Today we’re diving deep into the shopping habits and mindset of a late-twenties arts professional hailing from Down Under. Unlike most people her age, this millennial isn’t big on social media and refuses to be swayed by influencers or the marketing techniques of brands. Though living in Paris greatly influenced her relationship with bags as “design houses were the lifeblood of that city,” she’s a smart shopper and makes sure that her purchases are well thought out. Her collection is modest and purposefully streamlined, and even though she enjoys bags, she refuses to be defined by them. Raised to be kind to others and treat everyone the same, today’s confessor is incredibly down to earth about her relationship towards shopping and designer goods. Ultimately, she loves the world of luxury fashion and is enthralled by designer’s new creations, but she still firmly believes that there are more important things in life. Read the full confessional below and be sure to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 27
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Sydney, AUS
Occupation: Publicity Assistant
Industry: Arts
Salary: $60,000
Household Income: $280,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? Five

What bags are in your collection?
Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Damier Azur
Balenciaga Classic City in Black Suede (lush and glossy!) like the perfect pet that melts on your lap.
Dolce and Gabbana Majolica Print Mini Sicily
2x Michael Kors pastel pink cross body bags (to travel and use roughly)

How much is your collection worth? 7000AUD / 4200Euros

What is your most expensive bag? Balenciaga Classic City. The SA I chose to deal with quickly became a good friend outside of her work. She was one of my first friends in Paris as both her and I were of Asian descent. She took me to the best Chinese restaurants and showed me around the city. We bonded!

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I wouldn’t call it a collection, as I’ve deliberately kept it minimal (judging by their sizes, they serve specific occasions), but I’d say the Dolce Majolica print. I had been eyeing all the Majolica bags since I discovered the world of designer bags two years ago. I was thrilled to have by chance, come across one that was 40% off that day in Paris in Bicester Village Outlet store. Best. Buy. Ever. I match it with all my white outfits – the print is an absolute joy and pop of colour. Pure artistry to dazzle the world with. (If you haven’t seen it, google Majolica Dolce&Gabbana)

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 23. I wanted a Neverfull. A great entry level piece, easy to match outfits with and a trusty work horse to travel with. I traveled a lot when I used to work as a marketing consultant. Had made the purchase when I lived in Paris.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I haven’t spied any new Majolica prints in Dolce & Gabbana for several years now, (can someone tell me if they’ve discontinued the bags??). But I do want another. The Sicily bags are incredibly robust, and the majolica prints are the epitome of the Mediterranean aesthetic and reminds me of the delicious European summer evenings. I can imagine a whole collection if I had my way. But the more you have, and I know myself, the bags become more diluted in meaning for me.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? They all hold meaning for me, there’s story behind each of them. Whether it be a travel experience, a reward for my own self employed work or meeting life long friends in the process.

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

In Sydney there are a good number of designer handbags being worn. I would equate it to the laid back vibe of West Coast USA. Everyone is stylish and have their own stamp of fashion sense. So no, I don’t think I receive any particular difference in treatment. And it’s not like I’m carrying an Hermes. However, I have a thought that I want to ask our community on PurseBlog, whether anyone else feels the way I do:

I’ve always felt designer bags should proportionally reflect what your income is. ie. a $3000 bag should be worn by someone who earns $300k net income. That’s because they can afford it without flinching as it’s only 1% of their earnings. My mind’s always worked that way – and unfortunately, I feel bit of the imposter syndrome wearing designer. I struggle to justify my own purchases. My internal debate starts up and a persistent thought is: why am I spending thousands on a bag that essentially holds a bit of cash and my phone?

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Designer bags, definitely not often. I’m glad I learnt the more bags I have, the less I wear them as they’re no longer special to me. But I need to apply my learnings to shoes! Mind you, I do buy designer bags and shoes when they’re discounted in stores. I don’t buy second hand to avoid fakes.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I really don’t frequent many. I probably did so more when I lived in Paris, as design houses were the lifeblood of that city. It’s too painful to see my bank account take a dive after a big purchase, so I make sure that the item is really worth it first.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? No. And this is a serious cautionary tale. Vestaire Collective is a joke. Yes there are genuine articles for sale but if you don’t TRULY know a product inside and out, you’re susceptible to being conned. They don’t care, the staff aren’t experts at all brands, all models and all vintages. They’re simply a trading platform, nothing more. I purchased an Herve dress, and thankfully, I insisted on the refunded by walking right into their office in the 15th arrondissement. Otherwise it’s a pain staking process to get your money back, when you buy internationally.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, don’t see the point as most bags never recoup the price you originally paid. I’d rather gift it to a younger friend who’ll treasure and enjoy it. But my non designer items, I sell on FB Marketplace.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I use to, but I think it’s an age thing. When you’re just buying your first item, you realise you need bags in different sizes. But once the basics are met, the urge substantially dissipates. Until I spot a brand new Majolica!

Marketing doesn’t work on me either. I don’t use Instagram and barely any other social (rare for my age I know). I work in the industry I know the addictive nature of social media and refuse to covet “likes” and “followers”. I love meeting new people and spending time with them in person.

Most importantly, my line of work doesn’t require pretentious facades and keeping up with the Jones’. It’s the Arts after all. We’re laid back as an industry.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Strictly speaking no. But shares are an investment as you could double your money in a week, compared to the Chanel bag market, which are more like blue chips. What can I say? I like to live on the edge.

