In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a handbag lover in her early 30s hailing from NYC, whose love of bags began with her very first pretty little Prada: a nylon messenger bag purchased by her mother. The daughter of a smart-saver, this confessor was also gifted other bags during her teenage years and it’s those bags that are the most special to her thanks to the memories they hold. Though this confessor loves to search for a deal, most of the time when shopping the secondary market for pre-loved finds, she’s looking for specific vintage styles that she passed on in her younger years like her Dior Trotter Saddle Bag. She’s also an advocate for selling bags that no longer serve her in order to fund new ones, and this luxury lover does believe that bags can make great investments, however she doesn’t shop solely for that purpose. Overall this confessional is a candid look at one collector’s refreshing attitude towards bags and shopping. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Account Manager
Industry: Start-up Tech
Household Income: $130,000.00
Are you a PurseForum member? No
How many bags do you own? 24
What bags are in your collection?
-Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag, Black from 2005
-Balenciaga Mini City-Sky blue
-Balenciaga XL Matrix bag, Dark blue from 2003
-Chanel Lambskin XL Maxi Flap, Black from the 90s
-Chanel Lambskin Small Flap, Printed leather from 2010
-Chanel Rectangular Mini, Iridescent turquoise from 2017
-Coach Black Shoulder Bag from 2003
-Dior Gaucho Bag, Burgundy from 2006
-Dior Trotter Saddle Bag, Blue from early 2000s
-Gucci Soho Disco, Black
-Jerome Dreyfuss Bob Bag, Blue bandana print leather
-Jerome Dreyfuss Igor Bag, Teal suede
-Loewe Small Puzzle Bag, Tan
-Margiela Mini Glam Slam, Iridescent Purple
-MCM Monogram Fanny Pack in cognac
-MCM Monogram Fanny Pack in black
-Prada Mini Bow Bag, Dark blue with green bow
-Prada Degrade Shoulder Bag with Glace Zippers, from 2006 or 2007
-Prada Nylon Fanny Pack, Black
-Prada Re-Edition Shoulder Bag, Periwinkle Blue
-Proenza Schouler PS1 Mini, Blue
-Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac, Pink
-Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac, Black with oil slick hardware
-YSL by Tom Ford Black Shoulder Bag with Horn Handle (not the Mombassa, but from that collection)
How much is your collection worth? About $25,000
What is your most expensive bag? The bag I ever spent the most amount of money on would be my Chanel XL Maxi Flap in black lambskin with gold hardware. It cost around $3,500, but the bag that is probably worth the most currently would be my Chanel Rectangular Mini in iridescent turquoise lambkin. I’ve actually never used it and is in perfect condition.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? For me it’s the pieces that mean the most to me because of memories. My mother bought me the Balenciaga XL Matrix bag in dark blue at Barneys when I was 16 years old. It was on sale for just over $300. My mother also bought me my Balenciaga Motorcycle bag from 2005 when I graduated from high school. Those are bags I will never get rid of. Then my other favorite piece would have to be my Chanel Rectangular Mini in iridescent turquoise lambskin because it would be difficult to find again if I parted ways with it.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 16 years old and my mother bought me a Prada nylon messenger bag from Off 5th Saks Fifth Ave, it was around $500. I also got a Coach bag the same year.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I would love one of the new Bottega Bags or a Chanel 19, but Chanel’s recent price increase has made it hard to justify. If I got the Bottega, I would go for the grape color.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? All of the bags that my mom bought me. My family was never rich, but my mom was really good at saving money and she treated me well. I am an only child which made it easier. Unlike other teenagers that would ask for cars, I wanted handbags. So my Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag from 2005 in black, the leather is amazingly soft. My Balenciaga XL Matrix Bag from S/S 2003 and my Dior Gaucho bag from 2006. I am also very fond of my YSL by Tom Ford black leather shoulder bag with horn detail as I got it from the YSL outlet just outside of Florence when I was 16. My dad and I went there together on a family trip and he spent a whole day of our vacation helping me get to that outlet as he knew it was important to me. That bag is so special and I will never part with it.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes and no. I think people think that I’m a snob or overly materialistic. I have both very expensive and less expensive bags (i.e. my Rebecca Minkoff bags). I don’t judge people based on their bags, for me owning designer bags is a personal preference. I like them aesthetically and I would never buy a fake because I don’t believe in that
How often do you buy new bags? Lately it has been a couple times a year. I’m trying to be better about not buying as much and getting rid of bags that I don’t wear.
