In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a collector who has been collecting bags for over a decade. Though they didn’t grow up around designer bags, in fact, CC 201’s parents were quite frugal; it was actually CC 201’s mother who gifted the very first bag of their collection: a Classic Chanel Flap!
Since then, CC 201 has realized the importance of not only buying practical bags that work for you but also sticking to classic pieces that aren’t overly trendy. A massive closet clean-out and de-cluttering also helped this Hermès convert realize that. While CC 201 isn’t a big fan of budgeting, they do tend to be a mindful shopper, shuttering at the thought of going into debt to buy a bag.
Read the full CC below, and don’t forget to share your own with us![sc_cc_callout]
Your Age? 33
Where do you live? Singapore
What is your occupation? Marketing
What industry do you work in? Tech
Your annual salary? $200,000
Total Household Income? $350,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
Onto The Bags
How many bags do you own? Around 30
What bags are in your collection?
- Chanel Classic Flap in black caviar leather with gold hardware
- Loewe Puzzle Bag in tan
- Givenchy Mini Antigona in taupe
- Celine Triomphe in green watersnake skin
- Bottega Veneta Knot Clutch in rose satin
- Vintage Fendi Baguette in leopard print calfskin
- Fendi Re-Edition Baguette in black satin with crystal buckle
- Fendi Mini Baguette in monogram
- Saint Laurent medium Niki in dark green
- Hermès Evelyne PM in etoupe Clemence
- Hermès Herbag in noir waterproof canvas with ebene leather
- Hermès Kelly 25 Sellier in noir with gold hardware
- Cult Gaia Bamboo Ark
- Kate Spade Rattan Elephant
- Vintage gray ostrich top handle from a Japanese brand
- Vintage Bally navy top handle
- Tory Burch Mini Ella in bright yellow
How much is your collection worth? Around 50K
What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Kelly 25 Sellier
Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? I did a massive declutter 2 years ago and ended up giving away or selling most of my trendier bags from contemporary brands, including a beautiful pink Coach pillow Tabby that I’d only used once. I’ve realized through that process that only the bags that are iconic, or practical and in colors that match my wardrobe, or that enduringly quirky are the ones I actually keep and use.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My mother gifted me my Chanel Classic Flap for my 20th birthday. I really wanted a nice bag after starting college (I’d only ever used inexpensive H&M leather bags prior to my Chanel), and my mom — despite never purchasing a designer bag for herself in her life — insisted I get the most timeless one that I wanted most. It turned out to be an excellent decision, as Chanel prices have increased dramatically this past decade, and it continues to feel relevant to my style today.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I only recently got my hands on my Kelly bag after over 2 years of my Hermès journey. I am at bag peace now! But I do want to eventually get a Kelly Pochette in lizard and a vintage black box leather Kelly.
Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own?The Kelly 25 in sellier!
I was absolutely ecstatic when my Hermès SA messaged me to say that it had arrived. My husband offered to pay for it, and it means a lot to me as I received it during a particularly difficult time in my life.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Chanel Classic Flap will always hold special meaning for me as my first “grown up” bag, especially as it was a gift from my (very frugal) mom! For me, it represents how much she tries to understand and accept what I value and enjoy in life, even when it differs from her own way of life.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Not really! While I’ve certainly received compliments on some of my bags before, I usually use my nicest bags when I’m on dates with my husband or going for meals with my friends, who are either equally bag-loving or couldn’t care less. It probably also helps that I live in Singapore, where designer bags are fairly common sightings! For work and errands, I usually use a Longchamp Le Pliage or a canvas tote. In fact, those were probably the bags I carried into the store when purchasing my designer bags! I feel like if the SAs are nice, they are nice to me even if I’m wearing sandals and a canvas tote.
How do you take care of your bags? I keep them in their dust bags or boxes, with paper stuffing, in my closet with a dehumidifier.
How often do you buy new bags? I am prone to purchasing bags when I’m going through a significant life change, celebrating, or when I’m going through a particularly difficult time. So it depends on the year!
Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? I love shopping online, but I get almost all my bags in-store. For me, part of what makes purchasing a bag enjoyable is the store experience and the tactile feeling of the bag in my hands. When I see a bag, it makes me think of my experience and emotions when I purchased it. For example, I had received my first big annual bonus when I purchased my Givenchy Antigona. I’m always reminded of that moment when I use my bag.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I have become increasingly partial to Hermès in recent years, but I have a soft spot for the Fendi Baguette — it’s the only bag I have 3 of!
Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? Why did you make that decision? Not for anything I’ve purchased in-store. I have returned a leather tote I purchased online once, because the leather quality didn’t match up to my expectations (or the price!)
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes. I love vintage bags. I got all my vintage bags during my time working in Japan.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? The only time I sold any bags was when I did a massive declutter two years ago. I sold a few of my new/lightly used contemporary bags (like JW Pei) on a local marketplace app called Carousell.
Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? Yes, I gifted some new or barely used bags during my decluttering to my friends.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I buy bags because I like beautiful things, so I don’t ever feel pressure to buy or showcase a certain type of bag. If anything, I sometimes feel more pressure to be low-key and not carry anything obviously branded — especially in the workplace.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? While my Chanel flap and Hermès Kelly have undoubtedly increased in market value, I don’t intend to ever sell them! An unrealized capital gain is not really a gain, is it?
Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? I like classic styles for my pricier purchases, but I love quirky bags as well. My Kate Spade rattan elephant is a bag that always brings me a lot of joy. Some bags are timelessly quirky! However, I’ve realized over the years that bags I quickly fall out of love with are bags I buy just because they are trendy, so I try not to do so anymore.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? A long-term SA relationship was definitely critical for getting my Hermes Kelly, though I had to go through 3 different SAs (due to them leaving the store) during my 2-year journey. As with all relationships, I feel like there’s more natural chemistry with some people than others, but the relationship also becomes warmer over time as we become more familiar.
Other than at Hermes — where an SA relationship is critical, I also have wonderful SAs at Fendi and Tiffany’s who I always choose to shop with, simply because they make the experience so fun and enjoyable.
Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? I am definitely guilty of leaning on retail therapy when going through a difficult time. There’s something about buying something beautiful and being treated nicely at a store that I find comforting. That being said, I am always very conscious of not spending any money that I don’t have! I refuse to go into debt to buy something I can’t afford, no matter how beautiful.
Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Perhaps, but I usually quickly walk out and don’t end up buying anything if I don’t feel well catered to.
What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? If I feel like it’s too “trendy” and isn’t something I will continue to use and love over a long period of time.
Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? I generally avoid loud monograms and have thus avoided Louis Vuitton to-date. But I have seen beautiful vintage ones that I like, so never say never!
On Budgeting & Perceptions
Who pays for your bags? Other than my Hermès Kelly (gift from husband) and my Chanel Flap (gift from mom), I’ve paid for all my other bags myself.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, but I don’t like to budget in general. I just make sure I never spend beyond what I have in my bank account after setting aside enough for my household expenditures and savings.
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. It kind of defeats the point for me to buy counterfeit since the retail experience and story around the bag is a big part of the romance of shopping for me. If I can’t afford it, then I would rather not have one since it means it likely doesn’t fit into my lifestyle anyway!
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No! My husband doesn’t really understand fashion or designers, but he has been accepting — especially since it’s my own hard-earned money! Over the years, though, we have found a nice ritual where I let him unbox all my purchases. He enjoys unboxing and seeing what’s inside, and I feel happy that I get to share some of the joy of my purchases with him in this way.
Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? My parents are very frugal and have definitely commented on my love for fashion and expensive things when I was younger. Now that I make my own income and have been prudent in setting aside money for savings, they no longer worry and have become quite accepting.
Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? No. I try not to want things I can’t realistically afford, because even if I managed to buy it I’d probably be too nervous to use something that required so much sacrifice to buy.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? It was definitely a bit of a problem when I was going through a downward spiral during COVID and bought so many expensive things even though I wasn’t working at the time (I was back at grad school). Honestly, therapy and addressing the root cause of the unhappiness was the most important way to solve this!
Let’s get personal…
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I love formulating fragrances and collecting whiskies, which can get quite pricey!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? I love my son more than anything or anyone in the world. I was disappointed at first when I found out that I wasn’t having a daughter (who is going to inherit all my nice handbags and jewelry?!), but who knows? Maybe he’ll grow up to be the kind of son who enjoys shopping with his mom. 🙂