In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a late twenties investor who lives in New York City. Her bag collection spans many brands, though she admits that her Chanel bags are some of the most important pieces in her collection, as they were gifted by her loving parents. Though today’s confessor is now married and financially able to support herself, she admits that it has been hard learning how to budget and save for the things that she wants, expressing that she’s only just started to learn the power of budgeting. Saving for an Hermès bag is a big goal for this confessor, but she knows it would mean 2-3 years on a bag-buying ban to accomplish. Like many of us, she’s often tempted or influenced by social media, which makes waiting to experience the thrill of the purchase so hard. Read the full confessional below and don’t forget to submit your own.
Gender Identity: Female
Location: New York, NY
Industry: Venture Capital
Household Income: $1,000,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 17
What bags are in your collection?
Chanel Coco Mini Handle – Black w/ Gold Hardware
Chanel Boy Mini – Grey Metallic
Chanel Classic Flap – Dark Navy w/ Silver Hardware
Louis Vuitton Soft Trunk – Black Mesh
Louis Vuitton Neverfull – Classic Monogram
Dior Saddle Bag – Classic Monogram
Prada Saffiano Double – Grey Leather
Prada Hobo Pochette – Black w/ Silver Hardware
Bottega Veneta The Pouch 20 – Camello
YSL Y Cabas – Dust Pink
Celine Canvas Tote
Balenciaga Mini Bazar – Yellow
Celine Trapeze – Electric Blue
Balenciaga Clasp Tote – Black w/ dual done hardware
Mulberry Bayswater – Grey Suede
Staud – Mini Shirley in PVC White
Edie Parker – Monogrammed Clutch
How much is your collection worth? $40,000
What is your most expensive bag? Louis Vuitton Soft Trunk in Mesh.
It was a special edition of FW19 under Virgil Abloh. I fell in love with the material the moment I laid my eyes on it. Classic Louis Vuitton patterned stitched in relief over see through mesh material. It felt sexy, forbidden, modern, and subtle all at the same time. I was ambivalent towards the shape of Soft Trunk (I love structure but it’s designed to be a Mens bag so the dimensions can look a bit boxy on female figure), but I loved the material so much, I purchased any way. I was late to discovering this bag, and the only available one in the U.S. was a returned bag with some small flaws (matte black metal can chip easily). I love to admire this bag at home – its structured shape and see-through material makes it look like a sculptural masterpiece.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Most sentimental brands in my collection are all Chanels. I grew up with very loving parents. I haven’t lived with them in the same country since high school, so whenever they see me, they’d like to treat me to a bag. Chanel has always been their go-to. I have 5 Chanels in total, but I lost my classic Reissue 2.55 during my many moves. I have no idea what happened (I was super clumsy as a young adult) and feel pangs of guilt whenever this memory surfaces.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 17 years old in HS, when I got my first Coach. It was a hot pink patent leather tote, yikes!
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? 3 year goal: I really want the mini Kelly in Black / Brown. It’s so classy, timeless and cute. Immediate goal: I’ve been after Bottega Veneta Padded Cassette. I have been thinking about this bag for four months and was sad when they discontinued Paper Calf material. However, I’m not sure how classic / time enduring this bag will be, and may want to save up for a structured “classic”, e.g. Petit Malle, instead.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My YSL Y Cabas in Pink. I was working in London for a while and had a rough time adjusting to everything. Work and life had been particularly stressful and I was looking for an outlet to spend money. I lived within walking distance of Selfridges and would peruse every weekend. One night, I came across this bag in pale dusty pink and bought it on the stop (I’m very impulsive). It’s in this delicate lamb skin and is so feminine. I haven’t used the bag as much as I had hoped but it reminds me of a very special time in my life.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes. As much as I hate to admit, I wear nice bags to elevate the visual status (especially when I am dressing more casually). However, I can’t tell if I love bags because they elevate my status or because I love them purely for aesthetics.
How often do you buy new bags? I go through phases (there was 2-3 years when I didn’t buy new bags). This year, I bought 3 bags year to date! Going forward, I want to budget for 1 new edition a year.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Chanel
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have not yet, but have been dying to try it out!
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I finally started doing this, and got rid of 4-5 bags to fund my BV Pouch 20 purchase. It shows me how little value most of these name brands retain, except Chanel, of course.
I have sold my bags via Yoogi’S Closet (very fair price), and Vestiaire Collective. I treat my bags not too kindly, so RealReal has rejected some of my goods.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Instagram is the worst. My shopaholic tendencies definitely increase exponentially the longer time I spend on the platform. For example, I didn’t like Bottega’s Padded Cassette at first, but seeing it all over influencer’s pages made me change my mind.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I did not used to, but when I saw how little value some of my bags have retained (even for brands like YSL, Celine), and how some of my bags have held up value (Chanel), I am vowing to be more careful before making new purchases. For this reason, I rather save up 2-3 years for a Hermes but I love instant gratification. Can I hold on for that long?
Who influences your buying decisions? Instagram. Sadly!
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I never used to care, but now I am more deliberate about the relationship I am building with them. So I would have the SAS at each store in my contact book.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I am definitely a shopaholic and buying bags give me a huuuuge rush.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? No. I am Asian, so wherever I go, SAs think I have the money to spend.
Who pays for your bags? Out of my bag collection, most were paid for by my parents (gifts). Despite the salary I make, I always had trouble with budgeting and it’s a bit shameful to admit that sometimes I still need to rely on my parents for financial support. However, I finally turned a page with budgeting / saving, so that’s why I am determined to save up for my next purchase. My husband makes more than I do, but I would never ask him to help fund my bag purchases, nor would he want to (not because he’s stingy, he just thinks they are a waste of money vs. Practical items, even if it cost a lot). He has not bought me any bags.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes. I am trying to budget for $3,500 bag a year. That’s why budgeting for a Hermes is difficult because it would imply 2-3 years of no bags.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No but I have been tempted. I came across some very authentic Dior Book Tote but decided against it at the last minute.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Yes.. More like gifts from my parents. He used to get mad that I would let them spend that much on me. I would not hide my own purchases because he knows I would have saved up for it. I would still hide gifts from my parents though, kinda like Crazy Rich Asian style.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Sell 2 bags, bracelet, two pairs of shoes, on consignment platform to pay for it (LV Soft Trunk in Mesh)
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yea, for sure. I am not sure why I am so materialistic but they do make me happy. I do believe my shopaholic tendencies have created an unhealthy obsession with money, for me.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Traveling is very expensive and I am a semi-professional photographer.. I am currently eying some Leica gear that cost as much as Hermes (and retains value just as well). So my budgeting dilemma has now become undoubtedly complex!
Anything else you would like to include? Take good care of your bags. If the bag you want is not Chanel / Hermes, buy from re-sell market. Invest in timeless pieces only. Suede only looks good, it’ll get ruined soon.