In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a stay-at-home mom in her early 40s who recently dipped her toe into the luxury designer bag pond. However, she has been collecting bags for decades and owns over 100 contemporary bags dating back to the 80s. At 32, she purchased her first Coach bag, and it’s that very first Coach Legacy Duffle that holds sentimental value as it was the first nice bag she purchased. CC 185 states that her bags are very important to her, and she doesn’t like selling them, but she will give them away if she’s not using them.
Being that she’s a homemaker and a stay-at-home mom, this collector is able to budget for bags thanks to her husband, who fully supports her bag love. Since purchasing her first luxury bag — the Louis Vuitton Diane, at 41, she finally snagged her Holy Grail, the LV Multicolore Lodge PM, after dreaming about it for 20 years! CC 185 has worked hard to get her shopping habits under control and work on her addiction to shopping. Read the full, candid CC below, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Your Age? 42
Your Gender Identity? Female
Where do you live? Waukesha, WI
What is your occupation? Homemaker
What industry do you work in? N/A
Your annual salary? $0
Total Household Income? $90,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
Onto The Bags
How many bags do you own? 100+
What bags are in your collection?
- LV- Diane, Epi Petit Noe, Murakami Lodge PM, Looping MM, Chantilly MM
- Coach- vintage City Bag white, Rogue 25 Tea Rose in black/burgundy, violet legacy duffle, mint Legacy Duffle, silver holographic mini Bennett & wristlet, and several others I can’t remember
- Dooney & Bourke– vintage 1981 white Crescent, vintage 90s midnight blue Essex, vintage black/yellow Cabrio, taupe pebble grain drawstring, DB75 multicolor drawstring, DB75 multi Lexi, brown 1975 Signature Collins, black 1975 Signature satchel, more that I also can’t remember right now
- Around 10 Michael Kors, including the white/neon Manhattan satchel
- 4-5 Rebecca Minkoffs
- Around 10 Patricia Nashes, looooove her leathers
- About a dozen vintage 80s bags like Liz Claiborne and no-name leather bags
Sooooo many others that I can’t name at the moment. Too many!
How much is your collection worth? Probably $100,000
What is your most expensive bag? LV Diane at $2,600
Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? I can’t name any specific ones I regret, but I do get buyer’s remorse sometimes if I was only shopping b/c I was bored or depressed. I usually only buy things I love though, so even if I feel bad for spending money I don’t feel TOO bad b/c I still love what I brought home.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? If you count contemporary designers, I got my first Coach (the mint at 32. High-end designers- I bought my first LV (the Diane) at 41.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I DESPERATELY want the LVxYK Boulogne but won’t be able to afford it for a while.
Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own? I Already have it- my LV Multicolore Lodge PM. I dreamed about that bag for nearly 20 years and finally found an affordable one this year!
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Probably the mint Coach legacy duffle. It was my first “nice” bag, and I bought it with my mom. I’m also very attached to one of my vintage 80s bags, a little white leather one and I can’t quite explain why. I just love it so much, and I’d be devastated if anything ever happened to it.
To be honest they all hold some amount of sentimental value, I am autistic, and I personify inanimate objects, so all my bags have their own personalities. They’re my girls, and I love them all. Makes it hard to ever get rid of any of them; even if I haven’t worn them for years it’s really hard to let them go.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Definitely. I’m a very down-to-earth person, I grew up on farms and regularly visit my in-laws’ farm where I get down in the dirt taking care of all kinds of animals, but I also carry fancy expensive bags. I am not “sophisticated” or elitist in any way, but lots of people assume I am because of my bags. I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me. I don’t follow fashion trends or try to impress anyone. I just buy what I like. If someone makes assumptions based on my bag, that’s on them!
How do you take care of your bags? Confession time- I didn’t use to! I used to just toss them in my closet, and I actually ruined a few with improper storage. Some got crushed, and I had to stuff them for months to get them to regain their shape, and I had an olive green leather bag that bled dye onto a white bag b/c I stored them next to each other. OOPS. Learned my lesson, though, and now I try to keep them in dustbags. If I don’t have enough dustbags, I at least try to store the same colors together.
