The Basics

Age: 24
Gender Identity: Female
Location: NYC
Occupation: Junior Architect
Industry: Architecture
Salary: $52,000.00
Household Income: $52,000.00

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 4

What bags are in your collection?

  • Céline Luggage Phantom in Jade (Phoebe Philo Summer 2016 Collection)
  • Victoria Beckham Bar Bag in Black (very underrated bag!)
  • Victoria Beckham Half Moon in Sage
  • Danse Lente Phoebe Bis in Beige/Marshmallow

I love my sleek geometries and clean lines!

How much is your collection worth? Full Retail Price ~$7,500 (actually paid $3,750)

What is your most expensive bag? My Céline Luggage Phantom, which I purchased second-hand.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? All of them at this point since 4 is a relatively easy number of bags to cycle around, although the VB ones are the most versatile and practical in my collection.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 24–the Danse Lente bag.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? The Céline Classic Box, as it is the epitome of my personal style (sleek and geometric, yet minimal details), as well as the Bottega Venetia Mini BV Classic, the Céline Clasp Bag, and the Max Mara Whitney bag.

Can you see a pattern here? (Also, all Céline bags must be produced during the Phoebe Philo era!)

Respect the ‘é’!

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? It’s too early to tell as I’ve just started getting into designer bags (or at least being able to afford them), but I suppose the first (the Danse Lente) may always hold a special place in my heart.

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

Those who know, will know, but most of my friends don’t really pay attention to labels, per se. It is noticeable for sure when something’s of a better quality, or design, but I haven’t really noticed a huge change in treatment or attitude? Regardless of the bag I’m carrying I always try to be very out together, since I have a strong sense of personal style anyhow.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? So far this year I’ve purchased 4, but they have all been either heavily discounted or second hand (so basically also heavily discounted). I would not buy so many considering the starting entry salary I have if they were not on sale.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Mostly online. I tend to stay away from in-store shopping, since sales associates freak me out. I am very decisive, and usually know within moments of setting my eyes on a bag, even online, whether or not I’d want it, so I don’t need consultants or help in deciding.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes! Especially since regrettably, I did not know about the absolute goddess that Phoebe Philo is until she stepped down from Céline, and since I am adamant about having that accent over the ‘é’ on any Céline bag I buy, those of course have to be second hand.

But aside from that, there are many great finds to be found, especially since I have this very particular favorite color: a pale, light sage color that I would buy anything and everything in. If it’s a color that is not classic like black or beige, I find that they tend to end up on resale sites more often (like my Céline luggage and VB half moon—I bought the half moon at just $460 (it is the real thing), and the full retail was close to $1,900 I believe). I saw that VB bag back in college, when buying a bag like that was just a dream, so I just sighed and moved on. Now, 5 years later, it ended up on The RealReal, and I couldn’t believe it. Sometimes, waiting it out is the best thing you can do.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I have not and don’t think I ever will, because my rule is that if I don’t ABSOLUTELY love it, and am not sure that it fits my routine, goes with my outfits, and is appropriate for the events and places I’ll be at, I do not buy. Period. I take pride in being able to regularly cycle through my bags so they’re not collecting dust in my closet.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. I buy these bags because I love them. They are like wearable sculptures to me, and I like looking at them.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I think it’s only an investment if it’s a piece like a Birkin that you plan on reselling. Because bags wear over time—it doesn’t matter how well you regularly wipe or clean them. I consider them trusty pieces that’ll last a long time, but I don’t think of it as a return on my money. I think of it as money well spent.

Who influences your buying decisions? Me, myself, and I. Again, I am a very decisive person, and have a very particular taste, so I believe I’m relatively immune to marketing. I follow fashion, but usually it’s me looking to see if anything fits the bill of my particular style, not browsing to see what’s currently ‘in’ or recommended.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Nope. I do not need an SA to help me shop.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? As an architect, it’s buying something that another designer has created. It’s a work of art, a sculpture, and the craftsmanship that goes into a beautiful object. The fact that it’s an object that carries my things is a bonus. I love looking at the sculptural elements and details of the bags and opening and closing them. They are so beautiful.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? If I have, I don’t notice it because 1. If I am for some reason in-store and not online, I avoid talking to salespeople anyways, and 2. I am rarely I -store.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Me, myself, and I.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not really.

Usually I buy when and if I come across something I like. Then I search every website, both retail and second-hand, to see all the buying options. Then I wait about a month to let it simmer in my mind to see if it’s memorable enough to warrant and look again, and if so, in what color/size. Taking into consideration how much I‘be recently spent and how much I need to spend in the future, I decide on whether to buy it. Sometimes I put it off for even later if I do decide to save up for it. Most likely I wait for it to go on sale. The thing with bags is that once the actual designer site stops carrying the exact color and size, it’s very easy to find on other sites, unlike clothing, so waiting is usually very very worthwhile. I wanted my Danse Lente bag in the Marshmallow color very badly, but at full retail price, I couldn’t justify paying $500 for it. Eventually, it sold out on many retail sites, until on day on Instagram, it popped up in my feed (also technology, nowadays all your browsing habits are tracked—you needn’t be afraid of not being able to find something). The bag ended up being on sale for $298, so at that point I knew it was fate, so I snatched it up. As aforementioned, that bag was my first designer (albeit not Big Name designer).

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item?

No. Never. For many reasons:

1. The whole point of buying designer is that YOU know it’s designer, and that’s part of the joy and thrill of the bag. Most people don’t buy expensive bags because of societal pressure, so if you’re not looking to impress anyone, what’s the point of the fake? You yourself know it’s not real.

2. I have never owned designer bags until recently, and since then, I have definitely noticed a difference in quality and craftsmanship. Luxury bags are expensive because of the materials and skills required to assemble it. Ultimately this means that a cheap bag will start to warp and break down much, much faster than a real designer one. It’s not worth the money to spend money on a fake, when you could just use it to spend money on a better-quality non-designer item.

3. Fake designer goods are made in illegal factories that 99% are going to have unsafe working conditions, grossly underpaid laborers, and questionably safe materials in the manufacturing of the bag.

4. It is tacky to buy fake designer. Period.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I don’t have a significant other; I am in a relationship with my profession—architecture.

All jokes aside, if I did, I don’t think I would. It’s my own money, and I am spending it responsibly. There is nothing to hide.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing crazy.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Although it is not a problem currently, I hope my recent foray into bags won’t turn into a problem in the future. Sometimes I feel like shopping is an addiction for me, at least online window shopping, because I love browsing sites and coming across a beautiful item and looking at it. I do it to procrastinate, and it may sometimes lead to purchases that I haven’t given time to think through. But I am getting much better at reigning myself in when it comes to shopping, especially before I got into bags. Of course, I am also patient. I could not have gotten the bags I have at the price I got them for if I were not patient.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Sometimes shoes, but recently bags have replaced that as the most recent main interest.

Anything else you would like to include? Many people say to be mindful of how much you spend, which is pretty obvious, but the driving factors behind reigning in spending is determining your personal style and needs—this helps you decide what bags you simply like, and what bags you would ACTUALLY use. Sometimes it’s a bag that you see everywhere and you’ll be convinced that you have to have it, when in reality it’s not practical for you or what you truly like. When you shop, using filters are also helpful in narrowing down which bags you should be looking at for your needs and tastes. And finally, be patient! Bags are just bags at the end of the day. Better to miss out on it than to drive yourself into debt. If you can’t afford it, wait. And wait. Good things come to all who do.

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