Closet Confessionals

CC 223: The Collector Who Shares a Love of Bags With Her Late Mother

"My mom was also a bag lover and I’ve gifted her a few bags for her birthdays and Mother’s Day."

Today, we’re chatting with a handbag collector from Maryland who works for the US Government as a financial analyst. CC 223 has been collecting bags for under a decade, but she has curated a lovely collection of bags spanning multiple luxury brands.

This bag lover shares a love of handbags with her mother, and though she has many luxury bags, her most sentimental is a Michael Kors tote that she and her mother both used at one time or another. Unfortunately, it was her mother’s passing in part that led to this Louis Vuitton lover’s overconsumption at one point in time.

These days, though, she’s nearing purse peace and is focused on consuming less and shopping mindfully. As many of us can relate to, she states that her shopping habits are a work in progress. Read the full confessional below and take a look at bags from CC 223’s stunning collection, too!

Basic Bio

Your Age? 42
Your Gender Identity? Female
Where do you live? Rockville, MD
What is your occupation? Financial Analyst
What industry do you work in? Federal Government
Your annual salary? $125,000
Total Household Income? $350,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

CC 223

Onto The Bags

How many bags do you own? 35+

What bags are in your collection?

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How much is your collection worth? Based on my spreadsheet, I paid about $75K but of course my collection is worth much less than that.

What is your most expensive bag? The most expensive bag I bought from the boutique is the Louis Vuitton Side Trunk.

Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? LV V Tote MM – I regret the size but not the bag. It’s too big for my current lifestyle and I should’ve bought the BB instead.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I bought a pre-loved LV Alma BB from a friend for my 35th birthday.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? The bag on top of my wishlist is an LV Capucines BB, not sure on the color yet since I’m planning on buying pre-loved. I’ll know once I see the one in excellent condition and in the right price.

Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own? Chanel Mini Rectangular in a fun, bold color like yellow, green, or purple.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Not a luxury brand but it’s a Michael Kors tote bag in a denim and leather material. Gave it to my mom for Mother’s Day years ago and after a couple years she asked if I wanted it since I bought her a new bag. The bag was still in excellent condition by the time she gave it to me, and I used it as a work bag. Now, it’s displayed in its special spot in my closet.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? With everyday people that I encounter, I honestly don’t know or I just don’t notice it. But with sales associates, from my experience, I feel their treatment is different when I carry a luxury bag.

How do you take care of your bags? I don’t baby my bags, but I constantly rotate my bags to make sure they get equal use. Also, that way certain bags do not get all the wear and tear. I clean them with water wipes and store them in their dust bags and most of them are stuffed to keep the shape.

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On Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? More often than what my husband would prefer. Last year, I bought 7 bags but this year I’m trying to be more mindful, and fingers crossed stick to a low buy year.

Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? Both. I like to shop online so I can narrow my choices down and then go to the store to see the bags in person and try them.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus

Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? Why did you make that decision? Yes. I bought the LV New Wave Chain bag in a taupe color. The bag was beautiful, and I loved it but after a few days I realized it didn’t suit my lifestyle then.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes, Fashionphile and eBay.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No.

Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? I gave most of my contemporary brand bags to my sisters, Mother in law, and friends. My mom was also a bag lover and I’ve gifted her a few bags for her birthdays and Mother’s Day.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not really, I only buy what I really love.

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Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No

Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? Sometimes I watch the runway shows and follow upcoming releases and although I have bought some “trendy” style bags, I only buy what I love and what is functional for me. I will still carry a bag, it doesn’t matter how many years it’s been out of trend.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? If you asked me a few years ago, I would’ve said yes. As we all know, during Covid the stock was limited (or so we thought). So, having a relationship with an SA was helpful in getting the bags. But now, I don’t feel the pressure to maintain a relationship because I have a good-sized collection and I feel close to purse peace (not there yet),

Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? Yes and no, I only go in the boutiques if I know I’m buying something…I get in and I get out. Now, online shopping is a different story. I like to do my research online to narrow my choices before I go in the boutiques. I also like to browse Fashionphile and eBay trying to find the best deals.

Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity, or gender? Fortunately, no. I have encountered SAs that were not very friendly, but they weren’t rude.

What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? Price is always a factor. Coming from a person who has spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on bags, I still have a threshold that I cannot cross. The LV Capucines is number one my list this year, but I cannot get myself to pay $7,000 for a bag. Especially, since I know I can get one pre-loved in excellent condition for far less.

Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? I’ll say Balenciaga, their aesthetics do not appeal to me. And then the advertising fiasco, I have never bought any products from Balenciaga even before the scandal anyway.

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On Budgeting & Perceptions

Who pays for your bags? Me and my husband.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No.

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I bought a dupe Hermès mini Lindy to see if the bag style will work for me. I’ve had it for 2 years and never worn it outside my bedroom.

Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? My sisters and some friends will comment when they notice I’m carrying a new bag and say, “I can’t believe you bought another bag.” I just make light of it by saying “because I’m a rich bitch.” Then we laugh and they forget whatever criticism they were about to say.

Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? Unfortunately, yes. I hid some of my purchases from my husband to make it look like I don’t really buy that much. This made me realize I have a shopping problem.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yes. Before 2021, I was only buying a luxury bag maybe 1-2 times a year. In Jan 2021, my mother passed away then six months later our dog passed and I went in depression. Later in the year, was my 40th birthday and I thought maybe treating myself to some shopping will help lift me up.

And it did, I bought 3 handbags for my 40th birthday, the following month – another bag and SLGs, then more SLGs and December 2021 I bought 2 more bags. 2022 was the worst. I realized it has gotten out of hand and last year I cut back, not as much as I wanted but it was better.

This year I aim to do better with consuming less and decluttering. It’s a struggle as a part of me wants something and know I can afford it, so why not. But another part of me is thinking how many bags does one person need (certainly not over 35+) and what else could I do with the money.

It’s a work in progress.

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Let’s get personal…

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Travel and food. It gets expensive when traveling and food are combined, Lol. When we travel to new locations, along with the sights we also like to experience it through food.

What is your greatest fear? Losing the ones I love especially my children.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband and my children.

What is your favorite journey you have taken so far? As far as travel, one of my favorites is our recent trip to Greece. It was a great trip from the history, culture, people, food, and even the weather. Now that my kids are a little bit older, the best part of the trip is seeing them taking it all in and appreciating the experience.

Any parting words you would like to share with our readers? Buy what you love. Who cares if you use or just love to stare at it, as long as it makes you happy and you can afford it. Do not get into debt for bags or any material things.

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1 month ago

I love this! Very insighful and interesting.

Laura W
Laura W
1 month ago

What a lovely self aware woman. Her collection is beautiful. And very useable.

1 month ago

Yes, I too can relate to a lot of this! Buying a fake & never using it! Just staring at some of my bags because I love them but they don’t really get much use! And not disclosing all of my purchases! Glad to now I’m not the only one!! Thanks for writing this