Many of us grow up with an innate love for designer bags, and today’s confessor is no different. Growing up, he attended a catholic prep school and was envious and intrigued by the bags his classmates were carrying around school. However, it was a move to NYC for college that allowed our confessor to experiment with his personal style for the first time. After working hard as a waiter through the early college days, a Coach bag become his first bag acquisition. Eventually, he saved up to snag his first premium designer bag: a Dolce & Gabbana tote, which still holds sentimental value to this day. Though he admits to lusting after bags on social media, he stays true to his personal style and credits purchases to his influence alone. Like many of us, this confessor grows more responsible with his finances as he gets older. Read the full confessional below and be sure to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Male
Location: New York
Occupation: Corporate Event Management
Household Income: $200,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 14
What bags are in your collection?
Chanel boy bag: Large, black, smooth calfskin, silver HW
Loewe puzzle bag: Large, black
Balenciaga Agneau Classic Part Time: Medium, red, gunmetal HW
Givenchy Pepe Pandora: Large, beige, gold HW
Louis Vuitton Speedy 35: Damier Ebene
Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM: Classic monogram
Louis Vuitton Keepall 50: Classic monogram
D&G Dolce and Gabbana Multi Pocket Tote: Grey nylon with black leather trim
Plus 6 or 7 Coach bags, mostly the Bleecker model
How much is your collection worth? $20,000
What is your most expensive bag? Large Chanel Boy Bag
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? D&G tote, it was the first “premium designer” bag I purchased new, and my Chanel Boy, as it was a 30th birthday gift
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it?
I attended a Catholic prep school for my high school years, and most of the girls there carried Coach and Dooney and Bourke bags. I was always fascinated by the bags, but as a male was afraid to dive into the handbag world. I didn’t want to be made fun of, and I was sure that carrying a designer bag would mean no turning back from being called “the gay kid”-something I was struggling with in my teen years. I attended NYU, so a move to New York City at 18 allowed me to be more expressive of who I really was. I was waiting tables, so I started buying into the Coach brand. My first bag purchase EVER was a yellow canvas Coach tote from the newly opened Men’s store on Bleecker street. It was around $350, which seemed like an absurd amount of money to 19 year old me. I remember the rush of leaving the store with the shopping bag in my hand, excited to get home and put my new bag to use. In the years to come I was an avid Coach shopper, and acquired around 20 Coach bags total. Some were purchased in the boutiques, while other purchases were made online through the Coach outlet. At age 21 I was able to save enough money to go to Bloomingdale’s in Soho to purchase my D&G Dolce and Gabbana tote. It was just below $900. That bag became the king that reigned over my Coach collection. I have since parted with most of my Coach bags, save a few favorites, but I still have my D&G bag.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? LV Pochette Metis in empreiente leather, color scarlet. I have debated purchasing a Pochette Metis for about 5 years now, but I couldn’t decide on monogram, reverse monogram, or a leather option. I have been solid on my choice of the bright red color available in the logo leather for about a year now, so I think my mind is made up. I know this bag may be old news, but I love the functionality and look of it. I know that it could seamlessly transition into my wardrobe, and that I could style it to keep it looking fresh and relevant.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Chanel Boy Bag. As my 30th birthday approached, my husband kept asking me what I wanted as a gift. I kept telling him that I wanted a Crosby record player and a nice dinner, because that’s truly what I wanted him to give me. I had decided around my 28th birthday that I would introduce a Chanel to my collection for the big 3-0, but it was important to me that it was something I bought myself. The day that I turned 30, I had a wonderful new record player in my living room and a new Boy on my closet shelf.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated?
Over the years, I have become familiar with the “pause” that occurs as people take in the sight of a male carrying a very expensive bag. Sometimes that pause is punctuated by a smile and an appreciation for my overall style, and sometimes, sadly, that pause ends on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. There have, of course, been those few interactions where people are completely disgusted with me. Some people cannot get over a man with a bag, especially when I’m carrying something that isn’t classified as a “man bag”. There have been times in the designer boutiques where I have asked to see a bag, and the client advisor has asked about the woman I’m shopping for, and I always am pleased to tell them that I am shopping for myself. I spent my younger years NOT dressing for myself, so now I am unashamed to wear exactly what I want. When someone I encounter takes my outfit into more consideration than I did, whether its good or bad, I only have one thought – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
How often do you buy new bags? I buy when the funds are in place, the bag is lusted after, and the moment feels right. I know this is probably the WORST answer to this question, but here we are.
