CC 75: She Adores Bags, But Loves How They Make Her Feel Even More

Today we’re bringing you a fresh confessional all the way from Canada. Though she only really started seriously collecting when her career began, this young professional has amassed quite the collection already! Like many of us, her love for fashion is innate, and she spent her youth admiring fashion editorials and dreaming about the bags she one day hoped to own. When this confessor got her first ‘big girl pay cheque’, she celebrated by purchasing a Mulberry bag. Since that very first check, this confessor has budgeted accordingly, putting a part of her income into a bag fund in order to be able to buy the bags she loves. Shopping smart helps this handbag lover to buy within her means, allowing her to really enjoy all of her bags and not feel guilty about buying them. Though her most prized pieces are the aforementioned Mulberry, as well as a Henri Bendel Bag her dad snagged as a gift on eBay, this confessor’s priciest piece is her Chanel Boy Bag. Read more on how this young bag lover shops and saves below, and be sure to submit your own confessional!

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The Basics

Age: 26
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Toronto, ON
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Industry: Pharmaceutical
Salary: $66,000
Household Income: $66,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 21

What bags are in your collection?

Henri Bendel Medium Chain Lambskin Shoulder Bag
Alexander Wang Emile Large Tote with Rose Gold Hardware
3.1 Philip Lim Medium Pashli Satchel
Mulberry Dorset Tote
Mulberry Effie Tote
Mulberry Bayswater Zip
Mulberry Chester
Mulberry Clifton
Mulberry Selwood
Mulberry Darley
Mulberry Small Darley, Denim
Lady Dior Patent Leather Clutch
Alexander McQueen Legend
Chloe Marcie
Stella McCartney Falabella Heart Crossbody Bag
Proenza Schouler PS1
Givenchy Antigona Medium
Stuart Weitzman Satin Envelope Clutch
Goyard St. Louis GM
Gucci Marmont Mini Round Shoulder Bag
Chanel Boy (New Medium)

How much is your collection worth? $30,000 – Retail

What is your most expensive bag? The Chanel Boy was my ultimate bucket list handbag. It’s edgy elegance really spoke to me and complimented my style. I dreamt of owning one for over five years and vowed when I started working I’d buy one for myself. I saved up for over seven months and when I finally purchased it I had trouble sleeping because I couldn’t believe how much I spent on a handbag. It is absolutely gorgeous and I know it will be with me for a life time. I wanted to make the major purchase before kids and major financial responsibilities came about later in life. Overall, I am happy to finally have it in my collection.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? My favourite handbag brand is Mulberry. The price point is good, I like the quality of the leathers they use and the styles are classic and fairly understated for everyday use. I usually purchase one per year from the brand. My Lady Dior clutch is very special to me and I wear it almost every fancy occasion I go to. My grandmother helped me purchase it and I always think of her when I wear it.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? Age 12. I got a Coach CC pochette shoulder bag. I loved it and instantly loved the feeling of wearing a nice handbag. I still remember going to the store to pick it out.

In high school I saved up for a MBMJ Hobo Hillier bag and remember that my hands were shaking at the cash register! I was proud of myself for saving my money to purchase it. It was a great bag that I wore everyday for almost three years.

What really started it all was when I purchased my first “higher end” in University. My Alexander Wang Emile Tote. I lusted over it for about a year. Visited the store a few times to check it and one day the sales associate called to let me know she found one and it was on sale for 40% off. I thought it was so nice that she remembered me visiting the store to look at the bag so many times. I bought it over the phone instantly! The feeling of wearing it was like a fire in my chest. Handbags make me feel confident and that feeling has kept me adding to my collection over the years. It was a great bag that held my books and more. I still love it.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next?

Right now my current wish list is:
Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis
Saint Laurent Becky Bag
Gucci 1955 Horsebit Shoulder Bag
Loewe Puzzle Bag

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Henri Bendel Medium Chain Lambskin Shoulder Bag is very special. Over ten years ago my dad purchased it for me on eBay after I was sad that a similar style sold out in store. I will never part with it because it was very thoughtful of him to go on eBay and find one similar. He taught me all about eBay and how you can save a lot of money buying second hand. I remember being so excited about it and kept asking him if we were still winning the bid! My dad still asks me “Where’s the Bendel?” I recently started wearing it again after he kept asking! It truly is beautiful, but the chains are quite heavy which is why I don’t wear it too often. The bag is great quality and lovely for evening. It will be one I pass down to a future daughter.

My Mulberry Bayswater Zip was a gift to myself three months into my first job after University. I saw it in store and could not get it off my mind. I just needed this “professional grown up woman” bag! The leather is a dream and it still smells amazing. It is a great bag for work and I like that it is understated. This bag will always be special and I’ll always remember it as the first bag I purchased with my “big girl” pay cheque.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I definitely feel that my bags change people’s perceptions of me. Sometimes I feel self conscious at work wearing a designer bag. Majority of people don’t understand designer bag lovers so I try to keep the bags I wear to work as understated as possible. I find Mulberry bags are great because they are not as well known as the Louis Vuitton’s or Gucci’s out there.

