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In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a 30-something lawyer hailing from the Windy City. This handbag lover grew up loving and appreciating fashion and aesthetics and though her true “first love” was a Coach bag gifted to her by her dad for her 8th grade graduation, she counts many firsts within her bag collection. There’s the first high end designer bag she purchased pre-loved in college, and then there’s also the acquisition of her first new designer bag that was gifted to her by her husband prior to the birth of her child. While that very bag, a Chloé Marcie, is one of her most special pieces, she believes in shopping pre-loved almost exclusively. This handbag lover isn’t loyal to one brand in particular, and her collection is rather diverse. Overall, this confessor is incredibly down to earth and her attitude is candid and relatable. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 33
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Chicago
Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Government
Salary: $90,000
Household Income: $240,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 15

What bags are in your collection?

Prada Tote, lip print
Telfar Shopping Tote Medium, tan
Chanel Neo Executive Medium, navy
PS1 Medium, purple
Prada Backpack, pink
Gucci Hobo, horsebit print
Kurt Geiger Kensington Large, orange tweed
Chloé Marcie, black
Marc Jacobs Stam, black
Alexander Wang Rocco, black
Off White Jitney 2.8, black
Gucci Boston, GG supreme print
Gucci kids fanny pack, GG mushroom supreme print
Gucci crossbody, GG supreme print
Fendi Chef, cheetah print
Coach shoulder bag, brown

How much is your collection worth? I’m not sure…almost all of the bags were purchased preloved.

What is your most expensive bag? The Chanel Executive Tote is my most expensive bag. I purchased it preloved for 3K. This was more expensive than the few bags I have purchase new.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I’m not a brand loyalist. Almost all of my bags are preloved and I love bargain hunting, I grew up thrift shopping with my mom before it was cool. For my collection, it’s about finding bags that I love in great condition at a good price.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I like to think I have many firsts.

In 8th grade my Dad gifted me a brown Coach bag for graduation. My Dad is not into fashion at all but he appreciates the quality and craftsmanship of Coach leathers. I still have that bag to this day and the leather is in great condition despite my neglecting it for decades.

I got my first high end designer bag in college, Gucci Boston Bag, from Screaming Mimi’s a vintage shop in NYC. This was when Rachel Zoe and Nicole Richie were carrying vintage Gucci and I was obsessed.

I got my first new designer bag when I was 30. A Chloé Marcie from Barney’s as a push present from my husband.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Specific…I keep a running list. But the bags at the top of my list are:

1. Vintage Beaded Fendi Baguette. I love the quirkiness and artistry of the vintage beaded baguettes. But damn I wish I had purchased when they were going for $300 preloved.
2. Balenciaga City. I went to college in the early aughts…this bag is a no brainer for me and can be found at a decent price preloved.
3. LV Brea. Decent priced LV bag. Great for work and comes in Vernis, the only type of LV leather I see myself owning.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Chloé Marcie is my most important bag. My husband gifted it to me during my pregnancy with our daughter. It was the first high-end designer piece I had ever purchased in store. We got it from Barney’s, when that was still a thing.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Not really. Most of my friends, family, and colleagues aren’t into fashion and don’t know what I’m carrying.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Whenever I get the urge. Although I have been trying to be more controlled and thoughtful about my purchasing

Which stores do you frequent the most? The RealReal and Vestiare Collective.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Almost all of my bags are pre-loved except for: Chloe Marcie, Off-White Jitney, Telfar Shopper, and Kurt Geiger Kensington, and my brown Coach bag. I purchased my Chloé Marcie new before I was aware of all of the options the preloved market has to offer. The other new bags were either gifts or purchased on super discount.

My best score was a vintage Gucci crossbody at a thrift store for less than $20. It’s authentic. When I found the bag Gucci was only selling soft canvas. I think the store employees believed the bag was fake because the canvas was hard and coated. My win!

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, but I do sell old bags if I’m not using them. I am not sentimental at all. I like using the RealReal because of all of the site credit they give to sellers. And the process is so easy.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Influencer pressured for sure. I recently got rid of my Instagram because I wasn’t getting pleasure from it anymore. I do still love handbag Youtube. Melsoldera is my BFF in my head.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Absolutely not. They are categorized in the miscellaneous/entertainment part of my budget. Also, I purchase alot of bags that have fallen out of favor that I still love like the PS1, Marc Jacobs Stam, and Alexander Wang Rocco. I get that brands like Hermès, Chanel, and LV can appreciate but I only have one of those in my collection.

Who influences your buying decisions? Handbag Youtube. #Melsolderamademedoit Celebrities don’t particularly influence me and neither do large scale influencers. But I def am influenced by more relatable micro influencers like Mel Soldera, Sergio Secrets, and ChicProfessor. These people seem more like everyday folks that buy, use, and love the bags in their collection. In particular I like Mel’s embracing preloved finds that you love but that might not be the “it” bag of the moment. I also love ChicProfessor because she commuted to work pre-covid like me and carried folders and papers.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No. The few times I have been in store to buy the experience has not justified the additional price tag. I would rather buy pre-loved or shop sites like Selfridges or SSENSE for deals.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I have always been interested in fashion and aesthetics. However, I am a lawyer that specializes in personal injury. Shopping and more specifically dressing myself allows me to express my creative side within the confines of my job. It’s fun to get dressed up and I’ll be honest…I love the compliments.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Yes. My husband and I went to Barney’s, two years before it closed, to purchase my Chloé Marcie bag as a push present. I am black and was visibly pregnant at the time and my husband is white. I did not have my wedding ring on at the time and my husband did. Although the store was empty, the sales associates took awhile to service us. When they did serve us, nothing felt special about the experience. I got the vibe that they thought I was his mistress. Either way, nothing felt luxurious about the experience and the associates did not cater to us. This is one of the reasons that I have no interest in paying full price to purchase bags in store. Hard Pass!!!

The Money

Who pays for your bags? My husband and I share money. So we do.

I have also used money I earned from selling a Cartier watch from an ex to purchase a bag. So I guess my ex has paid for bags too.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? 100%. I went to college in NYC in the early aughts. The height of logo mania. I was broke and wanted to fit in with my Ivy League counterparts. Also, everyone was doing it. There was no talk of ethics or terrorism at the time. We’d go down to Chinatown and leave with every fake logo item you can imagine. Now, the bags fell apart by the time we got uptown. The lack of quality and me beginning to take pride in carrying handbags lead me to stop purchasing fakes by the time I graduated from college. Now, I wouldn’t touch a fake with a ten-foot pole.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Yes. During rough spots during the pandemic I definitely have. I have been working actively with my therapist to stop.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing really besides hiding purchases from my husband.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Sigh. Yes. It’s tough to find the balance between rewarding myself for my hard work to advance professionally and take care of my family and home. I am working with my therapist to find that balance.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Thankfully no. When we can travel again I plan to stop spending on bags and transition to spending on travel.

Anything else you would like to include? I love this community. It’s good to be with other purse obsessed folk of all ilk.

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