Today’s installment of Closet Confessionals is a sweet and relatable one! We meet a young NYC marketing professional whose love for bags is something she shares with her mom. As a child she loved frequenting outlet stores with her mother and she fondly remembers her mom’s beloved premium designer bag: a Louis Vuitton Alma from the early 2000s. Though this confessor is only 24, her attitude towards shopping and life in general is admirable. She not only shops to save space in her 400 square foot apartment, but she carefully budgets for things like shopping and fitness classes. She appreciates the beauty of the arts and thus was recently inspired to purchase a Yuzefi Daria bag, which spoke to her creative side. Like many of us in our early-twenties, this confessor’s collection is just beginning, though she does admit to being quite a minimalist. She grew up with a modest background which has allowed her to put everything she has in perspective. Read on for more and be sure to submit your own below!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: New York City
Occupation: Product Manager
Household Income: $300,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 4 bags, 2 card cases
What bags are in your collection?
Yuzefi Daria Bag
Ted Baker Proter Bag
Royal Republiq Crossbody Leather Bag
Dagne Dover Allyn Tote
Dagne Dover Card Cases (2)
How much is your collection worth? About $1,500.00
What is your most expensive bag? My most expensive bag would be my Yuzefi Daria bag, which retails for about $450.00. Lucky for me, I got it for a major discount on Shopbop (in April) during this whole crisis, so I paid more like $300.00 for it.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection?
The Yuzefi Daria! I would say I bought it as a symbol of personal hope for a Summer 2020. I recently moved back to NYC to be with my partner – and it actually took me a lot of hard work and sacrifice to be here – so I was desperately looking forward to that dream of a NY summer I had idealized for so long.
If you can’t tell by the size of my “collection”, I’m fairly minimalistic. I know I have the means to have a much larger collection, but I have like six bags total if you count the card cases. Because I live in less than 400 sq ft with a partner, there is literally NO room and I have to be extremely selective of bags that combine form + function in my life and elevate my wardrobe as well.
I always like to be progressing towards something, changing, improving. After I graduated from college, I sold off the majority of the more contemporary brands I owned, like Kate Spade and Coach. Most of the bags I had during college had been purchased on mega sale at outlets and were mostly purchased due to their price point rather than truly jibing with my style. Some I regretted (re never used), and others had been surprising workhorses, but nevertheless had to go.
One aspect of my life I could improve during this quarantine was my style. I knew that the next step in my wardrobe progression was more of an “art” bag – one that nods to creativity and subtly luxurious. The Yuzefi felt so unique to me, in terms of its structure and mixed materials. The minute I saw it, I knew I wanted it. And the rest of the Yuzefi collection too, so stunning and beautiful.
My logical mind actually felt ridiculous to be spending the type of money I did on this bag given how many people are struggling during this COVID crisis, and especially since I have nowhere to go, but it was nevertheless important to me. At this point, it seems like Summer 2020 is not happening in NYC, which makes me a little sad, but I think this one could transition to fall actually. Fingers crossed.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I come from a lower middle class background, and so didn’t have much materially growing up, but my mom has always loved handbags. She has scores and scores of Coach, MK, Dooney & Bourke, and a single, prized Louis Vuitton Alma, which she got in Soho in the mid 2000s before 2008. For right under $1000 (on sale)! Holy hell.
We regularly frequented the outlets, and one of her Dooney & Bourke purchases resulted in a freebie, which was my first Dooney & Bourke. It was rainbow monogram mini messenger bag. So cute! I remember carrying it to school, hidden in my backpack because I was so proud and excited, but also too self conscious of seeming like I wanted to be one of the popular girls who carried around their Coach bags in the light of day.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I swear I have an unhealthy obsession with card cases. Most likely because they’re small and don’t take up too much space… I’ve been looking at the YSL Card Case for over 2 years. And no, not the one with the monogram, the Business Card Case which I would then use like a wallet (though I don’t judge people who love the monogram).
I like to generally keep my designer purchases as low-key and quiet as possible. Most of my collection is neutral colored, versatile. They are mainly for me, as a symbol of my hard work. But I’d be lying if I said I was never tempted towards something flashier, that would result in better service and attention whenever I’m out and about. I tend to dress more casually to be comfortable (think nice shirt + jeans + clean white sneakers + gold jewelry), but I am not keen on dressing more formally overall. I’ve also looked perpetually 15 since 15, so maybe that’s why I get ignored in shops. I feel like a more obvious bag could spice things up. It’s not pretty, but it’s the reality of life.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Dagne Dover Allyn tote, which my partner gifted me for our third anniversary. It was so nice of him, especially because I know he doesn’t give a crap about luxury things. He probably bought it full price too, because he knows nothing about e-commerce discounting and acquisition offers, which makes it even cuter. Dagne Dover is top notch in terms of quality and function. The leather is really just superb at this price point.
My only regret is that now my work laptop at my new role is 15″ instead of 13″, and I can no longer really use it. One day!
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I would think so, but toted around a nice bag in enough shops to tell. Most of my purchases have been online.
