CC 70: The Finance Professional Who Loves Luxury But Shops Smart

In today’s installment of closet confessionals we meet a young professional on the verge of 30 whose inherent love for luxury bags comes from her mother. Like many bag lovers, today’s confessor’s love for bags began at a young age, and when her peers in middle school began carrying designer purses, she begged for a bag of her own. An avid Louis Vuitton lover herself, this confessor’s mother finally gave into her daughter’s nagging and thus began an endless love of designer bags.

Though her first bag was given to her by her mom, this bag lover now works hard to fund the bags she’s lusting for, purchasing 1-2 new bags per year. While she admits that her bag purchases are influenced to a small degree, this confessor isn’t easily persuaded into making impulse purchases. In fact, she uses her background in finance to shop smart and typically will only buy a bag if she has lusted after it for 4 months or so. Read this week’s full confessional below and be sure to submit your own.

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The Basics

Age: 29
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Boston, MA
Occupation: Finance
Industry: Government
Salary: $100,000
Household Income: $100,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 9 luxury bags plus a few fun ones from Etsy

What bags are in your collection?

Balenciaga City Bag
Burberry Check Shoulder Bag (vintage 2000’s)
Chloe Faye Day
Chloe Mini Marcie
Dior Diorama Medium in Silver Microcannage
Fendi Top Handle bag (vintage 1990’s)
LV Alma MM in Electric Epi
Saint Laurent Kate WOC with tassel
Saint Laurent Tote

How much is your collection worth? ~$17,000

What is your most expensive bag? Dior Diorama

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Brand isn’t important to me so much as the quality of craftsmanship and visual aesthetic. That said, my most important piece is probably my LV Alma as it’s such a subtle, but beautiful bag–I never feel flashy when I bring it to the office and it goes great with power suits.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I got my first designer bag when I was 13 right before 8th grade began. It was the mid-2000’s and every girl at school had either a real premium designer bag or a fake luxury bag, and I had been begging my mom for a LV purse. A devout LV customer and purse lover herself, she finally agreed and we went to a nearby luxury mall where we visited what seemed like every store. In the end, it came down to a Coach pochette and a mini LV monogram crossbody. My mom was actually pushing for the LV, but it was four times the cost of the Coach and I, 1. felt guilty about the price, and 2. didn’t think anyone at school would believe it was real, so I ended up going with the Coach.

Time went on, LV prices skyrocketed, and I realized what an idiot I was as I’ve been fantasizing about that crossbody for over 15 years and have never seen it pop up on a resale site.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I actually impulsively purchased a bag two weeks before the COVID outbreak hit my city, so that, combined with the lack of going out in public have helped quell the itch. I’m not specifically sure of what my next purchase will be, but the Lady Dior, LV Rose des Vents MM, and Peekaboo are all on my lust list.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Burberry shoulder bag is of extreme sentimental value to me. I got it at Harrod’s at the end of my first trip to Europe with my mom when I was 15. It was the first time that only the two of us went on a trip together and it was such a fun way to end our adventure. It’s no longer in style, but I will never sell it and it’s in great condition.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I’m not a huge fan of logos, so I find that most people don’t actually realize how expensive my bags are until they handle them too roughly and I freak out. Everyone in my circle knows that the bags I own are expensive, but the majority of them wouldn’t know the designer based upon look alone. My circle of friends don’t treat me differently because of my bags–if anything, they come to me for advice whenever they’re considering purchasing something luxury.

As for everyone else, I definitely notice that I am treated better by sales associates if I am in a luxury boutique, however, the rest of the time I don’t think that I am treated differently by anyone. Occasionally, I’ll get a “nice bag” and that’s about it.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? When I started to advance in my career and had more disposable income, it was definitely a struggle to rein in my desire to purchase everything I wanted but could previously not afford. My mother indulged me occasionally when I was younger, but once I got to college my parents made it clear that if I wanted something beyond the necessities, I could go out and earn it myself (so my list was quite lengthy). Now, I try to stick to a rule of two bags maximum per year and I won’t purchase a bag unless I have lusted after it for longer than four months. I want my collection to age well because I love all of my bags, so I find this rule to work well for me.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I’m not the biggest fan of shopping, so I tend to only visit stores online and offline when I’m looking for something specific.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I’ve only purchased two of my handbags second-hand and both were from the same consignment shop in Switzerland when I was passing through on vacation. Both were impulse buys, but bags that I had wanted for a while and could never find in the right color. I have nothing against second-hand–I just buy new more as it is easier to guarantee authenticity and if there’s a scratch or mark on a bag, I prefer it to be because of me.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I’ve actually never sold a bag. I live alone and don’t have any kids, so budgeting is easy enough to afford an impulse buy, but I usually know that I am going to make a purchase for months before I go through with it. I’ve given a few bags away to friends and family when spring cleaning.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Occasionally, I do feel the pressure (looking at you, Instagram), but then I usually quickly realize that those feelings are rooted in which hashtags I’ve been browsing. I actually unfollowed a lot of influencers last year because I found myself erring on the side of over-consumption when following them. If I’ve learned anything as an adult, it’s that everyone is so wrapped up in themselves that no one cares what you buy and what you wear. Influencers are useful
to see which designers and styles are trending, but they aren’t going to help you figure out your personal style. Trends are fun, but I personally don’t like the idea of spending a lot on a bag only for it to be considered outdated in less than a year.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I suppose on some level I do, but I have no intention of selling my bags, so not really. I am more likely to consider how they will pair with my wardrobe in the long term. I also don’t baby my bags–I take care of them, but I definitely use them all, so I’m not sure they would do well on the resale market by the time I am done with them.

