Closet Confessionals

CC 180: The One Bag a Year Collector

"I leave a certain amount to cover luxury, traveling and any big expenditure."

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a Doctor hailing from Ireland with a lovely collection of bags and an even lovelier attitude toward collecting them. This collector began her journey of collecting bags when she was in high school and further developed her love for bags in college. While studying, she states that help from her parents for education, living expenses, and an allowance allowed her to budget in order to buy bags. When CC 180 began working, she was able to start purchasing her own items, which is why her Dior Diorama is incredibly sentimental to her, as it was the first bag she bought with her own money.

This collector is an incredibly smart shopper, and she sets aside a budget for any fun purchases, including bags. In her dream world, CC 180 hopes to add some special Hermès pieces to her collection but currently has her (more realistic) sights set on something from Saint Laurent. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 23
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Ireland
Occupation: Doctor
Industry: Healthcare
Salary: $70,000
Household Income: $70,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member?Yes

How many bags do you own? 9

What bags are in your collection?

Ladies in Black

How much is your collection worth? Approximately €19,000.

What is your most expensive bag? The Chanel Coco Handle.

I believe this bag was €3,690 in 2019, when I first had my eyes on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much luck in purchasing it from Brown Thomas, Dublin. It took me two and a half years before I got one while on vacation in Turkey. It cost me €5,200 after all the price increases in between, but that was my one Chanel purchase done and dusted.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? This is a very difficult question; I love all my bags. The Celine luggage was a birthday/graduation gift. With the Diorama, I went from the disappointment of finding out that it was discontinued to purchasing it from the Dior outlet at Bicester Village. My LV Brea has accompanied me to work on most days and has traveled with me on most journeys. I really cannot fault that bag. The YSL Sunset was a gift to myself after I passed my membership exams. The LPJ Lolita is quirky and fun. I imagine that Lego on bags isn’t for everyone, but I like it. The Belt bag is different as well, and I like the style. I managed to get a hold of the Antigona in the exact colour I wanted.

Unfortunately, this bag does not do well in the rain, and the first day I carried it out in lovely Ireland, it rained. I don’t regret the purchase despite the rain marks. Last, but definitely not the least, my D&G sicily, which I think is my go-to everyday, non-work bag. That is something about each of my bags and why they are all important in their own way.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I got my first Michael Kors bag when I was 16. But from the bags I listed earlier, I was gifted the Celine Luggage by my parents after my 18th birthday and high school graduation. I originally wanted the Luggage, drummed calfskin, in black and white. I did not know much about designer stores. When we walked in, I saw the mini luggage, smooth calfskin, in ink. I had no idea that they kept more stock outside of the displayed bags. I also didn’t want to ask many questions and delay, in case my parents changed their minds. So, I asked the SA for what I thought was the only mini luggage in the store. I still have the bag, and it was my standard travel bag before the LV Brea.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I have a longstanding wishlist that I’m slowly ticking off. The 2 bags left are a Saint Laurent Sac de Jour, grained leather, in the colour storm and the Celine Medium Classic Bag in camel. Presently, I have purchase-limiting issues with both bags. The Sac de Jour doesn’t appeal to me in the supple leather, and I struggle with the fact that it’s just a snap button closure. With Celine, I am avoiding the box calfskin leather. I think I want a brown bag this year, so I most likely get something outside the wishlist – Mulberry Small Amberly Satchel in oak. In my dreamland, where I travel around Europe and get offered bags at Hermès, I would like a B30 in vert anglais and a K28 in rouge grenat.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? The Diorama – I actively stalked this bag after it was discontinued. I almost caved and bought it from a resale site. Being able to get it from Dior at Bicester Village via the virtual shopping option during the pandemic was the most amazing thing ever. Also, I got it for £1690. And lastly, it was the first bag that I bought with money that I had earned. Up until I started working, my parents had paid for everything (Bless them, I’m grateful). The satisfaction from treating myself with my own money is definitely different.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I don’t think it changes how I am treated. I think it does change people’s perceptions though. My friends or colleagues often make remarks about my bags and shoes. Some people maybe form opinions based on how they see or what they associate with people that wear luxury items. I always insist that most people spend their money on different hobbies, passions, items etc. Mine happens to be bags and shoes, and that’s okay.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? I don’t think so. I continued working throughout Covid, so my routine did not change much. Sure, there were less opportunities to meet with friends and colleagues outside work, but it didn’t affect me significantly. For example, I would have still used my rotation of the Brea, Belt or Antigona to work, and for grocery runs, I would’ve taken the Lolita, Sicily, or Diorama during the pandemic. And that would be consistent with my pre-Covid habits.

CC 180 3

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Since I started working in 2019, I buy a bag a year. In full disclosure, I bought two bags last year – the Sunset and Coco Handle. I had already bought my bag for the year in April. Then I went on a trip and found the Coco Handle. I bought it because I had wanted it for so long, and with the Chanel Price increases, I knew it would only be more expensive if I deferred the purchase for a year.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? During the pandemic, I did not travel at all. It was mostly a work-home-repeat cycle. I remember working a 9-month stretch without taking any annual leave ( I had study and exam leaves). Coming out of the pandemic, I want to spend more on travel and experiences. I have started a yearly holiday with my sister and will probably aim to travel home at least once a year. I put aside about half of my monthly salary into savings and investments. I won’t change my saving habit – I’m still putting away the same amount monthly. Now, I’ve just decided to dedicate a portion of that money I put aside to traveling.

