Closet Confessionals

CC 211: The Sentimentalist Who Began Collecting at 40

"I also have such great memories associated with many of them."

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In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a handbag lover in her early fifties who began collecting handbags later in life. A true lover of bags at her core, CC 211 enjoys more than just the bag itself; rather, she enjoys the entire shopping process and finds that her bags hold a lot of wonderful memories.

At 40, CC 211 began this amazing collecting journey after years of working hard toward financial success. These days, she’s an incredibly smart shopper, understanding what works for her and what doesn’t. Crossbody bags are kind of her thing, and if CC 211 finds that a bag just isn’t working for her, she’s not afraid to sell it and get one she will love more.

A down-to-earth CC that we can all relate to, read the full confessional below and check out photos from CC 211’s stunning collection.

Basic Bio

Your Age? 52
Your Gender Identity? Female
Where do you live? New York City suburbs
What is your occupation? Writer/Editor
What industry do you work in? Science/Health
Your annual salary? $50,000
Total Household Income? $400,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

Onto The Bags

How many bags do you own? 65+

What bags are in your collection?

CC 211 3

How much is your collection worth? (I have no idea, and don’t want to know…)

What is your most expensive bag? Probably one of my Chanels.

Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? I sometimes regret some of my bag purchases. I’ve regretted a Celine I bought that was just not practical for me–it was a shoulder bag, and I’ve found that I’m a crossbody-only girl. I’ve regretted a few others–but once that feeling comes, I sell them, and then I feel much more at peace knowing that someone else will love them!

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? Oh, I was probably about 40! It was only at that point that my husband and I made enough money to spend a little frivolously. We spent years and years in grad school, and our families were not rich by any means. We always knew our families could not be a financial safety net for us, so we put ourselves through undergrad and grad schools and worked hard to establish ourselves. Only then could we let ourselves play a little.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Not really, but these days, I always have my sights set on Loewe, Bulgari, Bottega Veneta, and Proenza Schouler.

Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own? Not really.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I have a beige Prada Etiquette bag that is very special to me, and that I won’t sell. I bought it when I was in NYC for a management class. At the end of a long, hard, and intense day of training, I walked blocks and blocks to Prada with my little Fossil bag in tow. I was worried that the SA would look down on me for carrying a small Fossil bag, but he didn’t, and I had the most wonderful time! Now, I’ve used and abused it– though not on purpose!–and it’s a comfortable old friend.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I am cautious about where I wear them. For example, I used to work at a nonprofit and would never wear any of my high-end bags to the office. My former co-workers would have been aghast! And my mom thinks anyone with a “Prada” is snooty, so I definitely don’t wear my Pradas around her–haha! So, yes, I think in some situations, I would be thought “less of,” or people would think, “Who does she think she is?” Maybe it’s just all in my own head, but to be safe, I wear my nice bags out around town and with friends (who aren’t into bags and don’t know).

How do you take care of your bags? I keep them in closets and stuff some of them with tissue paper. But I definitely USE them!

CC 211 2

On Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Every few months–not necessarily all high-end, designer bags, though

Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? Online! Especially since the pandemic, I’ve gotten used to the convenience of online shopping for many things. But every once in a while, I do go to designer stores and have “fashion shows” modeling various bags with the SAs!

Which stores do you frequent the most? I love going to Prada, Bulgari, and Bottega Veneta–they have the nicest SAs!

Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? Why did you make that decision? I’ve returned several that I ordered from Fashionphile because you just don’t know what you’re getting. Most of their pre-loved bags are of really, really high quality, but sometimes, the “excellent” bags are not up to par, and I’ve returned a few. (But I must say that some of the “very good” bags have been surprisingly good!)

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? YES! Fashionphile!

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? YES! I sell high-end bags on Fashionphile and lower-tier ones on eBay.

Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? Yes–I sometimes donate bags that I don’t think will sell well or that are damaged.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No–the pressure is all from within!

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Nope! I’ve never made a profit on a bag purchase/resell. I just have always loved bags, and I buy them for the joy they bring me. When they no longer bring me joy, I typically sell them (always at a loss) so someone else can have fun with them!

Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? I read PurseBlog every day and visit designer sites occasionally, but I don’t follow influencers. I tend to prefer classic styles but in pops of color!

