It’s a very relatable bone to pick!
Today, I found our latest Closet Confessionals submission very relatable. She’s also in her early 30s and found her entrance to loving designer bags via Coach, and she also questions whether or not certain brands are giving shoppers fair value for their money after so many years of regular price increases. On top of that, she’s also not super enthused about the prospect of Hedi Slimane’s Celine reimagining. If you’re the person who wrote this and you ever come to New York, let me know, we’ll get a drink.
As always, if you want to participate in Closet Confessionals and see your own bag-buying habits on PurseBlog, all you have to do is submit your survey below to be considered!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation: Security/Defense Research Analyst
Industry: Cyber Security/Technology
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 12
How much is your collection worth? $32,000
What is your most expensive bag? I would say my Louis Vuitton Artsy MM in Empreinte leather. I was so taken with this bag when I saw it, even though I don’t typically stop for a hobo style bag—top handles all the way! The Louis Vuitton boutique had this bag (in Noir) placed in the most beautiful display and the bag appeared to be floating in the case. I was so taken with it. The leather was so thick and beautiful, and the smell intoxicating. Interestingly I didn’t even look at the price tag before telling my SA that I’d take it! It really didn’t matter, I had to have it. It is almost four years old and still, to this day, I get so many compliments it, it still looks brand new. This is likely due in part to care, but LV really chose well with the Empreinte leather. It is incredibly durable and will truly be a a piece to stand the test of time.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? This is tough, but I think that my Louis Vuitton and Celine bags are the most significant for the versatility and frequent use. I recently acquired not one, but two Celine Mini Belt Bags! I opted for the coquelicot and the kohl. I was looking for something that could serve as a beautiful everyday bag, and this one is amazing! I love that it has both a shoulder strap and a top handle. It’s roomy enough to hold everything I require and stays pretty lightweight, compared to other bags.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 16 when I’d saved up to get my first designer bag, which was a very small Coach hobo bag that was leather and their canvas C print. I grew up in a pretty affluent suburb in southern California, and so many young ladies my age had tons of designer bags. I remember feeling so left out, and during the summer before my sophomore year, I saved every bit of money I earned all summer to buy that bag! The purchase totally wiped me out, but I was so proud. I still have this bag to this day to remind me about my humble beginnings! My first major designer bag came at 25, which was a Chloe Paddington Duffle. I had seen this bag carried by Alexa Chung and I had to have it!
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 Damier Ebene. From the moment I became aware of Louis Vuitton, I wanted this bag. Everything about it has always seemed so perfect. I became aware of Louis Vuitton right about the same time I became aware of Coach. I had a boyfriend whose mother had a Vuitton Monogram backpack. I thought there was something so elegant about the Monogram print. I never thought in a million years I would be able to afford one. Not long after I acquired my Chloé, bag I was passing by the window of my local Louis Vuitton boutique and they had the Speedy 30 in the window with a beautiful Topage bag charm attached. I knew immediately I wanted it with that bag charm. Several months later it was mine! Last year this Speedy was stolen from me and I was beyond hurt. I felt so sentimental about that bag because I never thought I would own that Speedy. I am very fortunate that I was able to replace it, but it’s certainly not the same.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? This is complicated, but yes! I work in a largely male-dominated field, and one of the upsides of this is that you can pretty much bring in any designer bag and no one is going to notice, which is actually something I like. I have learned that the minute people become aware that you have a designer bag that is recognizable, people are quick to place judgement and have an opinion. Most of the time these judgements or opinions are not only unwarranted, but are also usually hurtful. Additionally, I have observed that I am treated better when I am carrying a designer bag over something that is contemporary. A good example of this is when going into a high end department store like Neiman Marcus. You are almost assured better attention and sales assistance when you’ve outfitted with the right accessories. I have also experienced that when going into a designer boutique like YSL; you will certainly receive better assistance when you have a designer bag. This kind of behavior certainly is a bit off-putting. I maintain the opinion that you never know what someone could afford!
How often do you buy new bags? I generally buy several bags a year. I am considering taking the rest of this year off, though, as I am beginning my pursuit of a Birkin! This will no doubt carry a hefty price tag, and I want to be as prepared as possible if I am able to make it happen.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I frequently browse Celine, Saint Laurent, and Chanel. Celine is by far my favorite of the three. I am deeply saddened that the Phoebe Philo era has come to an end. Fingers crossed the new stuff is just as exceptional.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have not yet dabbled in the second-hand market. I have been very fortunate that all my bags have been purchased brand new. I know how hard it can be to save up for a bag you want, and with second-hand market getting better, it’s hard to not be tempted sometimes. In my recent Birkin research, I have looked at several reseller sites and would certainly consider purchasing a piece from What Goes Around Comes Around NYC, or The Real Real which I recently visited in SoHo. I have heard great things about Fashionphile! Any positive feedback about any one of these resellers is totally welcome as I am considering the possibility of a second-hand Birkin.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I have not, but this is probably a great idea! I am toying around with the idea of selling a couple pieces that don’t often use. My purse room has pretty limited space, and we’re pushing max capacity, so I am feeling the pull to free up some space.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. And I think the only reason for this is the fact I spend the vast majority of my time with men instead of women! That probably sounds terrible, but I am serious. The guys I work with are all great, but to them all my bags are the same!
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I certainly like to tell myself they are. Since I have considered a Birkin recently, I have learned that not many bags carry any real value, which is kind of disappointing. The designers with the highest resale value seem to be LV, Chanel, and of course Hermès. I do believe that any Birkin I nab will most certainly be an investment and will definitely have significant residual value.
Who influences your buying decisions? This is a tough question… I don’t know that there is any single person that influences my decisions to purchase.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I believe they are for sure. I think when you have a solid relationship with your SA, you are more likely to be told when new bags are coming in, and sometimes they will set aside bags specifically for you. I have had this done for me several times, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I enjoy the experience of seeing the latest offerings in person; being able to feel the textures and see available colorways in different light can really change the way I feel about a piece.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Sadly yes. I can think of several times when I have not been treated well due to wearing athleisure attire, or because I didn’t have the right bag with me. When I observe this kind of behavior I am beyond turned off, and at times have walked out.
Who pays for your bags? Me :)
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I don’t, but I probably should. I can think of numerous times when I know I want something, but rather than be patient and save even a little, I will buy it on the spot.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Sometimes. And not because I think he would be upset, but because I think he would think some of my selections are similar. I don’t want to feel like I have to rethink my purchase.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I can’t say I have done anything crazy yet… My gut tells me the Birkin journey will change all that.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Definitely maybe. I am pretty impatient and impulsive. When I want something, I want it, not tomorrow and not in a month, right now. I feel like this has probably gotten me into trouble, but nothing I couldn’t get myself out of.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? My small leather goods collection is equally as out of control, if not more out of control, than my bag passion. The sheer volume of wallets, card cases, and cosmetic bags is too much. I haven’t been able to get to the bottom of why I feel I need to be spoiled for choice here.
I want to stay in love with handbags, but many luxury brands are making that more and more difficult with their price increases. I am aware that luxury implies that it’s not available for everyone, but I do feel many of these increases are unwarranted. Recently Chanel implemented yet another egregious price adjustment and I was floored. I do love Chanel, but I have my limits. Not to harp on the Chanel issue, but I no longer view them as exclusive and rare which is why I am befuddled by their steady increases. I feel as though my money would be better spent adding to savings, retirement, or a Birkin fund…
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