Who influences your buying decisions? There isn’t anyone in particular that I am influenced by. My wardrobe is full of basic, but high quality pieces in dark neutral colors and my bag collection mostly reflects that. Like anyone, my buying decisions are not 100% influence-free, but there isn’t one person that I look to who inspires my purchases.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? For me, my relationships with sales associates are restricted to individual purchases. My purchases are based upon what I like aesthetically and I usually know what I’m looking for by the time I am ready to shop, so I’m not looking to establish a relationship with any one brand. I enjoy that interaction and it will be the basis of my future involvement in that brand, but I don’t keep in touch after the sale has been made unless I decide to buy again. If I bought more from a smaller pool of brands, this answer would definitely change though.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Though not true of all my handbags, a lot of them were retail therapy purchases. Nothing makes me feel better about a crummy situation than a nice new bag to parade around. I’ve even noticed that the amount I spend is directly correlated to the level of my crisis. At least I’m a creature of habit?

Handbags and shoes are the only things that I get excited about buying. Shopping for clothes stresses me out.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I’ve only ever had this happen to me at the Chanel boutique in Geneva. The store was completely empty except for a (likely) high-net-worth couple. I was on vacation and dressed very casually and had been waiting my whole trip for this moment as I finally was ready buy a Boy Bag. Not a single staff member spoke to me as I wandered throughout the store. Not one to be deterred when I’m on a mission, I happened to find the exact Boy that I was looking for and then stood waiting for someone to assist me. Three SAs entered the room I was in, and kept walking by me. Finally, after 15 minutes, I left and walked across the street to LV where I bought a few pairs of shoes from the sweetest SA and regret nothing.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Aside from two handbags which were lifetime milestone gifts from my parents, I have paid for all of my handbags. Purses are my personal vice and I would feel uncomfortable asking anyone else for one as a gift. I also love the rush of finally buying a bag I’ve been lusting over for months and feel that that experience would be cheapened if someone else were to finance my little hobby.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, I don’t set aside a budget for my handbags. I’m single and have no children, so aside from my personal expenses and investments, my budget is entirely at my disposal. As I’ve gotten older, my wish list has gotten more expensive, but until I finally shake off my lazy shopper persona and take the plunge to pursue a Kelly (new, 32 cm, noir, box, palladium hardware–yes, I’ve thought about this), I don’t need to set aside a budget.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I have never purchased a counterfeit item. Handbags are a fun form of self expression for me and I don’t carry them to show off, not to mention the terrible things that the counterfeit industry is associated with.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I have no SO, but I do have cats…who love tassels and dangly things, so I do hide my bags from them 😉

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I feel like I should have a story here, but my approach to purchasing anything is fairly rational (I do work in Finance after all), so I haven’t exactly done anything crazy. The worst thing I’ve done is buy a handbag shortly after another bag purchase and convinced myself that it was absolutely necessary.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Shopping isn’t an issue for me. I’m not going to lie–I come from a well-off community and a well-off family, but everyone that I grew up with was encouraged to make their own life on their own dime. I was spoiled growing up, but my parents also instilled a hard work ethic in me and my siblings that has contributed to wise spending habits as adults. As I stated before, I am definitely indulgent in retail therapy, but for me, that is more for extreme situations and not a common occurence. I try to be careful and conservative with my money while living a comfortable life.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I do love traveling. I’ve lived all over the US and in four different countries at the expensive of career advancement and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am approaching 30, but I know who I am. If that requires an expensive trip once a year, then so be it, I’m lucky enough to be able to afford it.

Anything else you would like to include? I know that this sounds pretentious, but all of my experiences have molded me into the person that I am today, so I’ll take a career late start as opposed to a lot of unfulfilled lifetime desires. Your 20’s are for discovering and learning how to love yourself–take advantage of every opportunity you are afforded. I didn’t buy my first luxury handbag until I was 26 as a reward for starting a new chapter in life at a high-paying job. Bags are for self-enjoyment and expression–buy what you can afford sans debt and what makes you happy and feel confident. The rest will follow.

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