CC 85: The Handbag Collector Who Has Finally Found “Purse Peace”

In today’s installment of closet confessionals we meet a strong-willed bag lover who has worked hard to get her collection to where it is today. Though she hasn’t carried it in years, this confessor’s love of bags began with the purchase of her very first Louis Vuitton Bag, a Speedy. The bag still stands in her collection to this day, 14 years later, and will one day be passed down to her daughter. Today’s confessor has spent many, many years curating and collecting, choosing to purchase only bags she truly loves versus what is trending. Though selling bags in the past has been vital to her curation, this bag lover finally feels she has found “purse peace”, and doesn’t see the need to resell pieces anymore. A Kelly remains on her wishlist as a true holy grail, though she’s finally reached a sweet spot in her nearly 15 years of collecting. Overall this confessor’s approach to bag buying and collecting is refreshing and honest. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 37
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Houston, TX
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
Industry: Oil & Gas
Salary: $135,000
Household Income: $250,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 14

What bags are in your collection?

LV Speedy DE 25
LV Red Epi Cluny MM
Dior Large Black Lady Dior SHW
Balenciaga Bleu Mineral City RHW
Fendi Red Medium Baguette GHW
Fendi Grey Kan I GHW
Givenchy Black Small Antigona SHW
Saint Laurent Black Shopper Tote GHW
Saint Laurent Navy Medium Loulou SHW
Saint Laurent Black Lou Camera Bag GHW
Gucci Black Betty WOC GHW
Chanel Dark Burgundy GST SHW
Chanel Black Reissue 227 SHW
Chanel Black Maxi Classic Flap SHW

How much is your collection worth? $43,000 (replacement cost)

What is your most expensive bag? My Chanel Classic Flaps

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? My LV Cluny was purchased in Paris to commemorate my 10th wedding anniversary, so I always think back fondly of that trip when I carry that bag.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 23 years old and had just received my first bonus of a substantial amount from work. I decided to treat myself to the LV Speedy 25 in Damier Ebene. I remember my heart racing as I paid for the bag. Back then it was only $595 but it may as well have been $10,000! I had never spent so much money on anything before.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I would love an Hermes Kelly in size 32 or 35, preferably in a dark color like navy or raison.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My LV Speedy since it was the bag that started my collection. I haven’t carried it in years. I will never get rid of this bag as it holds such sentimental value to me and I plan on passing it down to my daughter when she comes of age.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? People assume I am doing well for myself when they see my bags. This is especially true among friends and family. I do also wear my bags to work and the same can be said among my colleagues. I am very proud of how hard I’ve worked and where I have gotten to in my career and I won’t apologize for enjoying the fruits of my labor. What I do not enjoy are the micro aggressions that when someone asks me what does my husband do, as if to imply that he must be the reason I can afford such things.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? It depends what strikes my fancy. Some years I won’t buy anything and some I will buy four in a year. I am pretty happy with my collection and only have 1 bag on my wish list. I have spent years curating my collection and only purchasing what I truly love. I try not to let trends influence my bag purchases. For instance, mini bags are all the rage. I personally am not a small bag girl. I have them to serve specific purposes in my collection but overall, I prefer a medium to large handbag.

Which stores do you frequent the most? SSense, Farfetch and My Theresa for online. Saks Fifth Avenue is my go-to brick-and-mortar destination.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have in the past and may for my wish list Kelly bag. I have shopped on Fashionphile and Rebag in the past.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I have sold old bags to fund new ones when I was still curating my collection. I have no plans on selling anything else in the future as I am at “purse peace” at the moment. I have sold to friends, on Poshmark and to Fashionphile before. My sister is actually my number one customer. She always gets first dibs.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not anymore. Since I have been collecting for nearly 15 years, I have come to know what I like in a handbag so I do not fall prey to the influencer marketing trap. If I find myself lusting after a popular bag, I ask myself why. Is it because I keep seeing it all over social media or YouTube (I am looking at you Chanel Coco Handle!)? I then try to see if the feeling I am getting is just the itch to get something new. If so, I’ll purchase something smaller like a luxury candle or a fragrance. If it is has been weeks and I can not stop thinking about the bag, I will then go see it in person and begin my research. From there is when I can determine if it truly a desire or just a “nice to have”.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not in the traditional sense of investments. More so as an investment into my wardrobe in that I have something of great quality that will last me many years to come. I view them in the same way that I view my classic Chanel jackets, that these items are meant to last for years and I plan to enjoy them for many years to come.

Who influences your buying decisions? I wouldn’t say anyone influences my buying decisions so much as enables them. My husband is always very supportive of me purchasing something that I desire. My mom and sister like to live vicariously through me and my purchases.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not at all. I have a few SAs that I am loyal to but I also like to shop online, especially on international sites and during the seasonal sales.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I am truly a fashion lover. I love to to watch the shows and admire the beautiful creations as the art that they are. I also love it as “me time”. I have a 2 year old daughter who is my shadow so popping into the shops for a few hours is great self-care for me.

I do also consider it retail therapy but by no means do I have an addiction. I no longer shop fast fashion. I purchase ready-to-wear and that requires a bit more planning due to the cost of the pieces.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? As a Black woman who looks much younger than her age, that comes with the territory. The few times that has happened, I have asked for a new sales person. The experience that comes to mind is in Chanel last year. I was purchasing some earrings and the transaction just felt so rushed by the SA. So much so, that she didn’t even give me my receipt. Once I got back to my office, I realized it was not in the bag. I had to call back to the boutique twice before someone agreed to reprint it for me.

What I will say is that I have had far more positive experiences than negative ones but of course we always remember the negative ones the most.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do. I prefer to receive jewelry as gifts from my husband.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I do not set a monthly or annual budget per se. If I am traveling and want to purchase a bag on that trip, I will set aside a specified amount. I am not an impulse purchaser and I research the hell out of my bag purchases beforehand. I like to know how something wears and the pros and cons before purchasing.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I have not. I in no way support fakes.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Thankfully, I do not have to. He is a very supportive spouse.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing, thankfully. I remind myself that the bags will always be there and if not, it was not meant to be.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? During a very difficult time where we were struggling with infertility, I did use shopping as a coping mechanism. I am grateful that I did not go overboard and do anything that would’ve have hurt our finances.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? As I mentioned earlier, I like to purchase ready-to-wear and I also love fine jewelry. Pre-Covid times, I enjoyed traveling to Hawaii and Paris. I also enjoy interior design and some the projects around the house can get expensive.

Anything else you would like to include? I have noticed I am far happier following other women like me on social media. By that I mean women (and men) who enjoy luxury items but also have a career outside of the fashion industry. I find them more relatable. I stopped following influencers as I felt they contribute to the constant consumerism. I did not like feeling like I always needed the latest and greatest. I am grateful that I came to this epiphany early on and it has probably stopped me from being a revolving handbag door.

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