Which stores do you frequent the most? It’s Brown Thomas. Whenever I’m in Dublin, I probably go there. In general, though, I am an online shopping kind of person. I think most, if not all, of my shoes were bought online. With bags, I do prefer to purchase them in person.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I don’t have any second-hand bags. And if I’m ever searching for an item on a resale site, I always prefer it to be brand new. I tend to have a look on Vestiaire, when I’m stalking an item that’s difficult to get in store.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I have never sold any of my bags. I have a couple of Michael Kors and DKNY bags that I will probably give away, the next time I go home. I don’t know if I’d ever sell any of the bags that I have now.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No, not at all. I only have a Facebook account that I don’t really use. If there was something trending or being pushed by influencers, I probably wouldn’t know. I think the Antigona and Luggage were quite popular when I first became aware of them. But I didn’t buy them for the hype, I bought them because I liked them. There have been more trends since those bags that didn’t appeal to me, and I didn’t buy into them.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No, not in the true sense of the word. I wouldn’t classify any of the bags that I own as investment pieces. They are items that I get a lot of use from, and owning them gives me some satisfaction – that’s it really.

Who influences your buying decisions? I’m not sure. I come across bags in person or online. If I like a bag, I will keep it in mind for a while. I’ll go on YouTube to try and see as much as I can and gather as much pros and cons as I can. I think the fact that it’s just one bag a year gives me time to mull over my options.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really. I buy bags from different brands, and I don’t think I buy them often enough to establish a relationship with Sales Associates. But I will say the associates at Saint Laurent and Celine in Brown Thomas are extremely nice. Whenever I stop by to look at the Sac de Jour or Classic, they’re always very welcoming and helpful. One of these days, I’m convinced I’ll meet one so nice that I’d forget about my dilemma with the supple leather, snap closure, and box calfskin and buy either one of those bags.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Some of it is cathartic, definitely. Retail therapy is a thing. My 2nd Michael Kors bag was a “frustration purchase” after a non-productive day trying to buy Christmas presents for the family. It’s not necessarily a luxury purchase or a frequent occurrence, but I can purchase an item unnecessarily if I’m upset. Other than that, I buy things that I find aesthetically pleasing.

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. We travelled a bit growing up, and as a black family, I genuinely can’t say that we were ever treated poorly at any store. That’s my experience, anyway.

CC 180 1

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Since I started working, it’s just me. But up until I graduated, it was directly or indirectly my parents. Directly being that they purchased the bag for me as a gift (my Celine Luggage). Indirectly meaning that they paid my school fees, rent, and bills and provided me an allowance while I attended university. I didn’t spend much on my living expenses, so I saved up most of my allowance and would buy a luxury item or two each semester.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not necessarily a budget. As I mentioned previously, I save roughly half of my monthly salary. The bulk of that goes into a savings account or some investment. I leave a certain amount to cover luxury, traveling and any big expenditure.

CC 180 Green

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No, I haven’t. If I can’t afford an item, I don’t feel the need to get a counterfeit item.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? There is no significant other. But if I had a partner, I wouldn’t hide purchases from them.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I have no crazy stories, unfortunately.

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 I’ve struggled with a shopping addiction. I know I mentioned retail therapy earlier, but I can still be fairly rational in the midst of that as well. I know I have returned an “angry purchase” on multiple occasions, especially when it’s a more expensive item. I think one bag a year is reasonable, and the Chanel last year was 100% an exception.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? My shoes! They are mostly quirky and out there, but my heart wants them all. Also, I have recently started looking into fine jewelry and I have bought a few items.

CC 180 Shoes

Anything else you would like to include? Thank you for reading! A random, spur-of-the-moment decision to share, after a long week. Many years from now, when I’m in a much different space in life, I’d love to look back on this and see how my collection evolves.

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Biogirl
Biogirl
1 year ago

Those shoes! Simply stunning! (And I’m really not a shoe person.)

Terri
Terri
1 year ago

Love love the shoes!

SlurmLoco
SlurmLoco
1 year ago

Lovely and well rounded collection. And your shoes are brilliant. I’d love to see how you style these gorgeous shoes and bags.

J B
J B
1 year ago

Nice collection! Just the right size. Thanks for sharing

Lorelei
Lorelei
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing! I’d love to see your Instagram and how you implement them with your daily fashion style outside of work! I love the green tones of your Celine and Dior bags. I never think to buy anything other than the obvious colors for handbags, but that green is so lovely!

Catherine
Catherine
1 year ago

All the bags are great, well thought out. As for the shoes, they’re absolutely bonkers- I mean that in the kindest possible way!

kaly
kaly
1 year ago

Lovely collection!