Which stores do you frequent the most? I love SSENSE, that’s where I purchased my Loewe Small Puzzle Bag in January of last year and it was only $1,985 with tax. I use Lyst and Modesens as much as possible to find the best deal. I also enjoy 24S, eBay (only for vintage), Fashionphile, the Outnet and Net-a-Porter.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Definitely, but I only really do that with vintage styles that I really wanted when I was younger and passed up. I got my Dior Trotter Saddle Bag before they made a come back for only $300 and yes, it is authentic. Then the following year they went up in price to over $1000. I’m sad I didn’t jump on a vintage Fendi Baguette before their return. I’m always looking on Fashionphile, eBay and Poshmark for vintage or pre-owned finds.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I have in the past. I had a Fendi Spy Bag, which I sold. I had a Mulberry Alexa in Loopy Leopard, which I sold. Now I want the mini version for nostalgia. I have contemplated selling my Gucci Soho Disco as I have never worn it, it’s still brand new in the box. I purchased it from Mytheresa in 2017 before there was a price increase or that mandatory online sales tax, so it was only $980 flat. I wanted it so badly, but never wound up wearing it, I’m on the fence.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? I do not, it’s more that I have an addiction and I like nice things. I could care less what other people think of me. That’s why I don’t buy heavily monogrammed bags. I don’t own a single Louis Vuitton bag for that reason. I would like to own one at some point, as they are a classic and a great investment. I just rather have a vintage one or maybe a collab piece like a Murakami or a Stephen Sprouse that I find on the secondary market. I have a more eclectic collection. I don’t own a Chanel Classic Flap in black, but I would like to.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Absolutely. Of course I have a mix of brands that have appreciated in value and I have some brands that lose 90% of their value on the resell market and I’m okay with that. I want a bag I love and that I’ll use. I rarely use the Chanel bags I have because they are so expensive and they are investments. I love them, but for me buying them was like buying a painting or stock. Then the less expensive bags I own or the ones that I wouldn’t be able to sell for much, I wear those all the time.
Who influences your buying decisions? I definitely think social media has had an influence on me. Also the past and nostalgia. I got into fashion when I was 15 years old. I would buy all of the European fashion magazines and peruse them. So now that a lot of these styles have made a comeback, I’m thrilled. My style has also changed. Now I’m interested in less logos and branding, unless it’s vintage.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not at this time they haven’t. I tend to go wherever I need to in order to get what I want and the best deal. I shop smart and on bags that aren’t Chanel, I never pay full price. Therefore I tend to do more shopping on e-commerce sites like SSENSE than I do in person. I’ve also found staff at some high end stores are generally unwelcoming. If I walk into a store with a cheap bag and I’m not treated well then I won’t spend any money with that person.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I like feeling the quality of the leather and smelling it. That’s part of my desire to buy a Bottega Veneta bag, the leather is just so good, almost good enough to use it as a pillow. Shopping can also serve as inspiration even if I don’t buy anything. Maybe the inspiration to make more money.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Definitely! I dress in a very nondescript and casual way. I would never want to broadcast to the world that I can afford a Chanel bag or that I own a Chanel bag. I often walk into designer stores in my $50 jeans, dad sneakers and Rebecca Minkoff bag and I know I am judged for that. Being that I’m in sales, I know what good customer service looks like and if someone doesn’t treat me well, I don’t bother spending money there.
Who pays for your bags? As a teenager my mom paid for my bags and all through my early twenties she paid for my rent, so that’s why I have some of the bags I have. Now I pay for them.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Not really unless there’s a bag I want and have wanted for a while. I planned my purchase of my Loewe Puzzle Bag. I went to Spain in 2019 and contemplated buying one while I was there as it would have been less expensive due to the VAT return. It was not the right time do to overall spending not the vacation, so I held off. In the end I’m happy I did.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Sadly yes, but by mistake and both times I was crushed. The first time was when my mom bought me my Balenciaga Motorcycle bag in 2005 for my high school graduation. We first tried to get one on eBay and that thing was so fake. When it arrived I started crying. It was probably made out of pleather, it was a very upsetting experience. Then we bought an authentic one from Blake in Chicago. I live in NYC and often walk down Canal Street. The only time I would even consider buying a fake is if it is a weird bag that never actually existed so it’s not trying to be something it’s not. Like a Louis Vuitton Gucci collab tote bag where it is just the right amount of irony to be cool. I bought this hideous blue sequined purse at a dollar store for 99 cents for that reason. It was so awful that it was actually amazing.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Kind of, but not really. He sees me looking at purses every evening on YouTube. I call it purse porn because that’s what it is. I do put my handbags away the moment I get them, but when he sees me wearing them he doesn’t ask.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I went out for coffee with a man from a sugar daddy website when I was 24 and he gave me $3,000 for meeting him for coffee. I bought my Chanel XL Maxi flap with that money.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Definitely! I love shopping, always have always will. I know it’s an issue because it’s a thirst that never goes away. I always tell myself after I buy this bag I won’t want anything else and then next thing I know it, I’m lusting after another bag.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I buy a lot of hype sneakers, mostly Nikes and Jordan 1s. And I like collecting vintage fashion. I just bought a Balenciaga scuba dress from S/S 2003 for $1,600, but I wanted it for the longest time and found a good deal on it, so I had to buy it.
Anything else you would like to include? Life is short so buy the bag! Don’t buy things to flex your status for other people, buy them because you love them and want to wear them.
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