Instagram offers us an infinite stream of exposure to other people’s shiny haves and fabulous experiences. It often forces us to be confronted with the mediocrity of our own lives and as a result, we risk to feel inadequate and question our own choices. Today’s confessional from London is sufficiently self aware to realize when these feelings creep up.

It is important to tread lightly in the social media landscape and remember that not all things are as they seem on influencers’ social media accounts. Enjoy the read!

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The Basics

Age: 23
Gender Identity: Female
Location: London, UK
Occupation: Nurse
Industry: Healthcare
Salary: $20,000
Household Income: $70,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 7

What bags are in your collection?

  • Gucci Marmont crossbody in black velvet
  • LV pochette accessories in monogram canvas
  • The Kooples Irina nano croc
  • Chanel flap mini square in patent leather/silver hardware
  • Zadig & Voltaire Sunny (small) in black suede w/ paint splatters
  • Zadig & Voltaire Candide (medium) in black leather

How much is your collection worth? 4000

What is your most expensive bag? Chanel mini flap in patent leather

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Zadig & Voltaire Candide: this was my first “proper” designer bag after having a few Michael Kors bags in my early teens.
Gucci Marmont
Chanel Classic mini flap

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 18 – Zadig & Voltaire Candide

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Dior Saddle Bag in Matte Black. Unlike others, I immediately adored the re-incarnated saddle bag! I can see the kidney bean references but i think it is so cute. I can’t stop thinking about it! And the matte black? Literally my style to a T. Not to mention that I come from a very horse & riding orientated background, and I want something that will be an investment piece that will stay with me forever and always remind me of my “roots,” so to speak.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Zadig & Voltaire Candide. It was the first big designer purchase I owned. Compared to other bags people talk about on here, its moderate price tag puts it almost at a high street value compared to the thousands of pounds (or dollars) a Birkin or a Chanel classic flap costs. However at 18, it was pretty significant to me.

It was a gift for turning 18 and starting at my first choice of University (College for the Americans.) It stuck with me for the 4 years I was completing my degree. Battered and bruised from all the books & general university wear and tear, I am happy to announce that it’s still going strong to this day! It taught me that you can have a beautiful bag that has classic styling and it can still be a workhorse. After all, I’ve always been taught that you pay for quality as long as you also look after it.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Absolutely. As I’m only 23, it seems like it surprises people when they see such a bag on your person. I buy bags for styles that I love but i know I’ve always had expensive taste. That being said, I often feel uncomfortable when i see people taking into account a bag which is obviously logo’ed and clearly has an accompanying large price tag. But with friends I like knowing that I have an item which they don’t, as i am always happy to loan people items I have (if I trust them!)

To me this is an obvious divide between the Instagram and real world perspectives. Instagram makes it normal for people to see such expensive items but in real life it is often more uncommon, and possibly why I favour the cross body bag in the nano/mini/small sizes – it’s less garish in my opinion.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Honestly, as often as I can.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I don’t tend to shop in stores as I generally hate shopping, even if it is in an expensive or exclusive boutique. That being said, I tend to go though designer phases, for example back in my late teens it was Zadig & Voltaire. I like to play the field when it comes to designer purchases, and I tend to buy things which make me happy and i know I will want to use for a long time. How much wear I can get out of something is important to me.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes, I have bought 2 second hand bags. Firstly the Chanel mini flap. This was a bag that came out as a seasonal piece back in 2016 and once I realised it existed (3 years later) i knew it was the perfect Chanel for me. So I scoured the web and I found it on Vestiaire Collective. On closer inspection, I saw that the seller was actually in London so I was able to go and see the bag, try it on and look at it in person. I adore it as it is the perfect style and I cant believe how lucky i was to get the back i was searching for the most.

The second bag I bought secondhand was the LV pochette accessories. I loved the dual clutch/cross body styling it could have but it was always out of stock online (it still is) and as previously mentioned, I don’t love shopping (a millennial hazard?) Anyway, i got tired of waiting and found it online (also Vestiaire Collective) and purchased it there. Sadly my dog has chewed the leather shoulder strap and I don’t know how to get another as a bonus of the secondhand is the beautiful honey colour of the leather which I prefer.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Not currently. Every bag I own in my tiny collection is always being used. That being said, down the line I may consider it, but I doubt I will ever get any decent return on the price I paid.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? For sure.