Who influences your buying decisions? I like my close girl friends’ opinions. But that’s because I enjoy shopping with them. Ultimately, they have different tastes to me, so I make my own decisions.

BUT! I love three amazing YouTube fashionistas. Laura Blair, Lydia Ellis Millen and Josie (Fashion Mumblr). They can inspire my looks or challenge me to consider something totally out of character.
For technical reviews on bags, I enjoy Chase Amie. And I follow none of them on Instagram.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Yes, I’d love to have a positive experience with human decency. I’ve been brought up to treat everyone kindly and as a friend would. I don’t understand any sales person who can patronise people with their vulgar service. It’s a strange world luxury shopping. But no, just like I don’t believe in Loyalty cards, I don’t believe in getting too close to an SA, as I’ll end up spending more than I would have otherwise.

However! Consider making genuine friends with someone if you do get along. My Balenciaga SA I actually befriended for the purposes of learning from her, having just moved to a new city. She taught me French and much more about the fashion industry in France. Remember these lovely people also aren’t defined by their jobs. You can make friends anywhere if you’re open to it!

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Shopping in general: It is like strolling through room after room of art, which you can afford and wear beautifully on your body. It’s a multi sensory experience of pleasure and creative inspiration. I do love the long awaited girlfriend outing and chat catch ups while shopping.

For the same reason, I love browsing massive book stores. You can get lost in your own world and learn so much.

To be frank, I was shopping without a real purpose when I was the unhappiest in my life. So I know it’s a double edged sword in the mental space. Can bring you joy as well as unproductivity.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I’ve had Parisian SAs that are jaded and they “don’t have time for you”. In all honesty too, it’s not like I’m mesmerised by all their products. So much of it is not that appealing to wear or use. I can’t compare it to walking into a Zimmerman store though, because everything in there is beautiful to wear and touch. The old world arrogance doesn’t excuse them from lacking basic courtesy of a cordial “bonjour” to a customer.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I currently do. I work hard across multiple jobs when I was younger and saved up for my purchases. My most recent one wasn’t a bag, but a beautiful CDC 24 Hermes bracelet in Gold on Gold. Matches everything I wear it with. Versatility is key for me. For special occasions my partner may buy sentimental jewellery.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes and no. I’m responsible with my money. We contribute to a mortgage together. I’ve never had a flash car, although we could afford one.

I research very thoroughly before I buy. So that when my account takes a little nose dive, it’s completely worth it in my mind. Mental preparation I say!

I rarely shop for other items. Never shopped ASOS, or Amazon in my life (Then why do I still feel guilty for spending on designer bags, like I haven’t earned it?) – probably something I should address with my counselor next time – unless our lovely community can share their thoughts? I’m always willing to learn, especially from lovely people who are more experienced than myself.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Nope. I see designer items are a reward of sorts. A sign of hard work and perseverance to get to where I am and be able to celebrate my hard work.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No I don’t hide it, but I never tell him how much the price tag was. He doesn’t need to know, or he can google it. Haha. He doesn’t ask anyways. Let’s put it this way. He used to buy plane tickets based on his favourite airline, and never considered the price. I was the one who showed him how to fly economically. We spend on our own respective indulgences and respect each other’s decisions within reason.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? It wasn’t to get a bag, but I used to have a benefactor who I casually dated and could afford me luxuries here and there. That changed quickly, into a genuine relationship. The crazy part was to let it become a genuine relationship! It worked out. We just really really liked each other, and that became love.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Absolutely. I have to be real here.

There was a period after I left my first job (it was mentally catastrophic) and for a year I had no idea what to do with myself. In that job, I was in a team where all my superiors talked down to me and held me solely responsible for their incompetent management. It was the blame game on me every single day until I had enough and left. Twice, I cried so hard I vomited in the bathroom. They were foul humans. The company was fine, but my team was notorious for the last decade to chew and spit out people like garbage.

So I wondered was I really that worthless in the job market? I had nightmares of being berated and belittled. With all these insecurities, I started looking at aspirational fashion personas on YouTube. I learnt a lot from them but also became a little too obsessed with seeking status signifying designer items.

It’s the hunt and research that gives you the thrill and keeps you busy. I’ve learnt, that too shall pass.

The way I overcame it was by countering my urges with really logical thoughts. You’re put on this earth and you stop growing in body size once you hit adulthood. Then why do we buy 4 seasons a year, when the clothes you bought at 20 can fit you perfectly well season after season? You quickly do the maths and realise the tens of thousands wasted in clothes alone. Not even including designer bags and shoes! Strictly speaking, nobody needs more clothes after the first lot they buy as young adults.. If Covid hasn’t taught us that, then I don’t know what will! Staying in isolation is very low maintenance.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Pre covid it use to be fine dining and cocktails. But I’ve not had a single drink (even at home) since Feb this year. I realise I can certainly live without. I do spend on traveling and staying at beautiful places. I’m very fortunate to have a partner who can afford us these occasional luxuries.

Otherwise my hobbies aren’t expensive. I love open market shopping, opshopping and FB marketplace home furniture shopping (new home). Painting and dance classes aren’t extravagant expenses.

Anything else you would like to include? Thank you for taking the time to read my contribution. I realised writing this has been cathartic and I learnt that I am a very dichotomous person. I don’t shop online, I don’t use social media and I don’t spend big on designer. But I do love the world of designer and am stimulated by their new creations. I just wish I didn’t feel so guilty about spending up. But the argument rings in my mind that our basic human needs are met the moment we hit adulthood.

Why are we still buying more clothes?

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