CC 134: The Sure of Herself Collector

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we’re checking in with a luxury lover in her early forties, whose love for bags began with the purchase of a Coach bag at age 20. Like so many other tPF members, this tPFer eventually graduated from Coach to other luxury brands, eventually making her way up to her holy grail: The Birkin. This confessor is down to earth and a smart shopper, recognizing the privilege she has to purchase these items, which is something we can all be more mindful of—appreciating what we have!

Though in her early twenties, this confessor once opened a department store credit card just to be able to purchase a coveted Louis Vuitton bag, these days she would never. Rather, confessor 134 makes sure her purchases are planned and ruminated on. Her collection includes some truly enviable staple pieces, but our favorite bag from CC 134’s collection has to be the Gucci Bee Bag that this confessor’s mom gifted as a tribute to her late daughter. Read the full CC below, and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 43
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Sacramento, CA
Occupation: Human Resources
Industry: Higher Education
Salary: $70,000
Household Income: $200,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 10

What bags are in your collection?

How much is your collection worth? $20,000

What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Birkin 35

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? The first would be the Chanel Jumbo Flap. It was my ultimate dream bag and I worked for 2 years to put money aside to pay for it. It felt like such an accomplishment for me to be able to purchase that bag.

The next is the Hermès Birkin. My family’s financial situation had improved greatly and I was in the position to make this purchase. It was a complete dream come true as I had been coveting the bag for years and years. I was almost in disbelief that it was finally mine.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? A black, leather Coach hobo when I was about 20 years old. Like many tPF members, Coach was my gateway drug.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Recently, I’ve been very, very picky with bags that I purchase. I want items that I will want forever therefore I am more drawn to Chanel and Hermès than ever. I really don’t want to go through selling bags that I no longer want. For my next purchase, I’d love another Chanel flap in grey. I’d also love an Hermès Kelly 28 in black or gold.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Besides the ones mentioned above, my mom gifted me the Gucci Bee Bag as a birthday gift years ago. It’s dedicated to my daughter who passed away. She dressed up as a bumblebee her last Halloween with our family.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? In my community, there are not a ton of people who walk around with luxury bags. So I guess when I wear mine (which I do everywhere), it gets noticed. My Hermès Evelyn is my everyday bag for errands. I once wore my Chanel jumbo flap to the mall and someone across the way yelled “nice bag.” Ha 🙂

I also feel like when you walk into a store carrying such pieces, you are treated differently as they know you are a serious shopper.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Not really. I have had sanitizer squirt over my everyday bags. 🙁 If that had happened to the Birkin or Jumbo flap, my heart would have been broken.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? It really depends. In years past, I would say perhaps once or twice a year. But they were more mid-price bags such as YSL and Gucci. In the last year, as my financial situation has improved, I purchase if I really want the bag – I’ll think on it, do my research, and make the purchase.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I was able to purchase my Birkin pre-loved during the beginning of the pandemic. I felt extremely guilty as I knew many people were losing their jobs and would struggle. But I worked so hard and so long for this, I could not pass up the opportunity to do so. But at this point, I love what I love and will continue to buy what works for me.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Hermès and Chanel.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes! Absolutely! I have no qualms about purchasing pre-loved. I feel like it’s a sustainable way to reduce waste. Also, it’s a really good way to purchase bags that are no longer in production or hard to find.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I definitely used to. I have sold off bags, shoes, jewelry. I think at this point my collection is where I want it to be and I don’t have anything I don’t want. Now, especially since handbag values have risen so much, I would not sell my bags in fear of not being able to purchase it again due to high prices.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No, I don’t. I would not, buy a bag unless it’s something I really wanted and it makes sense for my budget and my style.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not until now. The Chanel Jumbo Bag that I purchased 5 years ago has doubled in value. It’s really hard to ignore at this point. But I would not spend my money on a bag just because I feel like the price would go up later.

Who influences your buying decisions? I’m guilty of being influenced by influencers! I have specific YouTube vloggers that I love and follow. So obviously their style and aesthetic are similar to mine. So I definitely take their purchases into consideration.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I have a lovely SA at an Hermès outside of California who I have purchased things from. Other than that, I don’t have any SA’s I have ties to.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? For me, I feel like it’s a sense of accomplishment. You covet something for so long. You work hard and save for it. It’s the fruits of your labor. It’s a great feeling.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? For me, I feel like it’s a sense of accomplishment. You covet something for so long. You work hard and save for it. It’s the fruit of your labor. It’s a great feeling.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? My very generous husband and myself.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not really, but if I have an upcoming trip somewhere where I know I can save money such as Paris or Honolulu, I’ll prepare and save, set a budget for myself.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. But I have a funny story. When I was 18, I was gifted a fake Ferragamo bag from one of my relatives who recently traveled to Asia. I wore it to a fancy dinner and the strap just broke out of nowhere. It was hilarious and humbling at the same time! It taught me a really good lesson paying for quality items that were built to last.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, my husband is very generous. He does not buy luxury goods for himself, but will always encourage and buy me what I want. I’m very fortunate.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing really crazy, but in my early 20’s I really wanted an LV Looping bag. It was a huge purchase for me. I opened up a department store credit card just to make the purchase. I would never do that now.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No, never. I have full control of my purchases. And if push came to shove, I would not hesitate to sell a bag if there was a family emergency of some sort.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Traveling is my #1! I also love nice designer sneakers and costume jewelry from Hermès and Chanel. I have recently started making purchases from Cartier, which I realize can be a dangerous habit.

Anything else you would like to include? Buy what you want! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You work hard for your money, spend as you please!

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