I see all these beautiful bags that influencers have online and I see myself wanting the same, especially if i see people around my age. For some reason people in their early twenties are my kryptonite: if they have managed to have these things, shouldn’t I be able to, especially if they’re my age?? But then i think this is one of the problems with the materialistic tendencies in society and how everyone shows off their wares on Instagram. Who knows how they really afford them, if they even can at all.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I’d like to think so. Every bag I buy from now on i would like to think will be a classic designer & something that would have a decent resale value. Seasonal bags don’t tend to do well, neither do trend bags, but I could still see myself getting a fair price on my Chanel mini if I didn’t want it, as opposed to my Gucci Marmont.

I buy for me rather than those around me. They are investments to my soul! And I like looking at them…

Who influences your buying decisions? No one influences my buying decisions. I see what I can afford, and if I think after a few months of thought that I will get enough use out of the bag to justify buying it and I won’t hate it in a years time, I get it (and I feel happy get slightly tense that I have spent money on a frivolous object and not a house or something.)

It’s a bonus if my friends are impressed and admire it too.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really, but if I’m in a store I want to be treated as if I should be there and not just browsing, even if I am. Age is key here and often the SA will brush over you or treat your consideration of an item with less regard than that of a 35 year old. That being said, if i want an item I’ll still get it.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? The discovery, hunt and purchase of an item is thrilling. I love having an item that people also covet, or can recognise as a quality item. I have a very understated fashion sense and I only tend to wear black, white or camel tones. That’s why I love a simple but elegant bag, as it elevates my whole outfit. Coincidentally, I loathe shopping for clothes as I don’t always love my body shape, but a bag can be worn by a fat person as well as a thin person, as it costs exactly the same for both! The bag is what makes me feel put together.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Yes, but not because of me, but because of who I was with. I was shopping in the UK equivalent of Saks and I was trying on a certain Canadian brand of winter coat. I did end up buying it but on a different day, as the disabled friend I was with appeared to be totally shunned by the floor staff. They were so unwilling to help us or find other sizes that weren’t out on the rail or even be near to offer any assistance that we just left. I would like to point out that my friend is beautiful and charming and if she weren’t in a wheelchair there wouldn’t be anything to draw your eye to her or mistreat her about. A disgusting attitude really. If you have to money to spend in a store you should be treated exactly the same as anyone else!!

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Historically my parents, as they have gifted me them on occasion. Currently, I buy all my big designer bags myself, and if I couldn’t buy them myself I wouldn’t ask others to buy them for me.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Absolutely. I even have a separate savings account from my normal savings account to help me save for big frivolous purchases. I find it helps me be more goal orientated and manage my monthly earnings. It does totally depend on how well I’m doing that particular month and whether I need to spend money on my day to day expenses, like my car and associated costs, or things for the home.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I wouldn’t ever, I’ve always been disturbed by the scene in Sex and the City where the girls go to LA and Samantha buys one out the back of someones car boot and she cant believe how genuine it looks, but loses it at the playboy mansion and starts screaming “That bunny stole my fake Fendi!!!” Kudos for admitting that it was fake, but to me the stigma would be too much. Would someone think everything I owned was fake if they knew one thing was even though it looked perfect?

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, I have no significant other, which makes it easy to please myself. I actually have moved back in with my parents for the time being after graduating, to help save for things later. I figure that while I am able to have a bit more spare income, why not use it to build a bag collection that I adore and probably won’t be able to afford to keep building once I’m back on my own.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Not eating to afford a bag on my monthly wage! I have also taken out a loan to afford a bag, but in all honesty, I already had the loan to improve my credit rating, I just hadn’t spent it. I thought, “why not on a bag??” I have since repaid the loan and my credit rating has improved and i have a beautiful bag to show for it as well. a win win in my opinion.*

*I don’t recommend that people do this though, as I absolutely normally only pay what I can absolutely afford from my direct debit account. I also like to think that if I couldn’t pay for the bag twice, I wouldn’t buy it until I could, that way you know you’re secure.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Not at all. Ordering too much take out, sure! But not shopping.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I do a lot of horse riding. This is very expensive but might also explain why I adore the shape of the Saddle bag so much!

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