Closet Confessionals

CC 212: The Collector With Edge

I like to change things up, and I have an edgier style, so I rotate my bags.

Today we’re chatting with a handbag collector in her late fifties whose sense of style shows through in her curated collection. CC 212 has loved bags since her 20s, and her collection began at the height of the Coach era in the late 80s/early 90s. Eventually, CC 212 got a taste of the premium designer world thanks to a Celine Trapeze bag. The rest, you could say, is history.

CC 212’s collection now consists of a nice curation of bags from brands like Celine, Givenchy, Prada, Hermès, and more. This collector describes her style as edgier, and because of this, she rotates her bags fairly often, bringing down their cost per wear, though CC 212 does admit to being somewhat of an impulse shopper.

She’s aware that her shopping and spending can sometimes be a problem and has regretted purchases from time to time. However, she’s not afraid to sell them and get something she will love more! Read the full CC below, and don’t forget to share your own.

Basic Bio

Your Age? 57
Your Gender Identity? Female
Where do you live? Suburban NJ
What is your occupation? What do you call a “homemaker” without sounding like a 1950s stereotype?
What industry do you work in? Previously a commercial real estate niche business
Your annual salary? $1,000
Total Household Income? $400,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

Onto The Bags

How many bags do you own? 16+

What bags are in your collection?

How much is your collection worth? $70K

What is your most expensive bag? My Hermès Emile – it was $12K.

Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? I do. If I regret it, I sell it on The RealReal. I never get the full value, but I can’t have something that I dislike take up space. I had a Fendi Runaway bag that I obsessed over. I got it in a gorgeous sage color. It just didn’t sit right. It was too long to wear as a shoulder bag and too short to use as a crossbody (it hit right under the boob.) It was also open on the top and felt like a pickpocket’s dream. I also regretted my Dior Bobby bag. It was gorgeous, but was so teeny inside it fit nothing. I sold it to buy my LV Mahia Beaubourg, which I love.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was in my 20s, and it must have been a Coach bag. In the late 80s and early 90s, we all obsessed over Coach. My first luxury bag was a taupe Celine trapeze bag. Once I got a taste of a luxury designer bag, there was no going back…

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I just bought my Hermès Arcon bag in Etoupe. I’ve been hunting it down for over a year, so I’m set for now.

Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own? Nothing comes to mind.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I like to change things up, and I have an edgier style, so I rotate my bags. The Celine Edge, Richardo Tischi hobo, and Prada bowling bag have been in my collection for 15-20 years and I can’t sell them, so I guess they have sentimental value. I want to keep them, even though I don’t have a daughter to pass them on to. I have a son. Maybe he’ll have a special person or give me a granddaughter to pass my bags on to.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes. I see salespeople size up my handbag. When I run to a place with my fanny pack after working out, there treatment is different than if I’m dressed and with my designer handbag. I have a friend who isn’t into bags, and when we shop in new places, salespeople lock on to me and ignore her. That said, I am fiercely loyal to the salespeople I work with, and the relationship is there, so if I wanted to shop in my pjs, they would treat me well.

How do you take care of your bags? I keep them in my closet in dust bags stuffed with paper.

CC 212 Bags
CC 212 Bags 4

On Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Two or more a year…it depends on if something catches my eye.

Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? In-store. I honestly can never get the size correct from the online description, and then I find the bag is smaller than I expected and fits nothing. I also feel like some items photograph well but don’t look as nice in person. Sometimes the hardware looks cheap or the leather color shade looks different. I then feel like I’ve made a $4,000 mistake.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, Hermes

Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? Why did you make that decision? Yes. My Dior Bobby Bag. Actually, I didn’t “return” it because I tried to make it work, and when I finally realized it wasn’t worth it, the return window closed. I sold to FashionPhile and got an additional 10% in Neiman Marcus gift cards, which allowed me to buy my LV bag and cover most of the cost. LV has since pulled out of NM.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Never

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Yes. I sell on RealReal or FashionPhile – whoever will give me more money.

Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? If the bag isn’t one that has re-sale value, I gift it to a young person I know. I feel like paying it forward.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. I can be impulsive and I follow my own pressure to purchase.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No. You will never get the full value back. Buy it because it brings you happiness to use it. If you’re looking to invest your money, talk to a financial advisor.

Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? I’m not trendy. I usually follow classical styles, or something a big funky, unique or edgy.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? ABSOLUTELY! An SA will alert you to a potential discount, hunt down a hard to find bag, hold a bag for you, have it pulled from another store for you…I never understand walking into a store and using a new person each time. If you are loyal to your SA, they will be loyal to you and do the most they can for you.

Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? Yes. I appreciate fashion as an art form and find the techniques, leathers, stitching, and details intriguing.

Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity, or gender? Yes. If I pop into a store where I don’t have an established relationship with the brand or an SA, and I happen to be in my workout clothes, they treat me differently. Also, once you hit a certain age, and you’re not cute or hot anymore, you become invisible. When I am dressed and a salesperson can assess my style and that I’m a “designer girl” they treat me differently.

What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? If the salesperson is snotty, I’m not interested in giving them my money. If there is a line to get into the boutique and I’d have to wait around, or if a Kardashian is involved. I have a strict policy where I believe the Kardashians have enough money and they don’t need mine.

Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? I wouldn’t say “outright refuse” but I don’t buy Chanel. The styles seem very pedestrian and matronly to me. I’m not a fan of the quilting or chain straps. I do appreciate the quality and beauty of the bags on other people, it’s just not my cup of tea.

CC 212 Bags 3
CC 212 Bags 2

On Budgeting & Perceptions

Who pays for your bags? Being that I don’t work, I guess you can say my husband, but the cash comes from our communal pot. It’s OUR money, not just his. I’ve worked in my home for 22 years to keep my family going and raise our son, and my husband would be the first to tell you it’s a team effort.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? UGH. I should because that would be more responsible, but I don’t. I’m more impulsive. I buy what catches my eye.

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? NEVER. If you can’t afford the real thing, you just can’t afford it. There are plenty of gorgeous bags at every price point…Polene, for instance.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? OMG, all the time! He sees the bag eventually, but I totally hide them.

Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? No one has criticized me, but whenever I break out a new bag, my sister examines it, asks who makes it, how much I spent etc. I find it super annoying. She doesn’t pay my bills, so it’s none of her business.

Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? No.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yes. I do feel like I go through phases where I’m purchasing too much…especially in the way of designer shoes, or when there’s a great sale…how could I resist? It’s a deal! It’s a work in progress. I have not overcome it.

Let’s get personal…

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Jewelry. I’ve been collecting Pomellato jewelry of late.

What is your greatest fear? That my husband will find out about my purchases and freak out, or that I’ll charge so much we won’t be able to pay off the credit card. It never gets to that point, but sometimes it feels close.

Which living person do you most admire? I feel like we are all doing the best we can with what we have. I’m not star-struck.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband really is my person. He has my back through thick or thin.

What is your favorite journey you have taken so far? I enjoy international travel, and my favorite place to visit is Europe. Recently I took my college-aged son to Copenhagen. It’s such an amazing city, and during the summer, with the midnight sun, it was spectacular. We did a 4-hour food tour by bike, so we ate, burned a few calories, and ate again. That was an amazing trip.

Any parting words you would like to share with our readers? Do no harm but take no sh=t. Do things that make you happy because frequently as women, we expect others to think of us the way we think of them, and it doesn’t always happen.


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