How often do you buy new bags? Too often! I bought 3 in the past week, but my excuse is that I was on vacation. Normally I average at least one contemporary bag per month, but only one or two high-end designer bags per year and only if we can afford it.
Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? In-store. I HATE online shopping. I hate waiting on shipping and taking the chance on lost/stolen packages. I really need to handle a bag in person before I know if I really like it too. I usually only shop online if I literally can’t find what I want anywhere else.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Dillard’s, Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Coach Outlet, Goodwill (don’t laugh, I’ve found some treasures!), Uptown Cheapskate, secondhand stores of all kinds, LV boutique on rare occasions.
Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? Why did you make that decision? Many times. I returned a Patricia Nash tote a couple months ago b/c while I loved the color, I’m just not a tote bag gal. Another time I returned a different bag b/c it was vegan leather and just wasn’t worth the cost for something that won’t last very long.
My criteria for returning a bag is: It was an impulse purchase, and I just don’t love it as much as I did in the store once I get it home. It’s not really worth the price for what it is. If it just doesn’t fit with my lifestyle.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? All the time, I actually prefer secondhand. 4/5 of my LV bags are secondhand vintage from Japanese eBay sellers. I only feel comfortable buying high-end designer bags from Japan due to their incredibly strict counterfeit laws, so the chances of getting a fake from Japan are much lower than at other resale sites. All my vintage Dooneys and Coaches are secondhand via eBay, Etsy, or local consignment/thrift stores.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Occasionally. As hard as it is for me to part with my bags if I haven’t used it in a long time (and it’s not a collector’s piece) or if there’s something about it that annoys me (fiddly strap, complicated closures, just too big or too small, etc.), I force myself to sell it on eBay or consign it. I REALLY hate selling bags, though. There are far too many people out there who are willing to scam you over a $50 item. For this reason, I doubt I will ever sell any of my LVs.
Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? I don’t donate them too often, but I do gift them to my mom quite often. My uncle has a lot of female coworkers, too, so any time my mom or I don’t want a bag anymore, we send them to work with him, and those ladies snap them up. I would rather gift them and make someone’s day than go through the hassle of selling them.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not really. I already have a ton, and I’m VERY hard to influence; I pretty much strictly only buy what *I* like.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Some of them, mostly my LVs and the Coach Rogue Tea Rose. I got the Coach at an absolute steal of a price, and they go for around $1,000 online now.
Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? Nope, classic styles are ALL the way. Vintage Coach and Dooney are my absolute faves; I will take those over a new style any day. If I genuinely like a trendy style, I’ll buy it, but buying something just BECAUSE it’s trendy? Never. I’m not very impressionable at all.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really. I have a very nice SA at LV in Dallas, but I normally just walk into stores and buy stuff. lol
Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? I do. It’s fun to get out and just look at stuff. If I find something, then great, but if not then I still had fun browsing. I do have a mild shopping addiction; aside from autism, I have also suffered from occasional depression since childhood, so sometimes an external dopamine hit really helps.
In the past few years though, I have become hyper-aware of my spending habits and the impact of our “stuff” on the environment, so now I frequent thrift shops whenever I feel like aimlessly shopping.
Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Absolutely. Every time I have purchased a new car, I’ve been treated like an idiot b/c I’m a woman. In my younger years, I would bring my dad with me to dealerships, and the salesmen would speak only to him while ignoring me, even though *I* was the one buying the car. I have had multiple race cars, I drive a standard and can explain in detail how an engine works but the assumption that females know nothing about cars is very much alive and well.
It’s pretty infuriating. The same thing happens when I’m having my car serviced; I have to decline so many unnecessary services. I have a permanent air filter, and I’ve had the oil change guys try the fake dirty air filter grift many times.
