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Time flies when you’re spending funds having fun.

It’s been 2.5 years since I started my luxury bag collection and almost one year since I began writing for PurseBlog. The journey has been pleasant but not always what I had imagined it to be. Just a few years later, I’ve begun to understand the major differences between the expectations and the reality of collecting designer handbags.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Expectation You’ll build a huge collection practically overnight.

Reality It takes years to build an extensive collection.

When it comes to luxury goods, it’s easy to get sucked into the mindset of always wanting more. First, you want a tote. Then you want a crossbody. Then you want a beach bag. And so on and so forth.

This mindset is only aggravated by online communities that glorify flex culture and make it seem as if everyone (everyone except you that is…) is living in some fashionable fairytale land with unlimited funds and access to the latest collection pieces.

But I’m here to tell you that as a new collector, some things are simply going to be beyond your reach. At least in the beginning.

You may want a collection so extravagant that your closet resembles a showroom at Saks; but in reality, it takes many years to build up those impeccable collections filled with every classic, in every color, for every occasion.

You’ve got to start slow.

These items are called “dream bags” for a reason – because we’re supposed to dream about them for a while. We’re supposed to prepare and plan and take our time pursuing whatever is next on our wishlist, not jump straight into stockpiling.

Believe me, I still fantasize about having an enviable hoard of purses too. But it’s important that we enjoy the journey.

That’s what makes them feel special.

Expectation You’ll love all of them equally.

Reality You’ll have a favorite.

Just because every bag is special to you doesn’t mean you won’t have a favorite.

Sometimes what looks cool in pictures doesn’t actually fit into your wardrobe. Sometimes the bag you lusted after for months isn’t that practical. Or it’s a bit uncomfortable. Or it’s too delicate for everyday use.

Whatever the reason, you’ll begin to realize how distracted you become by the newness of every item you get. You’ll be overjoyed when you finally receive the bag and swear to never put it down, but that only lasts until you get one that you end up liking more.

Expectation You’ll never get tired of carrying them.

Reality You’ll definitely get tired of carrying them.

You will never get tired of the feeling of owning designer bags, but you will definitely experience moments when you’re tired of carrying them.

Taking a long walk along the beach? That raffia satchel feels awfully scratchy against your freshly sunburnt skin.

Maybe you’ll spend a day out with your family…guess who will be responsible for hauling everyone’s belongings in that stylish tote?

90F heat with a high humidity index? You won’t want anything touching you and most certainly not anything made of leather.

As beautiful as your bag might be, sometimes you’ll practically be begging to put that thing down. High quality comes with a little more heft and can mess up your posture if you let it. Try not to sacrifice comfort for style (at least not too often.)

Expectation You’ll have great relationships with S.A.s and get invited to private sales.

Reality You’ll still window shop and mostly buy online.

For many people, the in-store experience is an integral part of the bag buying journey. There is nothing like being greeted by friendly S.As who offer you free champagne to make you feel like a member of an exclusive club full of rich, well-dressed people.

You think “I could get used to this,” before realizing that sustaining a relationship with them requires more than just the occasional one-off visit to the shop.

This means that many, if not most of us, still window shop without any real plans to become a V.I.P.

(But that doesn’t mean we can’t crack open something fizzy to enjoy while browsing Fashionphile listings.)

Expectation You’ll live a dreamy life where you look glamorous 24/7.

Reality Sucky parts of life still suck, even with a nice bag.

Life isn’t a magazine ad. Your luxury bags will certainly help you feel more put together but they won’t protect you from fluorescent dressing room lights or blasts of icy wind. Nor will they heal heartbreak, cure you when you’re sick, or mediate conflicts.

But they still make you smile during the non-picture-perfect moments in life.

Expectation You need a certain bag to feel complete.

Reality FOMO is real but life goes on, with or without the bag.

I hate to break it to you but that purse you want SO BADLY won’t make you feel complete. Its sturdy structure isn’t a replacement for learning to stand on your own two feet. Its beautiful materials shouldn’t dictate how you show up in the world.

I know it’s hard to hear but life goes on even when you can’t have every single purse you want. Obviously, if you have the means, get your bag, sis; but there is no shame in gradually working your way down your wishlist. Not everyone lives near a luxury mall or is in a position to drop beaucoup loot on an IT bag every 6 months. And that’s ok.

Don’t let FOMO rule you or make you feel like your little collection isn’t enough. There will always be someone with more than you but your thoughts, opinions, and preferences are still worthy of recognition. You belong here too.

The sooner you take your place as a rightful member of the luxury community, the sooner you’ll realize that your satisfaction mostly comes from engaging with others anyway.

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