Closet Confessionals

CC 194: The Expat

"At the end of the day, I love them, they bring joy to my life, I can afford them, I will continue with collecting but will always try to maintain a reasonable pace"

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we’re chatting with a bag lover from Singapore by way of Australia. This collector has loved bags for as long as she can remember, stating that the joy they bring her truly adds value to her life. Despite sometimes hiding purchases from her husband (it’s what works for them) and taking time to ponder her relationship with shopping and bags, CC 194 believes that her shopping really isn’t a problem.

Like most collectors, CC 194 has made the mistake of impulse buying at least once during her journey, but she recently realized how beneficial it is to sell bags that no longer suit you. By paring down her collection, this bag lover has curated one filled with pieces that suit her lifestyle and that she really loves and uses.

Read the full confessional below and check out photos from CC 194’s lovely collection of bags!

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Basic Bio

Your Age? 40
Your Gender Identity? Female
Where do you live? Singapore (originally from Australia)
What is your occupation? Stay-at-home mum (secondary English teacher by trade)
What industry do you work in? Education
Your annual salary? $0.00
Total Household Income? $3,000,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

Onto The Bags

How many bags do you own? 15

What bags are in your collection?

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How much is your collection worth? 35,000 SGD

What is your most expensive bag? Chanel Reissue 226

Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? I regret purchasing a Bulgari bag from the boutique (which I subsequently sold at a big loss). And I wish I hadn’t panic bought my BV travertine Cassette from the boutique before an impending price increase. Had I been patient, I could have bought the bag at a significantly lower price.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I have loved bags for as long as I remember, but was not in a position to buy a designer bag until my early 30s – I bought an Alexander Wang Diego and I remember my heart pounding over the 800SGD purchase, how times have changed since then, haha.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Yes, I’ve been wanting to get a Loewe Puzzle bag in small for a long time. Would also love to get another mini Flamenco in a pop of colour. And I have my eye on a preloved Celine Trio – I sold my large in butter as the size and colour were not working for me, but I still adore the bag and would love to add a small to my collection.

Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own? A series 1-3 vintage Chanel flap.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Gucci Marmont is the one and only bag purchased for me by my husband. He bought it after the birth of our first daughter.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I would say that they do, but this is not why I wear them. I wear them for my love of them and the joy they bring to me, also why I don’t consciously follow trends or worry about any of my bags being out of style. I wear what speaks to me and me alone.

How do you take care of your bags? I’m careful with the way that I store them, (stuffed, standing upright in dust bags), but that’s is about it – I haven’t as yet used any leather conditioners on them or anything like that.

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On Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I would say several times a year. A mix of boutique and preloved purchases.

Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? I love both! Now living in Singapore, it is so incredibly easy to visit the boutiques and try bags on. But I also love scouring reputable preloved sites and buying bags at a great price with their own history and stories.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Currently Bottega Veneta and Loewe.

Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? No, I’ve never returned a bag, but I did recently sell several of my bags for the first time since I began seriously collecting 8 years ago. I decided to sell the bags that I simply wasn’t using or that didn’t excite me anymore, and I replaced them with bags that I love.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes! I have purchased from Yoogi’s Closet, Fashionphile, and some reputable luxury groups from my hometown in Western Australia and I have discovered a fantastic preloved seller here in Singapore, Ox Luxe.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Recently, yes. I think 15 is a healthy number of bags to own, and I decided that I didn’t want to acquire many more without selling a few first.

Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? I have gifted a few old bags to my mum and sister (contemporary Coach etc, I have not as yet gifted a premier bag).

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No, purely pressure from within as I love so many different styles and colours and brands!

Although I will say that Instagram can tend to make you feel as though it’s normal to amass a very large collection and wear different bags on a daily basis.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? The Chanel reissue yes – I purchased it preloved for 4900SGD when it retailed at 9000SGD. It now retails at 14000SGD.

Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? I like a mix of both! It’s nice owning bags that are classics and will never go out of style, but also incredibly fun to purchase something more trendy or colourful purely because you love it right now.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not at all – I have never purchased enough new pieces from any one boutique to build a relationship with a particular SA. I could see how that might be a different story if I had unlimited funds or a husband who was supportive of me making regular luxury purchases, though.

Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? I enjoy the process of discovering a new bag I love, researching it, viewing pictures of how others style it, hunting it down preloved if that’s how I intend to purchase it, etc. I find the whole process enjoyable!

Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? No, although it’s evident that different stores have different cultures surrounding customer service.

What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? Price, practicality, and whether or not I’d feel comfortable in it day to day. I overall prefer discreet logos. There are bags I may love on other women, but I know that they would potentially wear me, rather than the other way around.

Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? Balenciaga – although I would purchase a preloved City, but nothing from modern Balenciaga.

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On Budgeting & Perceptions

Who pays for your bags? Myself.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I plan to when I return to full-time work, but over the last 8 years I have not had a set budget.

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Yes – in my early 20s, I bought two replica LV Speedy Bags as I was completely obsessed with them but was not in the position to buy my own. I have since purchased a real one and would never buy a counterfeit one again!

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Yes – I do this often. I know many people will disagree with this or claim that it means my marriage is not healthy, but at this point in time, it’s what works for us. My husband is fantastic, but does not and never will value over-consumption. He doesn’t have any passions that are related to collecting bought goods – he’s not into watches, cars, or any of the things that men often like to buy. It’s not about the money for him; he just happens to be a minimalist, and I will never be able to change that about him.

I often will hide purchases and then reveal them at a much later date when the time is right.

He currently is unaware of 3 out of 15 of my bags. He has begun to understand that collecting bags is an absolute passion of mine. I feel that once I’m back working full time when our daughters are in school, he will then accept that I will have a bag budget and will continue buying bags, and he cannot change that about me.

Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? My mum and sister are not into designer bags and will never understand the amount of money I spend on them. So to date I haven’t disclosed how many I own or how much I’ve spent. They’re aware of my passion and like to tease me on occasion but would probably die if they knew how much all of my bags actually cost!!!

Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? No – I was lucky enough to have significant savings from my teaching job, and I also came into a little bit of money handed down to me from family. I would say the only sacrifice I’ve had to make at times is risking causing issues between my husband and I!! But he has come a long way in accepting my bags since I first began collecting.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I go back and forth on this – it’s sometimes mind-boggling to think that I am prepared to spend thousands of dollars on a bag. You can go down a rabbit hole thinking about the ethics behind it, the brand manipulation, you name it. Why am I addicted to acquiring more and more and more of these status symbols?

At the end of the day, I love them, they bring joy to my life, I can afford them, I will continue with collecting but will always try to maintain a reasonable pace of collecting, to buy preloved often, and to sell on occasion such that my collection does not become overwhelmingly big.

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Let’s get personal…

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I’m interested in jewellery – I’ve purchased my first VCA piece this year and would love to add some more Cartier to my collection too, but this is something that will largely be on hold for me until my children are grown, and I’m earning my own salary again.

What is your greatest fear? Losing my good health, or my family members or friends losing theirs. It is the single most valuable thing in our lives.

Which living person do you most admire? I admire those who dedicate their lives to helping others – nurses, surgeons, carers, and so on.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family and friends!!!! Particularly my beautiful daughters.

What is your favorite journey you have taken so far? My time spent living as an expat in both Korea and Singapore. Some of the best times of my life! You learn so much about yourself and others while living away from your home country.

Any parting words you would like to share with our readers? I love that there is a community of people who share the same passions and interests as myself!! Seeing everyone’s beautiful bags and being able to discuss them in detail is a joy.

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Avisha
Avisha
10 months ago

Love your bottega collection <3

daveloeweyou
daveloeweyou
10 months ago

Do not hesitate to buy the Loewe Puzzle or the Flamingo in Klein blue or avocado. But tell your husband, he will understand it perfectly.

Phorridge
Phorridge
10 months ago

Love the raw honesty! I love going to Bottega and Loewe nowadays as well and have it quite similar that my partner could only understand bag price up to 1k (he admitted that he would never be able to see bags the way I do). Couldn’t recommend the puzzle bag enough!

wid
wid
10 months ago

i also like the manicure 😀

wid
wid
10 months ago

i love your manicure, coollll