In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a collector in her early 30s who grew up loving designer bags and lusting after them from afar. This collector started collecting bags when she was 14. It was allowance money, and a few (ok, maybe more than a few!) skipped lunches that helped this luxury lover save for her first designer bag: a Dior Saddle bag. These days, the most important pieces in her collection are her Louis Vuitton Bags, as it was LV that really sparked her interest in designer goods as a kid — relatable!
A sizable collection, CC 164 dips her toes into an array of luxury brands from Celine and Prada to Loewe and Saint Laurent. She hopes to snag a vintage Chanel Kelly Bag soon, or maybe a vintage Louis Vuitton Croissant Bag, and believes in selling bags that no longer serve her. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: New York Tri-State Area
Occupation: Copy Editor
Household Income: $100,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 13
What bags are in your collection?
How much is your collection worth? In terms of retail prices paid, I would say somewhere around $20,000; the resale value is far lower.
What is your most expensive bag? Probably the Balenciaga Hourglass Bag. It was the first bag I owned to hit the $3,000 mark.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? This is a tough one. As I’ve reached my thirties, I’ve curated my collection to contain exactly what bags suit me, and I find that each bag is special to me in some way. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for my Louis Vuitton pieces. I grew up loving designer bags, but they weren’t something that ever felt accessible to me. It was Louis Vuitton Bags that I constantly dreamt about. As a teen, I had the brand’s ad campaigns plastered to my closet door.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 14 when I got my first designer bag, the Dior Saddle Bag. It was the height of the Saddle Bag’s popularity, and I desperately wanted that bag. I babysat neighborhood kids, saved my allowance, and even skipped school lunches some days to purchase that bag. I remember my dad driving me to the luxury mall that was 30 minutes from our house and walking in with a wad of cash. I don’t recall the interaction with the SA, but I wish I did; I wonder if she was shocked to have made a sale that day! I vividly remember feeling like I was a big shot walking out of the store with the Dior shopping bag on my arm!
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? There are so many bags I am eyeing! My wishlist is always growing and changing! I would like to get another Bottega Veneta Jodie Bag in the Teen size, and I’m also eyeing a few vintage pieces on the resale market: the Louis Vuitton Croissant Bag and the Chanel Mini Kelly. I saw one in teal blue on Farfetch for $9K which is so far out of my price range, but ever since I can’t stop thinking about it.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Probably the Dior for the reasons above, but other than that I desperately try not to attach emotions to my bags. I used to be that person and it caused me to hold on to bags I wasn’t using for way too long. These days I am much more practical about the feelings I attach to my bags.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? 1000% yes! I grew up in a very middle-class family who didn’t buy anything luxury – cars, jewelry, watches, bags, etc. I’m not sure exactly how I learned about designer bags; at times I felt like I was born with a passion for fashion inside of me.
I did have a very wealthy Aunt who was fashionable and whom I desperately wanted to emulate, so it’s possible I picked up on things from her at a very young age. At times, I’ve felt like the black sheep of my family, for most of them do not understand why on earth I would spend such an incredible amount of material things, and they are not shy either about vocalizing their disdain. In my adult friend group nice things are more commonplace, and even though everyone’s passions aren’t the same as mine, I don’t feel any judgment there.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? They had in the beginning, but with life semi-normal again, they’ve returned to how they were before.
How often do you buy new bags? Maybe 1-2 a year? It really depends. This year I got 4 new ones but sold a few also.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Not really, no. It has changed my perspective on life, relationships, and being grateful for what I have, but my attitude towards luxury goods has always been fairly level-headed.
Which stores do you frequent the most? In terms of luxury goods, I shop mostly online through Net-a-Porter and Luisiaviaroma; I am unafraid of shopping around if it means getting a deal (ex – I recently downloaded and made my first purchase through FWRD’s app to get 10% off a luxury purchase). As for clothes, I don’t typically splurge on them, and I try to shop as sustainably as possible for clothing. I buy new from Reformation but mostly, I shop vintage clothing on Etsy, eBay, or through sellers on Instagram.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes! I have purchased through Rebag.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Now, yes, but when I was younger, no. As I said, I used to attach too much sentimental value to my bags and would hold on to them even when I wasn’t using them. I was able to break this spell by selling a bag I had bought for myself when I studied abroad in Paris in college. I knew I wanted to get something at the LV store on the Champs, but I quickly changed my mind at the last minute and ended up being enamored by a new bag I hadn’t seen before. It turns out this bag was less than practical (I don’t recall the style name, but it was only in production for a few years). I never used it but refused to sell it until I realized I could actually make money on the bag thanks to its great condition, inflation, and the VAT tax I had gotten back. That sort of ripped the bandaid off for me.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? At times, yes. It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap, but I am well aware of how Instagram and TikTok can make me feel. I finally stopped scrolling through TikTok at night, and I limit my daily scroll time on Instagram too. I still follow a few influencers whose outfits I want to emulate, but I remind myself what you see is not reality. This year especially, I noticed that the more time I spent on social media, the more my mental health suffered, from a looks perspective as well, not just fashion. It’s important to check in with yourself from time to time because if you’re not careful, social media can have lasting impacts.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No, I don’t but mostly because I’m not buying Chanel or H. I buy what I like and want to use. If I decide to sell down the line and can make my money back or make a small profit, then great.
Who influences your buying decisions? I would love to say me, myself, and I, but working in advertising, I know better. We are bombarded with product placements and ads from every which way, so it’s impossible not to be affected, even subconsciously. I will say, though, that because of my insider knowledge, I am easily turned off by things that everyone has.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really, no. I do have an LV SA that I’ll text from time to time, but I’ve never even met her. I buy online mostly.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I used to value the experience of shopping for the rush, but not so much anymore. I mostly get a thrill from buying something new, knowing how I’ll wear it in the future. Styling is such a creative outlet for me.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not that I can think, but I do feel self-conscious from time to time, which is why I prefer to shop online. As I mentioned, I did not grow up going to luxury stores with my mom, and even though I am able to walk into a store and afford something, I still suffer from imposter syndrome, like I don’t quite belong.
Who pays for your bags? Me, myself and I!
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, I used to treat myself when I got a bonus from work and then only, but in the last couple of years, I’ve fallen back into the old habit of buying first and paying it off later – I’m working on that!
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Never. When I was a teen, a family friend gifted me a Coach wristlet that I knew was fake. I was turned off by counterfeits even then. If I couldn’t have the real thing, I didn’t want it at all.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? N/A, I am currently single. I did use to hide things from my parents when I was in my early 20s and still living at home.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? If credit card debt counts, I’ve done that!
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Not quite a shopping addiction per se, but definitely an obsession with wanting more, more, more. That is where the pandemic has changed me; I’ve become a lot more grateful for the things I do have. I’ve realized that it’s ok to work hard for what you want, but it shouldn’t be an obsession. When I was younger, I definitely fell into the trap of buying things I couldn’t afford with credit cards and then feeling really guilty after the fact. I had gotten a lot better, but in the last year or so, with inflation and buying my new place, I’ve fallen back into old habits. The important thing is that I’ve noticed, and I’m actively working on paying off my debt and not using credit cards as a clutch.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I am really into art and interior design. I recently bought a new place last year and have gotten a little too into luxury home goods!