I was also followed around in an Ulta once because I guess the manager thought I was going to steal due to my race. I’m part Roma, and I look like it. When I have a tan, I can pass very easily for Hispanic or Indian as well, and I was very tanned at the time that happened, so I have zero doubt that the manager was just being racist. People suck.
In boutiques, I have always been treated fairly. I haven’t been to that many boutiques, granted, but I’ve never had a bad experience.
What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? Price & availability.
Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? Hermès and Chanel.
Hermès is obscenely overpriced, and I don’t appreciate brands being so high on their own toots that they force customers to play stupid games to prove that their money is good enough to take. If I can’t walk in and purchase a bag without buying a bunch of other stuff I don’t want or ‘impressing’ an SA, then I have no desire to spend any of my money there.
I’ve just never been interested in Chanel, and now that they’re experiencing quality issues I’m even less interested. Just don’t care for the designs.
On Budgeting & Perceptions
Who pays for your bags? My husband. I’m a housewife/SAHM, and he makes the money, but he fully supports my bag love. He actually gets excited when I bring home a new find; it’s adorable. His ex put him through the wringer- cheating, abuse, addiction- so he loves that all I do is buy purses. I manage our finances, and he says as long as the bills are paid and he can buy a new video game every few months, he could not care less how many bags I buy 😀
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes. I am currently trying to save for a new LV, but I always set aside enough extra that I can buy a Coach or Dooney on the side if I happen to fall in love with one.
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? In the past, yes. I wouldn’t anymore, not knowingly, anyway.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Nope. Hiding purchases from your partner is financial infidelity, and we are 100% open and honest about everything. He never gives me grief about my purchases, and I do my part by running big purchases by him first.
Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? All the time. My mom always has something to say, even though she benefits from my habit.
Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? In my younger years, I would sometimes overspend if I found a bag I really loved. There were a few times when I’d drop $150 on a Coach, then have to eat ramen till payday. That hasn’t happened for many years though; I’m adulting now, and if I can’t comfortably afford something, I won’t buy it.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yes, many times. It was REALLY bad in my 30s; I would regularly blow whole paychecks on non-essentials and then have to struggle till payday. I know I still have the addiction, but I mitigate it by going to thrift shops instead whenever I get the urge now. I also set hard limits when I go shopping, like absolutely no spending more than 10% of what we have in the bank.
Let’s get personal…
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Electronics. I LOVE my Apple stuff, I love getting the new iPhone every year, and I also love sports cars. I also love doing leatherwork, and the supplies for that are surprisingly pricey.
I am happy to say that I am not a gambler, and I never drink or smoke, so all our money at least goes toward useful things!
What is your greatest fear? Losing my loved ones- my kids, husband, family, or pets. We just lost one of our kitties very suddenly, and it’s been agonizing.
Also, going blind.
Which living person do you most admire? This is a hard one. Probably Jimmy Carter.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My kids, of course, but also my husband. Our love wasn’t instant fireworks and butterflies but more of slowly learning to love and appreciate how good we were for each other. We can honestly say we are best friends.
What is your favorite journey you have taken so far? This is a hard one. Probably the journey of becoming the leader of my family after my dad died. He passed in 2013, and my mom was just lost afterward. I had to basically take his place and start taking care of all the things he used to do for her- manage accounts, help her with everything she couldn’t do for herself, etc. She’s now elderly, and we all live together, me, my husband, my kids, and my auntie too, and it’s my responsibility to hold everything together.
A lot of people would resent this or wish they could just have their own life without worrying about anyone else, but for some reason, I thrive in this role. It’s nice to be needed, but it’s even nicer to take care of my loved ones. I absolutely love helping people in general, and I didn’t used to think I was capable of being any sort of head of household, but here I am. It makes life feel richer and more meaningful.
Any parting words you would like to share with our readers? This is just a really nice forum, and I’m glad I found it. I go on Reddit a lot, too and it’s a cesspool of edge lords being rude and trying to stir up drama for no reason, but TPF is always pleasant and sane.