CC 135: The Small Town Collector

In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a candid confessor hailing from a very small town down south. This handbag lover has been collecting handbags ever since he was gifted a vintage Gucci Document Case that once belonged to his grandmother (so sweet!). Of course, that piece remains an integral part of his collection and is very sentimental piece.

Though this confessor has amassed a very enviable collection of rare Louis Vuitton and Hermès bags, he seems to be down-to-earth and wise with his purchases. Admitting to once feeling like he struggled with a shopping addiction that actually led to the diagnosis of a mental illness, we’re thankful that CC 135 shared his story with us to help others know they aren’t alone. Read the full CC below and take a look at some of the stunning bags from CC 135’s collection. Don’t forget to submit your own too!

Submit Your Own Confessional

The Basics

Age: 39
Gender Identity: Male-ish
Location: The South
Occupation: Creative Partner
Industry: Bath Fixtures (Sink Design)
Salary: $90,000
Household Income: $950,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 30

What bags are in your collection?

How much is your collection worth? 30k(ish?)

What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Birkin 40

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? The most important piece is the Vintage Gucci document case. It was my grandmother’s. She was an artist with a fantastic eye and great taste.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? If we’re talking gifted, it was the Gucci document case that my grandmother gave me in high school. If we’re talking purchased, it was a weird Prada wristlet in felt with little patent leaves on it from around 2002. I really kinda wish I still had that bag…

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? At this point I am on the hunt for the beggars bag from Louis Vuitton’s 2002 collaboration with Julie Verhoeven. That Conte de Fees collection lives rent free in my brain.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? In addition to the Gucci bag referenced above, I’d have to say the Birkin. My husband and I started a small boutique plumbing fixtures company from literally nothing and it sorta blew up. The Birkin was definitely symbolic (even if it was second-hand).

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes but probably not the way it does for most other CC entries. I’m a man in a *very* small town in Louisiana and I carry purses. There was one instance where I was called the anti-gay F word and after that, I started taking boxing lessons. Two years (and many matches later) I have a pretty right hook to match my pretty face.

Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Not really. My world is pretty small and I’ve kinda always worked in an isolated office.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Now only about three times a year or so.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Weirdly it hasn’t. I live in a town of 12,000, so I’ve always shopped online.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Saks and Louis Vuitton in New Orleans, The RealReal, Vestaire online.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Almost only buy second hand and I use the above as well as eBay authenticated.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Not really.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Definitely not.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? You know I use to, but, like are they really? I mean, I’m not great at babying my bags. Divorcing the idea of bags as investments has really helped me to enjoy them more tbh.

Who influences your buying decisions? Considering none of my friends know anything about luxury goods, I’d say all the influence comes from my own brain.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? That’s a hard no.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I have what I like to call a hungry eye. In addition to my career in design, I’m also a painter. So my eye is always seeking the next thing that excites and delights! Things that seem to have no relation to each other can lead to really inspired designs.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not really. I generally get compliments on my style. (Is that gross to say? I don’t mean it in a braggy way.)

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Mostly my husband.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not really. I set aside money for bag purchases when we travel

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I know the answer is supposed to be an emphatic NO. Because we’ve all read Deluxe by Dana Thomas, etc etc. HOWEVER. When I was in my 20’s I did purchase a fake Balenciaga City bag. Do I judge my younger self? Yes. But at the time, I was feeling myself.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I don’t hide them. I maaaaay stretch the truth on prices. Like my Golden Goose sneakers, for example. I don’t feel great about how much I paid for them. Like I’m not proud of paying that much for “artisanal distressing”. But I did. And my husband thinks they cost exactly 1/3 of what they did.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? See below

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Here’s the reason I wanted to do the CC. There was a post recently about shopping addiction and there were some pretty strong opinions about what kind of person a shopping addict is. If I’d have been asked a year ago if I had a shopping addiction, I would have said yes, because it felt that way. However, a Bipolar II diagnosis (part of which includes increasingly manic shopping) changed my thoughts on that. With BPII, there was this high with purchase (and the following texts to friends showing the new thing) that was always followed by a crushing regret. I *did* really embarrassing things to cover the purchases and hide them from my family. These things would be considered addictive behavior.

But it was all self-medication. The shopping was the symptom, not the cause if that makes sense?

Since finding a good psychiatrist (and pharmaceutical cocktail) that *need* to acquire has mostly gone away and I feel like a happier, more whole person. So if there is anyone out there that sees themselves above, I’d like to tell you that it’s not uncommon and you aren’t alone. 🙂

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Fitness. I have a trainer for boxing, tennis, and several gym memberships. Although expensive, it’s still a much cheaper endorphin rush than hitting “Complete Purchase” at Net-a-Porter.

Anything else you would like to include? Enjoy your purchases. Just always keep an eye on the motivation.

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