Today, we catch this confessing lawyer at the tail end of a major bag purge. Her remaining collection is still very impressive as she held on to relevant workhorse bags and classics that promise to withstand the test of time. Being the breadwinner in her marriage, she carefully evaluates new purchases and analyzing her state of mind prior to making purchases she may regret later.

We very much appreciated the love for our blog and forum by this submission! Enjoy the read and don’t forget to tell your own story at the link below:

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The Basics

Age: 50
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Vancouver, CAN
Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Law
Salary: $400,000
Household Income: $400,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? I have just completed a major purse/sell off. I now have 18 bags, but I on the fence about selling one of the remaining bags.

What bags are in your collection?

Hermes Evelyn (etoupe), Hermes Bolide 35 (orange poppy), Hermes Manille II (chestnut), LV Alma PM (epi fuschia), LV Duplex tote (epi Kenyan Fawn), LV Neverfull GM (damier ebene), LV Neverfull MM (epi noir), LV Looping GM (damier ebene), Bottega Veneta Nodini (Kelly green), Bottega Veneta Roma medium (chestnut), Chanel reissue tote (black with ruthenium hardware), Reissue Flap 227 (navy with ruthenium hardware), Chanel Classic Flap jumbo (lambskin purple), Chanel vintage evening bag (black lambskin with gold hardware), Celine Small Belt bag (chalk), Chloe Marcie (tan medium), Max Mara Whitney (blue medium), Ferragamo vintage patent shoulder bag (black)

Bags I have sold and sold – Gucci soho disco, Fendi peekaboo (medium), Celine Edge (black medium), Celine Trifold (gray medium), Chloe Hayley, LV – looping GM and PM (both monogram), Noe (monogram), Artsy (monogram), Neverful MM (Stephen Sprouse monogram), Senreve Mini Maestro (lilac), Senreve Maestro (black), Chanel vintage double strap camera bag (cream with gold hardware).

How much is your collection worth? I paid approximately $25,000 to acquire these bags.

What is your most expensive bag? I have only purchased 2 bags new from the boutique – the Hermes Evelyn was $4,500 CAD, and the Celine Small Belt Bag was $2,000 CAD. My Bolide and Chanel flaps are my most expensive pre-loved purchases, each costing between $3,000 – $4,000 CAD.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? If my house burnt down the first bag I would replace would be my Neverfull GM but my Hermes and Chanel are my “favorites”. I love the quality and materials used in the Hermes and Chanel bags. However, I carry my Neverfull GM every day to work, and the Neverfull MM in epi is also a workhorse.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 33 – a LV Looping PM in monogram. I only wore it a couple of times – I wanted the GM, but had a serious case of sticker shock in the moment and bought the less expensive and smaller version. As well, although I think monogram looks great on other people and I love the practicality of the canvas, I have finally accepted after multiple purchases and re-sales, that I don’t think it suits me. So I have given up on monogram and either go for Damier Ebene or all leather bags. I have been so tempted to but a Pochette Metis, but have resisted as there is no longer an Epi option, and even the old Epi option included reverse monogram.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next?

The bags on my current wish list are:

a) a soft, all leather cross body bag that can hold a full size wallet (help please!)
b) an LV keepall 45 in damier ebene
c) a Birkin 35?? and
d) a Kelly 32??

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value?

I recently purchased the LV Looping GM (damier ebene) – this is the bag that I wanted to purchase way back when but
a) didn’t want to pay that much, and
b) didn’t know that LV did this style in DE.

Buying it felt like setting things right somehow. I have a very long and unfortunate habit of settling for things that are less than what I really want because of price, and have a long list of re-sales to prove it! This bag feels a bit like I am finally learning my lesson.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated?

Sometimes – I wish it didn’t. With clients, it is important to look polished but obvious logos do not feel professional to me. When I am shopping, if I am carrying a nice bag it usually makes the difference. As a middle ages, mum of 3 who isn’t terribly glamorous and doesn’t wear designer clothing, I often feel invisible in shops (I often really like this though!). Looking tidy with a nice, understated bag often helps with service when I need it.

None of my friends have any interest in bags or know what I am carrying. The other women in my office typically carry Coach or Kate Spade and if they recognize my bags they don’t say anything.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags?

It depends. Over the last year I have sold several bags and purchased three with the proceeds. I am actively looking for a weekend cross-body bag now, but am trying to be really careful and learn the lessons from my multiple purchase/sale history. Typically I like to look at my wardrobe – including bags and shoes – twice a year at the seasonal shift and decide if I am using items enough to justify their spot in my closet. I am also trying to abide by the one-in/one-out rule.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I typically browse/shop online. In Canada, I browse/shop at Love that Bag, Modaselle and Posh Bag Boutique. I also browse/shop Fashionphile and Yoogi’s Closet. I regularly walk through Holt Renfrew (a high end Canadian department store) and Nordstrom, and also visit the Hermes and Chanel boutiques several times a year.