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No, but I have a couple that I visit regularly. It can be a lot of fun, but I also remember that they’re getting a commission, but it’s really a win-win. I’ve had champagne at appointments and coffee-table books sent to me at holidays, which is fun. But I’m just as likely to go to a designer’s website and order online, too.

Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? I really enjoy the thrill of the hunt–studying bags and prices. But I’m also guilty of impulse shopping sometimes… Beyond just shopping, though, I love wearing my purses and trying them out with different outfits. I also have such great memories associated with many of them.

Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity, or gender? Some Fendi SAs can be quite dismissive or snooty, perhaps because I look much younger than I am and I don’t dress up. I wear jeans all–the–time. Just goes to show that you can’t always judge a book by its cover!

What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? If it’s a shoulder-only bag, then no matter how gorgeous it is, I’ll have to pass. Shoulder bags tend to slide right down my shoulder–don’t know why. And I like having my hands free, so no top-handle-only bags. But at least that reduces my spending a bit, I guess! (Otherwise, I’d be in even more trouble! I already need to go back to “ban island!”)

Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? I’ve never really been into Balenciaga, and as many confessional writers have said, their recent advertising antics have really dissuaded me from looking at their products.

CC 211

On Budgeting & Perceptions

Who pays for your bags? I do–from my “allowance” budget. I admit that my hubby makes a lot more than I do, but we put everything in one pot, and we both get allowances to do with as we please. (And I’m making a lot less since I decided to change jobs last year, but my mental health is so much better.)

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes! See above.

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Nope. When I was younger, a friend of mine bought one, but I saw that it was of worse quality than a non-counterfeit that you’d buy at Walmart. So not worth it!

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No–he eventually finds out about the purchases since our $ comes from the same pot. (And I like showing them off to him!)

Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? Fortunately, a relative of mine wore her Prada around my mom before I ever had one, so I knew right off the bat not to let her know of my little hobby! But no one has criticized me outright to my face.

Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? Ugh–I’ve sold bags that I’ve loved to free up funds for new purchases. It’s nearly killed me! Haha! But I survived and went on to buy even nicer bags that I also loved. I do get attached to my bags, but when push comes to shove, I only have so much closet space, and someone has to move out!

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I do struggle at times, but bags are my most expensive splurge. And hey, what fun is life if we can’t splurge now and then?

Let’s get personal…

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Nope. I like to travel, but haven’t done much since the pandemic.

What is your greatest fear? Hmm, I’d say my greatest fear is losing my loved ones.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband and cat (don’t laugh!) are the loves of my life. We had fertility issues, so my cat is really like my kiddo. And my husband is my very best friend in the world. We’ve been through ramen-eating graduate school days, renting apartments all over the East Coast, and finally have some financial security. We count our blessings every day.

What is your favorite journey you have taken so far? In the metaphorical sense, I’d say my favorite journey has been as a manager to a few really talented writers at my last job. In the literal sense, I’d say any trip where I can completely leave my brain at home and go wild is my favorite!

Any parting words you would like to share with our readers? We all have different journeys to PurseBlog–some of us are fortunate to be able to start early in life, and some of us start a little later (ah, I remember that my first big $ purchase was inspired by Megs posting about Fendi’s light blue by-the-way bag!). But we all have ended up here to find friendship and a common ground. I’m getting a little misty (something’s in my eye…yeah, that’s it!), but I feel like I’ve found my home.


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Ess Are
Ess Are
6 months ago

enjoyed this diary.
also: the colors she owns? wow! I don’t remember anyone else having such a decidedly non-neutral approach 😉 love it! thanks for sharing.

6 months ago

It’s never too late to collect what you love!
What a collection. Vibrant pops of color!

6 months ago

Loved this confessional! Really heartfelt and refreshing!

6 months ago

More pics please love love love to see all those colors together

6 months ago

I love your parting words 🙂 I agree that the friendship and common ground (even with random strangers) can be precious moments. It brings me so much joy spotting bags in the wild and genuinely complimenting the bag to the owner

5 months ago

I really enjoyed this. Love the colors. I too started collecting bags later in life. One day I will do my confessional. I own 22 Gucci

5 months ago

This was a wonderful read, love her outlook and that list of bags!! Thanks for sharing!