In today’s installment of closet confessionals we meet an American lawyer who is living in the City of Lights. This determined handbag lover started collecting bags in high school and though her very first baby was a Coach bag, now she’s moved on to the other big C — Chanel along with Saint Laurent, Dior, Gucci and more. This determined collector recently broke into the world of Hermès with the purchase of a Boldie bag and self-admittedly, she’s now hooked! As a Middle Easterner living abroad, this confessor has unfortunately dealt with the realities of inferior service. Though she doesn’t typically stick to one SA, her quest for a Kelly has changed that. Navigating the H world for the first time can be thrilling and fun, and this confessor admits it felt strange at first but now enjoys the game of the hunt. Overall this confessor’s attitude towards luxury is refreshingly wise and insightful. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Paris, France
Household Income: $230,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 18
What bags are in your collection?
Hermès Boldie 31 Gold PHW
Chanel Urban Spirit Large
Chanel Mini Flap
Diorama WOC Gold Cannage
Saint Laurent Sac du Jour Large
Saint Laurent Sac du Jour Small
Saint Laurent Kelly Tassle
Gucci Soho Disco
Gucci Bamboo top handle
Chloe Faye Small
Coach cross body
Coach shoulder purse
Furla top handle
Louis Vuitton mini pochette
Longchamp Pliage (two)
Mini Kate Spade Crossbody
How much is your collection worth? Not sure. Based on the price of bags at the time bought – maybe $25,000+
What is your most expensive bag? My Hermès Bolide 31 in gold with PHW. It was a gift from my husband and my first and only Hermès bag.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? It used to be Saint Laurent. But now that I have broken into the world of Hermès, I completely understand the obsession and cannot wait to add more to my collection.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? A family friend got me a gold Coach shoulder bag for graduation (I believe it was for high school).
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I have my heart set on an Hermès Kelly Retourne 28 in a light color (such as gris perle or craie). Would also love to get a birkin 30 in bleu marine or etain.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My black croc-embossed sac du jour in small. It was the first luxury bag my husband bought for me (push present for when I returned to work after maternity leave). It’s the most sentimental bag I own and one that I will cherish forever. It’s also an amazing bag. It’s classy and versatile. I don’t have to baby it and it still looks amazing. Saint Laurent holds a special place in my heart in general and I own two other pieces from the brand. The first luxury handbag I purchased when I started working was the large sac du jour (though it’s so impractical, I understand why it was discontinued).
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I think so. I am an American living in France, but I am also a visible minority of Middle Eastern background. Middle Easterners are not treated that well here unless they have money. A handbag can make a big difference in how people perceive you.
How often do you buy new bags? It depends. Some years I won’t buy any at all and other years I will go all out. Last year, during confinement, I went on a spending spree. Added my Diorama, first Chanel purchases, and the Bolide. I wouldn’t normally spend this much in a year, but I wanted to build up my collection and found more time to do so while working from home.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Lately, Chanel and Hermès. I generally love large department stores as well.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I try to buy new to avoid being paranoid about counterfeits. But I finally bought second-hand last year. As soon as I heard the Diorama was being discontinued, I set out to buy one. It was my holy grail bag for the longest time (I don’t know why I waited!). In the end, I couldn’t find it in stores so bought it off VC. I got it in a color I would not normally buy and I am so glad I did. The condition was impeccable and I used information I could gather from the PurseForum to make sure it was not a fake.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I never have, but I am starting to think I should. I don’t have much space in my apartment and I do think it is wasteful to have so many bags sitting in my closet unused. It would be nice to pass them along to someone who could enjoy them. I haven’t brought myself to sell any yet, because I am attached to most of my bags.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? A little? I love following lifestyle and fashion vloggers (especially when I need a mindless activity to distract from work). I am sure that constantly watching such content puts pressure on me to buy more bags. But I like to think that I only buy bags I actually love and will use (that’s what I tell myself at least). Sometimes, watching videos of people with 30-40 bags actually makes me realize that I don’t want to have that many and that maybe (just maybe) there is such a thing as too many bags.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not a financial investment. I don’t think we can ever predict what the bag market will truly look like in 10, 20, or 30 years. I suppose Hermès is the safest in terms of a financial investment, but I don’t think that’s a guarantee either. So I never purchase bags as investments. I only buy bags that I love. That said, I do believe that bag purchases can be investments in happiness. I always feel a little better when I get to carry a bag I love.
Who influences your buying decisions? My little sister! She is incredibly stylish and was the one who got me to fall in love with bags. As I said above, I also love watching vloggers so I get a lot of style inspiration from them.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Only for securing a quota bag from Hermès. I am a newbie so still trying to figure out how it all works. It feels like I am going out with a new guy and I am trying to navigate the relationship. What are the boundaries? Is it ok to message? Did the SA take too long to respond? I find myself dissecting every word he says. Constantly checking my email to see if he will reach out. It’s weird, but also fun. At first I resented the fact that you couldn’t just walk into the store and say I want x, y , and z. Now it feels more like a game and I don’t mind.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I love the feeling I get when I buy a new handbag. I don’t feel the same way about shoes or clothes. Shopping for shoes and clothes can even give me anxiety. But buying a new handbag, one that I’ve lusted after for a while, is a different experience. I can’t really explain it. My husband thinks I shop because my work is demanding and it makes me feel better to spend that money on tangible things. He might be right (don’t tell him that). But in the end, buying and wearing handbags makes me happy.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Only Hermès. At the flagship store in Paris, they can be very rude. I have been going to the other branches and the SAs are much nicer.
Who pays for your bags? I generally like to buy my own bags. My parents and husband have bought bags for me too. I am grateful they encourage my guilty pleasure.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, I just make sure I have enough money saved and that I have spent what I need to on essentials and family first.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Nope.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Nope.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing comes to mind, although my quest for an Hermès K or B have turned me into an Hermès store stalker.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? When the only thing I can talk about is shopping, I know I have a problem. It’s usually because I am so stressed from work or feeling a bit down. I might also make impulse purchases. So when that happens, I try to deal with the underlying problem.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Pre-Covid, definitely travel. Living in Europe is such a blessing in that respect as most places are a train or short plane ride away.
Anything else you would like to include? I know that this year has been very difficult for a lot of people (financially, emotionally, etc.). In some ways, it feels wrong to talk about spending money on bags when so many people (especially women – at disproportionately higher rates) have lost their jobs and are struggling. It can definitely create internal tension and give rise to feelings of guilt (at least it does for me). At the same time, discussing and lusting over handbags sparks joy and happiness for me. It can be a much-needed reprieve. I hope it brings the same joy and happiness to you!