In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a young medical professional hailing from Boston, Mass. Like many of us, her love of designer bags began with a classic—the Louis Vuitton Speedy 25. While she isn’t super brand-loyal (her collection is well rounded) her purchases are well thought out and overall her attitude towards bags is wise and admirable. Though she agrees that sometimes it’s hard to stop wanting more, she shops smart by fully researching her purchases and thinking them out before pulling the trigger. Buying bags is a luxurious, and expensive habit, but this reader’s well-calculated purchases and her attitude towards spending and saving is admirable. Read the full confessional below and be sure to submit your own.
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Boston, MA
Occupation: Regulatory Medical Writer
Household Income: $200,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 11
What bags are in your collection?
Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket Bag
Senreve Mini Maestra
LV Speedy 25
Gucci Soho Disco Bag
Chloe Small Faye (2)
Proenza Schouler PS1 Plus Medium
Chanel Boy WOC
Chanel Boy Bag (Old medium)
Chanel Classic Flap M/L
Celine Medium Box Bag
I apparently only like small or medium bags, which I think is influenced by where I live and work. I don’t want to be carrying a big bag in the city or subway. I have a nondescript backpack for commuting.
How much is your collection worth? $25,000
What is your most expensive bag? Chanel Classic Flap M/L
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I’m not really dedicated to one particular brand, as I usually only like a couple of styles from each, but I really love my Celine box bag. I had been looking for a particular color and hardware combination for about a year and I stumbled upon it at the boutique.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? At age 18, I bought my LV speedy 25, which I still have but don’t really use. It was senior prom season, and loads of my friends were spending hundreds of dollars on it (dresses, accessories, tickets, etc.). They all had dates, I was sort of quiet in high school, a little bit nerdy, so I had no one to go with, not even as a friend group. I’ve been to a school dance before and wasn’t the biggest fan. Instead of going to prom, I used that amount of money to buy the speedy. At that time, it wasn’t as much as it is now (around $600 maybe?). No regrets!
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Chanel Mini in a neutral color. I’m going on my honeymoon and I kind of want a cute little bag for traveling. Just enough space to hold some money, phone, and keys. It really doesn’t help that my work moved buildings, so now I’m only 1 block away from the Boston Chanel boutique.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I would say it’s my Chanel classic flap. It was my first big bag purchase after starting a new job after graduating graduate school with the money I saved. The job didn’t pay much at first (around a third of my current salary), but I managed to do it. Also, my Gucci Soho camera bag, which I bought with my mom in Taiwan.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Personally, not really. People around me either don’t know about these types of bags or are into them as well. If people ask about the price I paid, I’m honest. Also, I live in Boston. There’s a good chunk of money in this city. It’s not uncommon to see a designer brand on the subway sometimes.
When shopping, I have sensed that it can make a difference. Sales associates will initiate the first hello. I’m actually the type to want to be left alone while browsing, so I don’t mind it either way.
How often do you buy new bags? I average 1 per year in recent years, but I try not to do more than that. I think after I procure a Chanel mini, I’ll be stopping for a long time. I also don’t have the storage space. But that’s what we always say, right?
Which stores do you frequent the most? My work building just moved to an area with all of the boutiques. It’s close to Saks 5th, Chanel, and Celine, so I’ve popped into those occasionally (no buying). I prefer to buy bags from boutiques if possible. Hands down, the sales associates at Celine are super nice and never snobby. There is an Hermès boutique I walk past every day. I’ve never gone in. I’m scared.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? No, I haven’t bought second-hand.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Nope!
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I don’t. I’m not trying to keep up with others. I just don’t have that type of lifestyle, nor could I probably afford it. Sometimes, it’s hard for people to never stop wanting more. I admit I’ve struggled with that sometimes, but now I manage to stamp out that feeling. Buying bags, or anything else, is for me, and not to impress others.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes, in the sense that I try to buy bags that are classic and last a long time. But monetary-wise, no, I don’t see it that way. Like how people say an Hermes bag is worth more than gold? I don’t really care about that.
