In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet an NYC native in her late twenties, who began collecting bags at age 13, when a friend gifted her a Prada Nylon Shoulder Bag. Of course, that bag is now back in style, proving that sometimes collecting really does come full circle. Over the years, this collector has refined her views on fashion and collecting, choosing to keep a tight, curated collection of bags that she truly loves.
The pandemic has only intensified her vision, as now she is inclined to pass over certain things in order to purchase higher-quality items that will stand the test of time. CC 141 believes strongly in shopping for deals, and as such, is a big fan of purchasing secondhand bags. Additionally, she’s a big proponent of selling her bags as well. Though this confessor admits to shopping as retail therapy at times, with age, CC 141 has learned what’s on the inside is first and foremost mmost important. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own.
Gender Identity: Female
Occupation: Strategic Director
Industry: Media Tech
Household Income: $150,000
Are you a PurseForum member?Yes
How many bags do you own? 6
What bags are in your collection?
How much is your collection worth? Resale Value is probably around $10K.
What is your most expensive bag? Chanel Metiers d’Art Boy Bag
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? I try to maintain a small wardrobe so I only keep what’s important to me but if I had to say probably the Chanel Metiers d’Art and Fendi Baguette.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? Technically 13—my friend (well her mom) generously gifted me a Prada Nylon Shoulder bag for my birthday. I knew nothing at that age and didn’t care for it and gave it to my mom. My mom kept it all these years and now it’s back in style and worth way more and she’s really happy about it.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I only buy a bag if it really speaks to me. There’s nothing I’m seriously coveting at the moment but I am looking for a cute bag I can fit a book into so I can read on the subway on my commute to dinner for example.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? The Chanel Metiers d’Art Boy Bag. I saw it in the runway photos and fell in love but figured I’d never be able to afford it. Happened to come across it on eBay in 2015 at a fair price and I had just gotten my first ever bonus at work so decided to splurge on it. To this day it’s the most expensive thing in my closet!
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Definitely when shopping. I get approached by salespeople faster in stores. I do feel self-conscious about carrying fancy bags. I feel like people take me less seriously or judge me for being materialistic maybe. I use the Saint Laurent for work minus the logo keychain so it just looks like a plain black tote) and I travel with the Cartier backpack that has no logos at all. If I’m going on a date or out with friends I usually carry The Row bag which also is unbranded on the outside.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? I’m definitely dressing up less and using canvas totes more.
How often do you buy new bags? Once or twice a year. I don’t enforce a limit, it just depends on if and when I find something I really want.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? I’ve realized I need fewer things. I’ve been buying less and saving for higher-quality items.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I mostly online shop and usually only during sales. SSENSE, Bergdorfs, Net-a-Porter and Saks are my go-tos.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? All of my bags are secondhand! To be honest I think all bags are overpriced. I’m a total bargain shopper so I always want to find a deal. All my bags are from eBay, Vestiaire, or The RealReal. The Fendi is handed down from my mom. I rigorously authenticate all my bags though and pay for authentication services and utilize the PurseForum.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? All the time. I’ve sold a Balenciaga City, a Stella McCartney Falabella, a Chloé Faye, a Boyy bag, and a bunch of my mom’s vintage LV and Fendi bags. If something doesn’t speak to me anymore, I’m pretty ruthless about getting rid of it. I sell on eBay, Vestiaire, Poshmark, and The RealReal.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not anymore. I definitely did growing up in NYC especially during the Tory Burch tote phase. All the cool kids in school had one and my parents (rightly so) thought it was too expensive for a teenager’s book bag. I finally dragged my mom to a sample sale and got one on sale.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes! I have quite a bit of experience with the resale market and I will only buy bags now with good resale value, so they’re investments in that sense.
Who influences your buying decisions? Firstly aesthetics and whether I like the design. Secondly, resale value, which I guess is driven by influencers, brand, etc.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not for bags because I buy secondhand. Definitely for jewelry. They let me know when new collections become available and are just a text away.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? In the deepest sense, shopping is sort of like investing in my future self. There’s an image of myself I want to achieve and part of it is developing a certain outward appearance. But yeah I definitely practice retail therapy.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I think Chinese people are the biggest spenders by ethnicity right now. Almost every luxury store has a Chinese-speaking salesperson. So I feel like I’ve gotten superior service sometimes because I’m Chinese. But also I’ve seen salespeople treat me and other Asians as inferior because of racism or perceived stereotypes about our behavior or taste.
Who pays for your bags? Me. And I try to only use discretionary funds like a work bonus or money made by reselling other items.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No. I set a limit on how much I’m willing to spend for a particular bag though since I buy secondhand.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I bought fake Chanel espadrilles in Shanghai a few years back. I try not to now because of respect for intellectual property and design. Plus you can almost always find what you want on a secondhand website for less than retail anyway.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No but I don’t openly talk about it or tell them every time I buy something since I’m using my own money.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I think it was crazy to use my work bonus to buy a Chanel bag as a first-year analyst. It cost like 5% of my annual salary at the time.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I used to do a lot more retail therapy in my late teens and early 20s. With age and experience, I’ve learned that how I look isn’t as important as how I feel and one doesn’t always compensate for the other.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Jewelry lately. It’s a much better investment than bags. And restaurants- I spend the most money every month eating out, there’s so much good food in NYC