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

Yes! All my bags except 2 have been purchased pre-loved. Although I earn a lot, I am the sole income earner for my family as my husband is disabled. We have 3 kids, so there are lots of expenses for them and their activities, and we need to save for kids university and our retirement, as well as paying the mortgage and all the costs of keeping life going. I try really hard to make good purchases and get good value. Buying pre-loved allows me to access bags that I could not justify purchasing retail given my family’s financial priorities.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Yes.

If I am not using a bag regularly, I try to find it another home. This keeps my overall “investment” in check, and forces me to really think about and optimize my collection for my lifestyle. I will sell the bags at the retailers listed above. I really struggle selling sometimes – letting go of my Peekaboo, LV Stephen Sprouse and my vintage Chanel was difficult.

My thought process is still evolving. For a long time I wanted to have the “best” example of a bag from each major brand, and to have a wide variety of bags in my collection. Then I realized that while I love the look and history of these bags, they were just collecting dust.

I don’t wear monogram.

As much as I love the Peekaboo, I always knocked my hand on the turn lock trying to access the tapered entry to the bag. I love the functionality of the Senreve bags, but they felt too young. I have made a lot of mistakes!

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? There isn’t any societal pressure in “real life”, but I am influenced by PurseBlog, Instagram and some YouTubers. I am often amazed at what people can afford to buy, and need to keep my eye on the budget and recognize that I am just an ordinary person trying to support a family, and none of this is about “need”.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No – not a financial investment. They are investments in my happiness though. I love beautiful things and fine workmanship and really delight in having under-the-radar and functional luxury in my life.

Who influences your buying decisions? I follow PurseBlog closely and am on PurseForum regularly. I also watch YouTube reviews when I am researching bags.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? My only real SA relationship is at Hermes Vancouver. I also love Hermes scarfs, and have purchased several over the years. She is very lovely, and always helps me find the right color combination and style. I am pondering a big Hermes purchase like a Kelly or Birkin, and if I were to take the plunge I would certainly talk to her about it. It would be very difficult to justify paying retail, but I am thinking about it. Although I am the income earner in my home, my husband and I make financial decisions together, and while he wishes for me to be happy he is not supportive of me spending $15,000 on a bag. I had wanted to make a major purchase this year to celebrate my 50th birthday, but haven’t done so yet.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I am quite analytical – so I really enjoy trying to optimize any purchase. I create a list of what I will use the bag for and the qualities I am looking for and then start hunting! I really like to walk into my closet and know that I have the items I need to present myself well ad professionally in any circumstance. I grew up with a single mother, and always had it drilled into me that I needed to be responsible with money and self-supporting.

I would love to shop more than I do, and would love to collect all the beautiful things I love, but try really hard to be practical and disciplined. My bigger problem is wasting money on items that are almost – but not quite – what I want, and then losing money when I don’t use them and ultimately sell them. I need to learn that I should hold out/spend more on what I really want, and that this is better value overall.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? While I am not glamorous, I have every other possible advantage – I am a white, straight, middle-class professional female, so no. I might get ignored but I don’t face any real barriers.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Me, myself and I. But really, because my money is “our” money, my husband and I pay for them.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes. I squirrel away money each month and also put money aside if I get a bonus.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. My mother-in-law gifted me a counterfeit BV bag she found in NYC, but I donated it and never carried it.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Yes and no.

Typically I talk to him about all purchases in advance. On a couple of occasions, I have found a bag on-line and purchased it because it was on my wish list, and used savings or sold a bag to pay for it, and haven’t told him about it until the bag I am selling sells. I don’t carry debt for bags, but have used no-interest lay-away programs at Love that Bag and Fashionphile to finance purchases until the bag I am swapping out sells.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing too crazy – although when I bought my Evelyn my husband was incredulous that a bag could cost $4,500.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I think that my online browsing is sometimes an escape mechanism when I am overwhelmed or unhappy. I have to be really careful when I am in those moods not to make a purchase. My husband sometimes complains that I am never satisfied with all the beautiful bags I have, as I am always analyzing what I have and looking for the next optimal bag. This is true – I start my day with a web-search of my favorite on-line retailers, but to me at least, it doesn’t seem like a problem – I actually really enjoy the hunt.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I like Hermes scarfs and buy 1 or 2 a year. I also bought a pair of Chanel flats this year. My most expensive “hobby” is my family – I love them and try to make sure they have everything they need.

Anything else you would like to include? I really enjoy the Blog and Forums, and so appreciate the wisdom and advice of people on-line. It is so nice to find a community that loves bags as much as I do!

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