In public or among friends I feel comfortable wearing my bags. Some friends know what they are and other’s don’t. I don’t like to flaunt my handbags or brag about them to others. I prefer the more “if you know, you know” and only talk about my handbags to those that show interest. I love talking about handbags with my sister and best friend. We all have a mutual love for bags, share our wish lists and ask each other opinions on styles we like. The purseblog and purseforum communities are truly amazing and it feels good to know that there are other’s out there like me.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I usually purchase two to three new bags every year.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Mulberry, Holt Renfrew and ssense.com

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes. My Henri Bendel, Chloe Marcie and Givenchy Antigona were all purchased second hand on eBay. I like that eBay has a good policy and once in a while a good deal comes up. I searched for over a year on eBay for my Antigona and it was worth the wait because I scored it for one third of the retail price with the help of my Dad’s eBay bidding and negotiation tips!

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No. So far I have kept all my bags. Each one is special in it’s own way and I try to wear them all on rotation by changing my bag every month.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I don’t really feel societal pressure to purchase more bags. If I come across a bag that makes my heart flutter I buy it. To me it is not about keeping up with the trends but more of collecting pieces that work for different moments or occasions in my life. I go for styles that will last a long time in classic colours like black, brown, tan, burgundy, navy and grey.

What keeps me buying more bags is the feeling I get when I wear them. It is this fiery feeling that makes me glow inside and out! There is power in a purse! To me, you can’t beat the smell and luxurious feel of the leather and materials. A handbag really makes an outfit and I often plan my outfits around what handbag I’m wearing.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not really. Aside from my Chanel Boy and Lady Dior Clutch I know most of my bags do not hold their retail value.

Who influences your buying decisions? Sometimes I see a bag in a magazine or advertisement and fall in love but other than that I don’t get influenced by people that much. It is more if I see a bag in store or online and get the tingles then I know it is a bag for me!

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I wouldn’t say an SA is instrumental to my shopping but If I have a good experience with one I will definitely go back to the store and ask for them again in the future. What is nice about SA relationships is that they are helpful in tracking down items that you are looking for and I like that they notify me about sales.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I don’t consider myself a shopaholic but handbags are the most important fashion item for me to purchase. I most enjoy the experience of researching a bag I like, asking my family and friends their opinion on a style I am thinking of purchasing, planning outfits and occasions of where I’ll wear the bag and then going to a store to purchase. It is a fun process and it feels good to add a new bag to my collection after doing lots of research or waiting for it to finally go on sale.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not really. When I shop it is for a purpose and I am usually serious about buying so I feel like I’m treated well.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I pay for almost all of my bags myself but all money that I am gifted for my birthday or holiday’s goes directly into my bag fund. So technically I consider some bags bought as gifts if their gift helped pay for the bag.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes, I budget $300 monthly to a handbag fund. I set up a pre-authorized transfer to an account I literally have nick named “Purse Fund.” Obviously when I saved up for my Chanel the amount was different but I like to keep a “float” so when I see a handbag I like I have money in my fund to purchase it. This helps me stay on budget and not go over my means. Handbag purchases are a big priority for me at this time in my life and this budget helps me fulfill my love for them.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No significant other yet! When I do find one, I hope they will be supportive of my love for handbags. I am a big believer in independence and if I want something I get it myself. As long as I’m spending within my means I shouldn’t feel like I need to hide purchases.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing crazy I can think of but I have skimped on my budget for other things like eating out and buying trendy clothes to put more money in my bag fund.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No. I know I love bags and buying them is still something I am very interested in at this time in my life. I budget accordingly and make sure to spend within my means. I am ambitious in my career and I’m motivated to work hard, move up and get a higher salary to help give myself more disposable income over time.

Only five of my bags were purchased at full retail price. I am cost conscious and definitely try to buy on sale or second hand when I can.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I like fitness classes and spend about $200 monthly on different classes. Exercise makes me feel good after a long day at work. Outside of small trips to visit family and friends, I budget for one international trip per year right now. I do want to travel more with a future partner so when that time comes I know I will not be able to contribute as much money to my purse fund.

Anything else you would like to include? My love for handbags likely comes from my love for fashion and magazines from a young age. Editorials were always inspiring and I’d rip out pages of bags I loved and aspired to have. I started really building my collection when I started working full time. I feel that I work very hard and being able to add to my collection and buy a handbag after saving for a long period of time feels good. I budget accordingly to be responsible, and so I don’t have to deprive myself of something that makes me happy. The women in my life taught me the importance of dressing well with class and elegance. A designer bag makes me feel classy and confident. Like I can conquer anything that comes my way. I believe there is true power in a purse. Handbags bring me a lot of joy and they always will. I know that as I get older my priorities will change when I eventually have a family of my own and more responsibility. So for now, I’m going to enjoy to continue to build my collection with pieces that will be with me for my whole life. There is no better feeling than to mach a bag to different outfits or plan what bag I’ will wear to a special occasion. Lastly, thank you to the Purseforum and Purseblog family for making me feel like I belong.

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