In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a handbag collector in her mid-30s who has been collecting bags for nearly two decades. Like many of us, CC 165 grew up loving bags, and her collection began with a Burberry tote she was gifted for her high school graduation. Since then, this collector has grown her collection to include an array of bags, many of which were the very bags she lusted after at the start of her collecting journey.
CC 165 is obsessed with nostalgia, often keeping a watchful eye on the resale market to see what bags from her youth will pop up, allowing her to purchase a part of fashion history. Her collection of LV x Stephen Sprouse Grafitti bags is certainly enviable, and she has her eyes peeled for a Richard Prince Watercolor Speedy Next!
While CC 165 does watch the resale market for rare gems, she doesn’t often sell bags; rather, she carefully curates her collection. A wise collector who shops within her means, CC 165 funds all of her purchases herself and doesn’t feel that her spending has ever been an issue. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: F
Location: San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Content Designer
Industry: Big tech
Household Income: $250,000
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 20+
What bags are in your collection?
How much is your collection worth? $40,000
What is your most expensive bag? The Birkin for sure!
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I didn’t list them here, but I used to live in Shanghai and got some really beautiful leather, suede, and fringe bags from a local designer. They’re some of my faves, and so well made, and cost around $500/each.
I love love love my LV x Stephen Sprouse collection, though. That collection came out when I was in high school, and really starting to get into fashion and runway shows and the artistry behind it all. Marc Jacobs’ time at LV was incomparable, and that collection, at the time, was SO out there! Graffiti’ing up a heritage brand! But it was so beautifully done and so show-stopping. It really set the stage for all the fashion collabs to come. I don’t think that we’ve had a season without some major fashion house doing a collab since. It’s really cool to have a piece of that history.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 18. It was 2004, and my parents got me a Burberry Nova Check tote as my high school graduation present. It ended up being my school bag for most of college.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Oh, there are a few:
1. LV x Richard Prince white watercolor speedy
2. Hermès Constance Silk Watercolor
3. Balenciaga hourglass with rhinestones
4. Large Lady Dior
5. There’s an embellished leather tote in Marc Jacobs’ S/S 2007 RTW show that I LOVE and have been trying to find for years. One day I will!
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? In college, I was that girl obsessed with all the “it” girls and their “it” bags. It was such a great time back then: Balenciaga City Bag, Fendi Spy, Chloe Paddington, Mulberry Alexa, Marc Jacobs Stam… And my all time favorite – YSL Muse. When I was in my late 20s and had finally gotten to a place in my career when I had enough money to start my collection, the Muse was the first bag I bought – for that college girl flipping through magazines in her dorm and hoping that one day she’ll own her favorites.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Oh, for sure. People know a good bag when they see one and they know that equals style or money or both.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? I don’t think they have.
How often do you buy new bags? Def bought more in COVID times, but probs 2-3/year.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Nah.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I love a lot of vintage bags and bags that I loved when I was younger more than bags coming out now. I also just feel they were better quality back in the 90s/early aughts, so I like to try to find bags from that era. I spend a lot of time in vintage and consignment shops. On and offline. Otherwise, if I want a new, trendy bag, I’ll buy it in its store – and usually try to do it when I’m in Europe and can have a lower price. All my Dior bags I’ve bought in Paris, for instance.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I haven’t done this yet. I think really deeply about my bags and which ones I want to add to my collection. I can’t imagine any I’d want to get rid of!
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not societal, but I do feel a pressure of getting some heritage classics that I don’t have – like a medium Chanel flap in black caviar leather – before the prices continue to go up. However, as you see, that bag isn’t even on my list of 5 bags I want next. It’s just like, the price is going to continue to increase, it’ll probably be smart to get one now.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Of course!
Who influences your buying decisions? If I’m iffy on something, I usually send it ’round to a few girlfriends for opinions. And then I probs end up not getting it, even if they love it, because if I’m not sure, it’s probs better to save my money for something that I really love and not care what others’ opinions are.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Yes, there are associates at my local The RealReal who really get my style. They found me the Fendi baguette that’s covered in these giant silver paillettes. It’s so me and is so gorgeous and well-made.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? For me, it’s more about finding a great find from a great collection and owning a piece of art or fashion history.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I’m a Black American woman, so I’ve definitely been snubbed by associates or had associates not want to show me things in the back or just legit followed around a store. Once I was shopping with a friend, I had a specific purchase in mind, and she was just along for the ride. The first associate did not want to deal with us – clipped answers to questions, practically trying to push us out the door. Usually, I’d be like, whatever, you’re not getting my money at all, but I really wanted the bag! So we walked around a bit, and came back to another associate. He was fab; my friend and I had such a blast with him trying on different bags…I ended up with the one I wanted, and my friend who wasn’t going to buy ended up buying one. When we walked out, we purposely walked past the first associate with our bags to say “Thanks!”.
Who pays for your bags? Me
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I usually buy them with my bonus, which I don’t calculate as part of my budget.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? When I was in college and interning in NYC at a magazine, I totally bought a Chanel Cambon tote on Canal street.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Nah, sometimes I’m like, oh you’ve spent a lot this month: Slow down next month. But that’s about it.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Shoes.
Anything else you would like to include? I would say at the end of the day, get whatever it is you love. Trends come and go. Some things sell for higher one month and much less the next year. Try not to get caught up in that and just buy whatever you love that you can comfortably afford.