Who influences your buying decisions? Me.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I don’t shop enough to really develop a “relationship”. From a solidly middle class girl growing up, it honestly sounds a little pretentious to me, but I do see the value in it nowadays. I would like to think that the sales associate at the Chanel is thinking of me when she gets new product in, but let’s see if anything happens out of that relationship.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I like researching all the little details and reviews before purchasing. I get obsessive making sure that this is an OK buy (it’s still expensive to me!). Not going to lie, I like getting new, shiny things. I also have found that I can angry shop. Not when I’m sad, but when I’m angry and frustrated (at work, etc.). Luckily, I don’t get angry a lot, and it’s mainly me putting things in my shopping cart but never checking out.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not in bags, but at a David Yurman store. My fiance and I were looking at wedding bands for him, and I suggested we go to David Yurman to look at different styles with no intention of buying from them. We would pick a style and go to another, more affordable jeweler, to select something similar. My fiance felt that the sales associate was pretentious and assumed we would be utilizing a payment plan as he couldn’t afford it in one go. He is afro-latino (Caribbean area), if that adds any context. The weird thing was that she was also Latino, and according to my fiance, some Latinos discriminate against other Latinos depending on where they are from. I’m Asian, so I didn’t pick up on that. In Boston, there are lots of wealthy international students and young professionals who are Asian, so my face isn’t unfamiliar in these types of stores.
Who pays for your bags? All me, except for one Chloe Faye bag (I have 2), that my mom bought for herself but gave to me after some use because it was too small to be functional for her.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I don’t set a separate budget for bag purchases. I usually always have enough in my checking/savings account to buy when I want (which isn’t often anyways). Instead, I try to limit myself to 1 bag a year.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I did have a counterfeit LV (the one with rainbow monogram) in middle school that was from a Chinatown in some city. I didn’t buy it because I couldn’t afford a designer item, as I didn’t really know brands then. I probably thought it was cute.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I round down when my husband asks how much a bag was. He jokes that a bag is more expensive than my engagement ring. He doesn’t mind much, as he says it’s my money, I have savings, invest fully into my 401k, etc.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing in particular.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No, I don’t think it’s a problem. I’m very restrained when buying things even beyond bags. I think A LOT about it and research, especially if it’s expensive. Sales and deals don’t even get me, as you’re still spending money in the end. I don’t shop often, but when I do, I like to spend on quality, timeless pieces.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Skincare – hands down. I don’t really bat an eye at these expenses. I regularly go to the dermatologist (acne, micro-needling), get regular facials, bought an LED mask, etc. I’ve tried to minimize the cost of my skincare products, as research will tell you that it’s all about the ingredients and not about the price of the product! I’ve always battled cystic acne since my teens – been on every sort of antibiotic, cream, with no avail and tons of scarring. It got better with a better skin routine later on and less stressors, but in my mid-20s, my body decided to go through 2nd puberty because I didn’t have a baby yet and decided to make me more attractive to potential mates by giving me hormonal acne on my jawline that gave me scars that bump out. My years of bad skin (still not great) definitely affected my self esteem and mental health so I don’t cheap out on it.
I also spend on food (groceries or restaurants). I won’t hesitate to buy that organic produce! Or a tasting menu once in awhile. Right now, my passion is houseplants. I love collecting them, taking care of them, and seeing them grow.
Since submitting your confessional back in July, did you add any new bags to the collection?
Yes, a small Chanel flap bag with top handle – a wedding gift from my mom.
How do you foresee your spending in the near future changing due to the impact of COVID-19?
I don’t foresee any changes due to COVID-19. At the end of last year, I committed to cut down on spending in general, not because of my financial situation (unchanged), but because I am satisfied and grateful for what I have and would like to more aggressively save for travel and the future.