In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a young handbag lover who first began dabbling in bags when they needed a good professional work bag. A self-proclaimed recovering shopaholic, this confessor owns around 40 handbags and particularly loves to collect Coach bags. Recently, this luxury lover fell hard for Tod’s and is looking to snag a pre-loved Tod’s D-Cube Shopper next! Working in the luxury beauty industry for a high-end salon/spa, this collector often feels the pressures of looking the part, though they try to consistently remember that it’s not always all about having “the look”. While they admit to shopping mostly online nowadays, this shopper used to value SA relationships in the past, though they’ve also been the victim of inferior service, which is the sad reality for many and an important topic to discuss. Overall this confessional gives a candid look into the shopping habits of a self-proclaimed recovering shopping addict. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Gender Fluid
Location: Saint Louis, MO
Occupation: Head of Guest Relations for a Luxury Salon/Spa
Industry: Consumer Services
Household Income: $200,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 40 the last time I counted
What bags are in your collection?
I have lost track, but I will highlight some favorites:
-Tod’s Large Cape Bag
-Tod’s Medium Oboe Bag
-Coach 1941 Rogue 31 w/ Rivets
-Michael Kors Collection Crocodile Miranda Tote
-Fendi Selleria Large Linda Bag
How much is your collection worth? I think somewhere within the $30,000-$35,000 range.
What is your most expensive bag? My most expensive piece would be my Michael Kors Collection Crocodile Miranda Tote. I was lucky enough to find it pre-loved, but the retail price on her was around $8,000.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I am an avid collector of Coach 1941 collection pieces. The term “affordable luxury” may really turn some people off, but the quality and durability of these pieces is very hard to match. Coach Glovetanned Leather has such a luxurious feel to it that I can’t seem to find in many premium designer brands. I have also recently started collecting Tod’s bags for many of the same reasons as Coach 1941.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was around 19 years old when I needed a professional work bag that exuded class. I went to my local Nordstrom and perused the handbag section, looking at everything from Rebecca Minkoff to Valentino. I settled on a Tory Burch Large Robinson Double Zip Tote in the color black. I found the price point to be extremely agreeable at $598 and it checked all the boxes for both usability and style. I didn’t have the money to spend on a Prada Saffiano Luxe Tote at the time, so I found this bag to be an extremely chic alternative.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Since I am having such a huge love affair with Tod’s as of late, I am trying to find a Tod’s D-Cube Shopper on the pre-loved market.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I have a Coach Turnlock Tote in cross-grain leather that my husband bought me one year for our anniversary. I think I have only used it a handful of times because I want to preserve its shape for as long as possible and I never want it to show any wear.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I definitely think so. In my particular field of work, being on the cusp of fashion and style is extremely important. I also work in a very chic, wealthy, and cosmopolitan area of Saint Louis City. I don’t necessarily seek people’s approval of my personal style, but sometimes the approval feels good!
How often do you buy new bags? Recently I have been buying quite frequently. When I see something I really like at a good price, I feel compelled to snag it before anyone else has the opportunity. Is it impulsive? Yes. Do I regret it? Absolutely not!
Which stores do you frequent the most? In-person shopping has been something that I have hardly done during these crazy times. In the “days of old”, I would frequent Nordstrom, Saks, and Neiman Marcus for in-store purchases. Nowadays I turn to their respective websites or the websites of the brands themselves.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I buy second-hand all the time! It is the only way I can afford most of the premium designer bags that I currently own. The RealReal is the place I always look to first and foremost. Their selection is updated every 24 hours and I check in on my favorite brands almost every day to see if a “unicorn bag” has popped up. I also visit my local Clothes Mentor to peruse their selection of pre-loved bags. You never know what you’ll find!
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Yes. I used to believe that the bigger the collection, the happier I will feel. When the pandemic happened, my husband and I had to change our lifestyle extremely quickly. I ended up purging about a third of my collection because I adopted a new less-is-more mentality. Now I have a revolving bag fund that is funded by the sales of my “bags of yesteryear.” I take them mostly to Clothes Mentor or another local consignment store in my area.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? There is definitely a sense of pressure in my work field and in the area in which I work. Women walk down the street in the latest fashions carrying bags straight from the runway. I have to remind myself that having “the look” is not everything!
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I think of them as personal investments and indulgences more than monetary investments. Most of the brands I collect generally do not hold their value well on the resale market, but each piece carries a personal memory and I feel those memories when I carry them. Oh the stories my bags could tell!
Who influences your buying decisions? Me. I make the decision for myself despite my husband being in my ear and asking “don’t you have enough bags?” One can never be too stylish.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not anymore, no. I used to have associates at a couple department stores and at all the boutiques that I would frequent and I was very loyal to them. Nowadays I rarely leave the house unless it is to go to work or to the supermarket, so shopping online is my only option and there are no SA’s with that!
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I consider myself a “recovering shopaholic”. There was a point where I had to read self-help literature in order to curb a pretty big shopping problem. I think I am on the upswing right now, but sometimes I hit some speed bumps and I binge shop. My husband “coaches” me in fiscal responsibility which keeps me on the right path.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? It has happened countless times in the past. Being a person of color is one thing, but being a person of color AND being queer can be a big disadvantage at times. I’ve been followed in luxury stores by staff because they think I may steal something; I have been in a store and sales associates pretend I don’t exist and ignore me. The list can go on and on.
Who pays for your bags? That would be me. My husband has bought a couple for me as gifts, but I am the primary financier for my bag purchases.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I certainly do now! My bag fund is integral to the purchase of new pieces.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I think lots of people have considered doing such at one time or another (I know I have). There was a time where I purchased a replica Goyard St. Louis PM because I could not afford the real thing. I was uneducated at the time about the sinister side of fake designer items, so I didn’t think too much about it. It fell apart after about 3 uses and I threw it away. Never again will I compromise on quality for the sake of style.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? It has happened in the past. I would leave purchases in the car and then if he would leave to run an errand, I would make a mad dash for the car trunk and bring everything inside and hide them among my collection. He rarely pays attention to what is new or not, but he will definitely recognize the sight of a Neiman’s shopping bag or a box from UPS!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I drove through an ice storm to pick up a bag I had on hold somewhere. I wanted the instant gratification of this new bag and I didn’t want to wait until the next day when the weather cleared up.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I’m recovering from one right now. I have slip ups every now and then, but things are definitely looking up right now!
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? My husband and I love to travel across America. Right now we are planning a road trip to Montana. I also love to indulge in fine wines and champagnes.