Friday, August 27, 2021

August 2021 Shopping Reflections

With this month's huge purchase, I was originally going to rely on the secondhand market and wait for the right one to come along in hopefully decent condition and for the right price. There I heard some whisperings about an imminent 10-20% price increase on Celine handbags on August 25, which was corroborated by a sales associate I spoke to at one of the NYC Celine boutiques. So then I made the order, only to find that when August 25 finally rolled around, the price for this specific bag remained completely unchanged online, at least as of today. So that's a bit of a comedy of errors. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support! 

I've been thinking about the large Celine Seau Sangle for quite some time. In fact, had the COVID pandemic not turned critical in the US and western Europe exactly when it did, I'd probably already own one, thanks to a lengthy Paris business trip that was scheduled for mid-March 2020 but ultimately never happened due to COVID shutdowns and travel restrictions.

Despite my longtime interest in this bag, I never seriously considered looking at the secondhand market for it - or for any similarly priced designer handbag, really - until very recently, when I was finally within spitting distance of completely paying off my student loans. After first dabbling with the secondhand designer handbag market through the purchase of the currently more modestly priced Balenciaga City, I felt more confident about potentially buying the Celine Seau Sangle that way. I've been tracking the secondhand market for the large Seau Sangles closely ever since, primarily on Fashionphile, but also on TheRealReal ("TRR") and Yoogi's Closet

Out of the three secondhand sellers I've been looking at for the past six weeks, only Fashionphile and TRR get new inventory in often enough and quickly enough to have had a few Seau Sangles pass through in that time. Fashionphile's pricing is generally quite competitive, they start many large Seau Sangles at ~$1,600 or less - sometimes a lot less - though more neutral colors like dark gray or black may start higher. I don't really trust TRR's authentication processes at all*, and they also tend to price large Seau Sangles much higher, often at least $2,100 for black, gray, or navy in decent condition. Seau Sangles in neutral colors tend to sell quickly - even the more pricey ones at TRR - they often don't stick around long enough for even one round of automatic markdowns by either Fashionphile or TRR. 

Long story short, after six weeks I wasn't feeling that great about my chances for finding the right Celine Seau Sangle - I wanted black or possibly navy - secondhand at the right price. Only one came around on Fashionphile at all, and it started at a price point quite a bit higher than I wanted. (They've labeled it "dark gray," but it looks black to me. Admittedly, I don't know the past season colors at all. I  suspect this one will remain unsold long enough to be marked down at least once, it's already hung out a while.) This particular Seau Sangle was also in worse condition than I wanted, though I'm not sure secondhand buyers of this bag can be too picky about avoiding all visible signs of wear and tear. It would be natural for the woven wool strap to pill over time. The grained leather versions also may soften and sag considerably with use, based on many of the ones that have been listed at TRR. 

But if I had been willing to wait, I probably would have been able to save a lot on this purchase by buying secondhand. A black Seau Sangle in better condition would almost certainly have popped up eventually on Fashionphile. Alas, I guess I'm not that patient!

Fashion - (TOTAL: $2,613.00) 

  • Celine Seau Sangle bucket bag, grained calfskin, black - $2,613.00* - I've seen tons of photos and videos of this bag in action (Kristy has one; Elaine had grained leather and natural calfskin ones at different times; and some other bloggers and YouTubers also have one), so I was pretty confident the shape and design would work for me before I first visited a Celine boutique to take a look. The only thing that surprised me when seeing the bag in person was that the leather was a bit thicker and heavier than I expected, maybe because I've never shopped for a new bag in this price range before. I was worried this bag could look too large and floppy on my 5'3'' - and more curvy and somewhat stocky - frame, but I actually think it's a good size for me because I generally like medium-to-large bags. I find the thick wool strap comfortable to carry, it doesn't slip off my shoulders while I'm out and about. According to others, this bag can fit a 13-inch laptop, but I'll probably never carry a laptop in it because then it'd be too heavy to comfortably wear on my walking commute. Some might not like how the Seau Sangle has a large opening that can't be closed completely, though I don't personally mind it, even when commuting around NYC. (Recall that I also enjoy using the Mansur Gavriel Large Tote in vegetable-tanned leather, which is even more open than the Seau Sangle due to the design and stiffness of the leather. Because the grained calfskin of the Seau Sangle is softer, the top of it flops somewhat more closed than my Mansur Gavriel tote ever does.) In my experience so far, the Seau Sangle's exterior side pockets aren't functional, something the size of my iPhone 11 would often stick out a bit and could accidentally fall out while I'm on the go. But the very limited internal organization in this bag - one open interior pocket and a zippered pocket - is plenty for my needs. 
*Indicates that price includes sales tax. 

As this purchase happened quite late in August, I originally thought I'd have nothing to report in this month's shopping reflections post. I was about to write that I was really feeling what Kathy described about not wanting to shop much for fall/winter this year, due to being preoccupied with deteriorating COVID conditions in many parts of the US. If I were to try and claim that now, I wouldn't sound very credible, given the extent of this month's spending! 

But out of the categories of items I normally list in these monthly shopping reflections posts, there are only two other things I could see myself potentially buying through the rest of 2021: one sweater, possibly the light gray chunky crew neck from The Curated and maybe also a pair of these Patina Eclipse stud earrings from Porcelain and Stone

I'm also buying K and I's wedding bands soon, of course, but I usually omit that kind of one-time, special purpose purchase from my monthly shopping reports. Now that I'm starting to run outside regularly for the first time since law school, I may also end up needing some new activewear for outdoor temperatures. I typically omit athletic wear, sleepwear, underthings, and socks from these shopping reports because they're purely utilitarian and boring items to me that I've only ever shopped for rarely, on an as-needed basis. There's never been a risk I'll over-buy or shop impulsively in these categories. Outside of things like running shoes and sports bras where the need to replace something is extremely obvious - due to wear and tear causing knee or ankle pain or body shape and size changes, respectively - I haven't actually purchased any new activewear since I was in law school.

How's the rest of your shopping year looking? Are you also feeling less interested in shopping for the end of year than usual? With all the many things I've been doing recently - both fashion-related and not - I've really been spending money like it's going out of style ever since I finished paying off my student loans. I guess I was so disciplined for so long to accomplish my student loan repayment that, as soon as I finally completed it, I really wanted to indulge myself a lot. Things should calm down considerably on the spending front in September and afterwards, however.

* There definitely exist some extremely convincing counterfeit Celine Seau Sangles out there, so buyer beware. I dropped by a Celine boutique and handled one of these bags in person before making a final decision about whether to order, but I don't think that experience was enough to make me confident in my ability to suss out a fake.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from anyone who might be reading! Please feel free to leave a comment or question.