In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a young handbag lover whose journey of collecting started just two years ago, yet her attitude towards bags is incredibly down to earth. This confessor began dipping her toes in the luxury pond with the purchase of her Saint Laurent Loulou, which commemorated her first post-college job. From there she’s safely budgeted for a slew of purchases, further delving into the world of handbags with strong pieces from Goyard, Chloé, Celine and more. She’s not afraid to shop the secondary market and typically will only buy new if they are only slightly more expensive than their pre-loved counterparts. Though only a newbie, this confessor has aimed to keep her collection light, vowing to never own more than 10 bags, which helps to remind her to really think through any purchases. Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Washington, DC
Occupation: Product Manager
Household Income: $100,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 10
What bags are in your collection?
Chloé Drew (small), two-toned blue & GHW
YSL Toy Loulou, black & SHW
Chloé Marcie (mini), neutral tan color
Goyard Anjou PM, black and tan
Chanel Medium Classic Flap, black caviar & GHW
Céline Sangle (large), taupe
Loewe Puzzle bag (small), tan
Prada Nylon Re-Edition 2005, black & SHW
Céline Classic Box Bag (medium), grey
How much is your collection worth? I paid about $18,000 for all these bags. I usually only buy bags new if they are only slightly more expensive than pre-loved bags in good condition.
What is your most expensive bag? The Chanel Medium Classic Flap
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? My most important piece is the Chanel Classic Flap because it’s been such a holy grail bag for me. I felt kind of crazy shelling out *so* much money for it, but I really wanted to reward myself for working hard and getting a raise & bonus. It’s beautiful and something I’m looking forward to passing onto my future daughters!
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I bought my YSL Toy Loulou with my job’s signing bonus right after I graduated from college. My mom has a few designer bags, but most of them were bought for utility (hobo & bucket bags) and she doesn’t follow fashion at all. Even though my parents are well off, they would never have bought me something that expensive and “unnecessary.’ Their focus was always to empower me to be financially independent and buy these luxuries for myself if I wanted them.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next?There isn’t a specific bag I’m looking to purchase next – I think I am at “purse peace” for now. While I don’t have plans to buy a bag right now, I am setting money aside to treat myself if something catches my eye or if I want to reward myself for achieving a goal.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My YSL Toy Loulou holds special sentimental [value] because it was my first designer bag ever. I bought it to commemorate graduating from college and landing my first job. I also remember stalking it online for hours until I got it for <$1000 at a Saks sale! Sometimes the chase really does make the purchase more fun and memorable
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I prefer more “low-key” bags, so I don’t own any bags with excessive logos or monograms (besides the Goyard, which is reversible, so I typically wear it with the non-logo side out). Therefore, most of my friends and family don’t know how expensive these bags are! I’m also one of the few people I know who is interested in luxury handbags. The only real difference is when I go shopping – most SAs will spot my bag and assume that I’m more likely to purchase something or that I have a baseline knowledge of what they’re selling.
How often do you buy new bags? Every few months – I try to get myself bags as rewards for personal or professional milestones. I definitely went a little overboard with shopping this year with pandemic “retail therapy!” I also haven’t been spending much of my discretionary income on the usual suspects (eating out, travel, parties), so more can go towards shopping.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I very rarely shop in-person, especially now that there’s a pandemic. Unless I know exactly what I want, shopping in-store often distracts me and it’s tempting to buy something I didn’t plan to buy! I mostly research and buy online.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I absolutely buy second-hand bags. I think it makes a lot of sense, both financially and environmentally. About half my bags are second-hand. I’ve only purchased from Fashionphile and Rebag, since their return policies give me peace of mind.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I haven’t sold any old bags yet, because I only started collecting 2 years ago and I still get use out of my bags! I’ve vowed to never own more than 10 bags though (we’ll see if that holds up), so I’ll start selling once I reach that limit.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I do sometimes! I don’t have an Instagram because I think it would be bad for my mental health, so I don’t get swayed by IG influencers.
I went to private school in New York City growing up, and went to a preppy, Ivy-League University as well. A lot of the very wealthy students had such amazing bags and clothing, which made me feel pressured to “keep up with the Joneses.” Needless to say, it was unhealthy and impossible, so I hope I’ve learned my lesson and am more mindful about my shopping now! It’s really helpful to take a step back and be grateful for what I already have (no student loans, a healthy family, etc).
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Absolutely not. I don’t buy my bags with the intention of selling them, and after commissions and fees, very few bags will even break even. I think it also helps me be more intentional about buying bags – I think of the money I spend on them as being “gone forever.”
Who influences your buying decisions? I use Youtube as a research tool though, so I get influenced by Youtubers and their amazing collections. I also do research on Purse Forum, so I get a lot of inspiration from y’all!
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? They’re not, since I mostly buy online. I don’t think I’ve developed enough opinions or experience to buy a lot of pieces from one brand or another!
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? It’s a way to treat myself when I’m feeling stressed or if I’ve accomplished something. I’ve loved fashion even before I could afford anything high-end, so I feel like participating in something I’m passionate about (even as a consumer) justifies my hard work.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I’ve experienced both excellent and inferior service due to my appearance and ethnicity! I am young-looking and of Asian descent, so I’ve had times when I’ve gone into stores without wearing anything designer and been completely ignored by SAs. I do think being Asian can help sometimes though, when I dress up a bit and look more “expensive,” SAs are really helpful and probably assume I’m some rich international student haha. Although I’ve still never been in a Hermès store because I haven’t been able to work up the courage!
Who pays for your bags? Just me. I’m lucky to be young, with a relatively high salary and no dependents.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I don’t have a budget for bag purchases specifically. After I get my paycheck, I pay for my rent, utilities, and other necessities first. I set aside money for my emergency fund and investment account after that, and then the rest is discretionary (about $2,000/month). I try to always keep a couple thousand dollars in my discretionary “fund” that I spend on travel, going out, and shopping.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? When I was in high school, I bought a crappy LV wristlet from a sidewalk vendor in Chinatown. The quality was terrible and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even based on a real item produced by LV! I’ve never bought anything counterfeit since. I don’t have strong opinions about anyone else buying counterfeit items, but personally, it cheapens the experience of buying a luxury item and the feeling of working hard for it.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Kind of! My boyfriend is in medical school right now, so he pretty much has no income. I don’t tell him how much my purchases are because he has zero interest in fashion. I also want to be considerate/mindful that his budget is much more limited and he can’t just buy expensive things that he wants.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I’m pretty boring, so I haven’t done anything crazy! I try to save $1,000 a month (on top of my 401k) and I dipped into those savings once for bag.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I think I’m lucky enough that my shopping hasn’t ever been a financial burden. However, I have to ask myself whether I want a bag because I’ll love it and use it, or if I want it because I’ve seen other people with it and want to “keep up.”
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Like a lot of other people in this community, I enjoy good food, luxury fashion, and travel!