When I used to go outlet shopping with my mom, I normally didn’t get any attention, but probably because I was young. Plus my mother is always carrying a bag apropos to those outlet stores, so any difference in treatment wasn’t probably due to the bag.
I did once purchase a gold pencil case (during high school) at Kate Spade NYC for full price, and I was not dressed with any designer bag in tow. I remember counting out the coins because I paid in cash! The SA was super kind and helpful regardless, thoughtfully suggesting using it as a clutch as well – which I did all throughout college until I sold it during a decluttering phase.
How often do you buy new bags? There is no rhyme or reason. It has mainly been sporadic throughout the three years I’ve been working. Maybe once or twice a year?
I used to own tons of non-branded bags (during college) from the likes of F21, but got rid of those at the end of college.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I would say Dagne Dover is my favorite affordable practical bag brand. Other than that I don’t really “frequent” any stores. However, I’m looking forward to continuing to make careful, considered purchases down the road. I love the look of Céline (Philo era) designs, Yuzefi, and the Chanel Boy bags.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? No. Finding out I accidentally purchased a fake would just be so disappointing I would not invest the effort to vet second-hand bags.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, but I’ve sold old bags that are not used anymore or don’t match my style anymore.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I do feel a pressure not to purchase MORE, but to purchase more CONSIDERED bags, especially due to Instagram. I follow a lot of female photographers, and admire their lifestyles from afar.
It’s less of a need to appear well-off and more of a desire to my everyday existence be enmeshed with some artistic consideration. I really do believe that art & beauty is important in everyday life, and bags are part of that overall vision. Part of pulling the trigger on the Yuzefi bag was the designer’s story, her unique vision, my belief in supporting female entrepreneurship.
Bags, objects, homewares, anything with widespread mass appeal – all become a little less appealing to me.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Nope.
I’ve made investments in the market that are doing fine. It’s nice to know, though that if you intended to, you could essentially buy, use, and resell a Chanel for very little due to its retained value. If I ever did purchase a bag so expensive, I’d take that into consideration.
Who influences your buying decisions? Women artists such as Alice Gao, Shini Park, Licheng Ling, Fong Min Liao.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No, I mainly purchase bags online. Whenever I shop in person, I don’t like pushy SAs so I tend to avoid SAs overall.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I do enjoy browsing sometimes. Actually, if there’s something specific I’m looking for, it becomes too stressful. I have the most fun when I’m not looking for anything in particular.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not that I recall.
Who pays for your bags? I do, with the exception of the tote my boyfriend gifted me.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I set aside a wardrobe budget overall of about $300 per month. I’ve averaged spending $2-3k per year on clothing + bags overall.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Not because I couldn’t afford a designer item, but because I was just too fascinated and got swept up.
Not proud of this, but I did once on trip to Shanghai with a college women’s business group. It was my first international trip as a young adult, and I was just so excited overall. We had heard of the secret shops at Shanghai Nanjing road and were infinitely curious about these secret shops. The shop people actually took us in to a secret room hidden behind a wall of regular wallets. It was actually like in those spy movies. I thought I was going to be murdered and my organs sold – they had everything in there: Celine, Prada, Gucci, you name it.
I purchased a fake Prada wallet for about $50, which I never ended up using because it was so obviously fake. I knew it as I handed over the money. But I gotta tell you, the quality of the leather and zipper (like butter) was so incredibly good I was gobsmacked. It was better than some of the designer goods in the US, for example Michael Kors and Coach.
Nowadays I wouldn’t purchase a fake. I’d never feel comfortable carrying it out.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, I don’t need to because it’s my money. I pulled in over $200k last year, and I’ll spend as I damn please without shame! His fancy computer setup cost more than any of my bags. Plus our home is too small for that to be a possibility.
Maybe this would change if we got married?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing really comes to mind. Maybe I’d do something crazy like start a side business in the next year or so to fund a Bottega bag. I love the Pouch!
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Sometimes, especially during this quarantine I’ve felt the need to buy something – anything. I think it’s mainly boredom that causes me to shop, so I’ve tried to refocus my energy on new projects. I’m a huge sucker for decor and design objects, so sometimes I go a little crazy there.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Oh yes, absolutely. I love attending boutique fitness classes through ClassPass and yoga as well. Before this quarantine I used to spend upwards for $300/month on fitness in general. To put this in perspective, I used to just go to a gym in my previous apt building and it was so depressing overall. I felt so uninspired and dreaded every gym session. No more! ClassPass + yoga bring such joy to my life, and really help me release tension after a 10-11 hr workday. I really hope I can get back to these soon after this crisis is over.
Also eating out at fancy NYC restaurants, home decor + organization are my biggest weaknesses. I’m a sucker for sensual experiences.
Oh, I’m an amateur photographer! Gear is expensive 🙂
Anything else you would like to include? I didn’t grow up with all of this fanciness. I know I own many fewer handbags than other folks in these confessionals, but to put it in perspective with the background I grew up in, and my overall lifestyle, I feel like I have so much. I’m very grateful that the education I obtained and the awesome career that followed has afforded me all of this so early in life.