In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a smart shopper who these days shops strictly secondhand, which works well for this collector for a few reasons. A Hermès devotee, this handbag lover enjoys shopping secondhand from an environmental and animal rights standpoint. Additionally, she’s not a fan of the game of the chase when it comes to bag-buying.
CC 140 began collecting bags at age 17 when she was given a vintage Diorissimo bag, and it has been love at first bag ever since! Though she admits to being influenced by influencers at times, these days CC 140 buys what she wants when she wants it, and this year she’s hoping to expand her H collection. Read the full CC now, and don’t forget to submit your own below!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Hong Kong SAR
Occupation: Risk Manager
Industry: Banking & Financial Services
Household Income: $420,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 11
What bags are in your collection? 11
How much is your collection worth? $60,000
What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Birkin 25
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I’m an Hermès girl. I love all four of the Birkins I own!
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 17 years old when I was first given a designer bag. It was a secondhand Dior Diorissimo Street Chic Trotter Shoulder Bag that my mum bought from a vintage store.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I’d like to add a Kelly and a Constance to my Hermès collection. Other than Hermès, I am planning to add another tote bag for work/gym because I have been loving my Goyard St Louis tote bag so much. I’m eyeing a Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM as my next purchase.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I keep a pretty tight collection, so each bag has a sentimental value. If I had to choose one that’s the most sentimental, it would have to be my Birkin 35 in Gold. I had been suffering from an Hermès fever for a couple of years before turning 30, and I decided to just go for it in the end, and it felt victorious.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes, sometimes. I live in a city where pretty much every girl walking down the street is carrying a designer brand bag, so I feel there’s inevitable judgment (both good and bad) depending on what you carry.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? No, Covid hasn’t changed my bag-carrying habits but joining a gym definitely has. I used to try to match my purse to the outfit of the day, but nowadays, it’s all about which class I’m going to attend after work. So when I finally went back to the office to work after 1.5 years of working from home, I bought a tote and a backpack to carry everything I need.
How often do you buy new bags? 2-3 times a year? To be honest, I don’t really buy bags periodically. I buy them when there is a good deal or when I have a need.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? Yes, I did feel a bit sad when I was looking at my bags just collecting dust in the closet and questioned when they’d see the light of day again.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I have a couple of luxury resellers from Korea that I check out regularly. I also love browsing on Amore Vintage’s website.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? YES!! I am a big fan of secondhand bags. In fact, I like them better than new bags for a couple of reasons 1. except for some bags (e.g., Hermès Birkin/Kelly or Chanel Classic Flap), bags are depreciating assets and 2. increasingly, I have been feeling guilty about buying brand new leather bags from an animal rights and environmental perspective. So all of my leather bags are secondhand except for one B35 and the Balenciaga City Bag, which I purchased many years ago. I also find the design of some vintage bags is way more appealing than new bags (I’m a huge fan of LV bags from the early 2000s).
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, I never had the need to sell old bags to purchase new ones. Except for the Birkins (which still cost a fortune even though I got good deals), I paid much less than the retail purchase price for my bags. So once I feel like they are worn out, I donate ones that are still okay or throw them away.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Yes and no. I have always had a very clear goal about what kind of designer bags I wanted. In my 20s, there were It-Bags everywhere but I didn’t feel any pressure to buy them. I was taught early on by my mum who firmly believes ‘quality over quantity’ that only the classics will stand the test of time. So instead of spending 2-5K on multiple bags that would go out of fashion only after a few years, I decided to save that money towards buying other bags later.
But when it was finally my turn to buy bags (i.e. enough cash in my account to splurge), I admit that I was hugely influenced by luxury Instagrammers. After seeing countless photos and videos of their unboxing videos, I wanted nothing but Hermès.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes, if it’s the right kind.
Who influences your buying decisions? Insta influencers did impact my first couple of purchases but I kinda went on my way after that. As I got older, I became more aware of what suits my style. For instance, I’m not a girly girl, so I felt many Chanel and Dior bags are too feminine for my taste, so I haven’t bought their bags (except for one vintage Dior) even though I find them beautiful.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No. I hated playing games when it came to dating in my younger days so I can’t imagine doing that with Sales Associates in the hope of being asked the question, “I have the bag you want. Will you buy it?”
I buy what I can when I can. I have bought more items online than from physical stores. In this way, I also avoid impulsive purchases to just add to my ‘sales records’.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I think some bags are like buying art because their values appreciate over time. Other than that, I enjoy shopping to celebrate life’s milestones.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? No. But I do feel like I get a lot more attention when I wear nicer things. Probably because it gives false hopes that I’d buy a lot of things from them?
Who pays for your bags? Myself mostly.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No. But I did have a fun thing going on with my mum and sister one year. We had our ‘Bag fund’ and saved a few hundred dollars each every month. That went towards funding my very first Birkin!
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I’m very against counterfeits. I only buy what I can afford.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No. I don’t think I would succeed in hiding even if I tried, given the size of apartments in Hong Kong. They can be very small and have nowhere to hide!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I was eyeing a bag from a Korean reseller, but I thought the price was a little too high. So I checked their website religiously and nabbed right after they updated the discounted price. I tend to stick to my budget, so nothing too crazy in this area.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? When I bought my second B35, it did shock my husband. He hardly spends money on anything so spending another 10k on a bag was just a ridiculous idea to him. He now agrees with me that some bags are worth it, though.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Fortunately (?), my one and only weakness is designer bags.
Anything else you would like to include? Know your wants and needs and be patient. The right bag will come along eventually. 😉