Which stores do you frequent the most? LV, YSL, and Jeffrey in NYC are my most visited stores. I seem to always have very strange (and sometimes off-putting) experiences in Chanel boutiques, so I tend to only go in if I know exactly what I am looking for. I am guilty of being a midnight scroller, where I find myself in bed browsing SSENSE and Fashionphile on an extremely regular basis.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have made several purchases from Fashionphile, and have been more than happy with my experience every single time. I impulse purchased my Loewe bag from them about a year ago, and it has been one of the best purchases I ever made.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I have never sold a bag because it seems like too much work. I know I should get over this mentality, but I just can’t.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Whenever I stumble across an Instagram account of a guy dressed in a really cool outfit with an awesome bag, I always stop to admire. I have trained myself to ask the question “Would this bag fit in with my lifestyle?”. I have become accustomed to admiring 95% of bags I see and like on social media, but rarely investigate them further.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No, because I have never sold a bag. Maybe they are investments into the progression of my aesthetic? Geez – that last statement…ugh.
Who influences your buying decisions? Only me.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I don’t really focus on SA relationships. I am an extreme researcher, so whenever I am ready to make a purchase I’m in and out of that boutique rather quickly. There is an LV SA who has helped me several times. Funny story-I’ve never met him in person. I was after a monogram Desk Agenda, and it was “call for availability” on the website. I called, and they connected me to a store in Atlanta. I have texted him 2 or 3 times to ask about some of his inventory, and he has always been extremely helpful. Beyond that interaction, I’m not loyal.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I have my days. Sometimes all I want to do is shop, and other times I go months without going into a store.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? As much as I hate to perpetuate the stigma, I think that there are some brands that have provided me with better experiences than others. For the most part, once we get over the hurdle that I’m shopping the handbag section for myself, it’s usually smooth sailing. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a certain Chanel boutique near me that seems to fall short on the customer service side. Several times I have walked the multi-level boutique without ever being greeted. Although this is frustrating, I can’t credit it to my appearance or gender.
Who pays for your bags? Me.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not consistently, but if there is a piece I am really lusting after I will make temporary adjustments to my income distribution to accommodate the bag purchase.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? My first week living in NYC I purchased a knock off Gucci messenger bag with the intention of wearing it for school. I imagined myself wandering campus with this “stunner” of a piece. Truth be told, the bag wasn’t based off of an actual bag that was ever produced, so I was over it by the time I got it back to my dorm. I did use it once to carry groceries home, and it ended up breaking on the walk from the market to where I was living. I vowed never to buy a counterfeit bag again.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I don’t hide them, but he doesn’t notice them either. I fund them myself, so I don’t have to ask permission. He is quite a tech-savvy guy, so he spends big on gadgets and gizmos. Those, I guess, are his luxury purchases?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing that I can recall…
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I don’t think its an addiction. There was a time where I wasn’t really putting any of my income into savings and I was spending too much in general, but I have been building better habits the older I get.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Travel is something that my family has always enjoyed. I have a sister who lives in Europe, so I try to take 1 or 2 trips a year to meet up with her. I have gotten pretty savvy on how to cut travel costs (not checking luggage, buying deals through Groupon, researching cheap eats, etc). I also am very interested in interior design, but am educating myself on how to make informed and smart purchases for my home.
Anything else you would like to include? Confidence is not something that wearing a certain bag or shoes or outfit will give you. Confidence builds when you wear what you want, someone hates it, and you keep on wearing it anyway. There are times where someone will say something about the way that I look, and I feel bad because of it. This means that I am human. But so are they, so doesn’t that mean we are on an even playing field where I can continue to express myself? Fashion is what we all buy into, but the piece of ourselves that acts as an accessory to the outfit is called style. Not everyone will appreciate or like what I present to the world, but in terms of me knowing my aesthetic and how far I’ve come to build it, yeah, its in the bag.