How much do you spend on bags? After our discussion on Tuesday regarding whether a reader should spend $2100 on a bag that she was different from what she normally carried, reader E wrote in with this comment:
After reading your post yesterday regarding expensive, professional bags, I wonder who out there can afford such a bag? I am a lawyer at a big firm and live in DC. My firm pays the standard scale — I currently make $185,000 and will soon get a raise to $210,000. While I realize I may be somewhat conservative when it comes to clothes (I tend to buy designer clothes on sale or through Gilt or Ideeli), I am definitely not cheap. I would buy a $350 purse, but that is a far cry from $2100! Like most lawyers I know, I have student loans and a mortgage. However, I don’t save that much money (though I do pay extra on my loans). So my question is, who pays $2100 for a purse? Are these people who have no loans? Who have married money? Or am I just not investing enough in my wardrobe? I am interested in getting your (and other readers) opinion(s).
This is a great question, and we haven’t discussed this since the big discussion on how much people generally spend on clothes a few years ago.* (Pictured.) I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but for my own $.02, this is how I look at it:
- The vast majority of my bags are in the $300-$600 price range. Many were purchased for below $200, though, either at sample sales, online sales, or through flash sales (some of where I had “referral points” from recommending different flash sale sites on the blog).
- When I bought my most expensive bag (my LV), I used money from my aunts/grandmother. See, every holiday in my family, all the kids get money from all the aunts. Happy Easter, here’s $50. When I started working as a lawyer, I decided to use the cash mostly for cab money/random expenses, but to keep track in my Palm Pilot of who gave me what, and when, and save it for some “splurge” purchase. After three or four years it added up to a lot of money… so I used it to buy the LV, guilt-free. It always makes me smile because I think of the bag as a gift from them.
- That said: I have way too many bags. When I was working I tried to switch purses once every few weeks or so, to keep them in rotation. (For my current lifestyle, I almost never see the vast majority of my collection — I keep pictures of them all so I can easily remember what I have and want without having to rifle through the bags on the tippy top shelf of my closet, mostly covered in dustbags.) (Um: because I am insane, I thought I’d share some of those pictures with you below… I’m obviously not a professional photographer or Photoshopper!) Looking back, I probably could have/should have saved up the money I was spending on various small purse purchases, and instead bought one really nice purse once a year. Four $300 purses = One $1200 purse. I think the majority of women who spend Big Money on one bag do so with the acknowledgement that they don’t like to switch bags and the intention to carry that single bag for two or three years. Ultimately: do I spend a lot on bags? Sure. Do I spend a lot less than some of my friends do? Yep. Do I spend a lot more than some of my other friends do? Yep. (Just to be totally clear: The collection below goes back as far back as law school in some cases, so this is almost 10 years of purse purchases. When the vast majority of these were purchased, I was a single girl with a lot of extra income — I thought they were a good investment, and I liked that purses “fit” no matter what size I happened to be that morning. I purchase far less bags these days, if only because it’s harder to justify the expense with a baby. And yes, you probably do recognize some of these from Coffee Break postings and other blog posts.)
- Update: I just remembered that Jean at Extra Petite had a great video about how she’s saved money on Chanel bags over the years by taking advantage of store-wide discounts and store credit card offers (e.g., sign up for a credit card, get 15% off all day)… so keep in mind that $2100 could quickly become less than that if you’re smart about it.
Readers, how much do you spend on bags, generally? Whatever the price range, how often do you switch bags — and how does that affect your purchasing decisions? If you’re spending Big Money on the bag, how do you justify it to yourself?
* Fun story: in the “how much do you generally spend on clothes” post in 2009, I listed the price ranges that I generally expect to see for clothing that I wore to work, and neglected to make clear that those were the ticket prices, not the prices I actually pay [you guys KNOW I love a good sale]. Anyway: this was 2009, so I was still anonymous as a blogger, and had a big conference/charity dinner for the day job when the post went live, so I totally missed the fact that commenters were incensed re: some of my “normal” price ranges. A good friend, who knew my deep dark blogging secret (as well as the fact that I generally turn up my nose at anything less than a 35% sale), happened to be at the event, tracked me down, and said, YOU MUST FIX THIS NOW. So: huddling behind a big round charity dinner table, using my friend’s Blackberry, I posted the update.)