelong shopping addiction. I was spending rent money to buy clothes in my early 20s! Very irresponsible. Motherhood and adversity forced me to start really reevaluating how and what I buy; age and becoming more self-aware/comfortable with who I am as a person helped me grow into more responsible and sustainable buying habits.

I like to keep my savings above a certain threshold now, and I love online shopping because it gives me time to really contemplate my purchase before I make it, versus being in a line at a store having to make an emotional decision in minutes. Getting older has taught me that everything I enjoy the look of won’t necessarily look good on me or feel comfortable on me, so I’m much more discerning now and willing to walk away, because I know I’ll regret the purchase. And there were so many things that I loved the look of and even looked good in, but just realistically had nowhere to wear it. I had to learn to shop for the life I have, not for the hypothetical or the ‘what if’ scenario.


The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I collect Funko figures! Go figure, right?

Anything else you would like to include? Do (and buy) what makes YOU happy, and don’t let anything stand in your way that doesn’t deserve to be there.

Chloe Hayley


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