Purse Forum's Personal Baggage

[Trendzilla] This online orgy of conspicuous consumption can be a good resource for purse purchasers

She goes by “peanutbutterbabycakes,” and she leads a seemingly picture-perfect life.

She’s got twin baby boys; a husband she refers to as “DH” (“Dear Husband”); and a huge, fucking chateau-style mansion filled with gorgeous furnishings, a giant walk-in closet and, most notably, another giant walk-in closet filled with handbags worth thousands of dollars—each, that is.

She is just one member of the more than 258,000 of the Purse Forum (purseforum.com), where people converge to chat about their bags, from the extra fancy (Hermès, Goyard) to the affordable and mainstream (Juicy Couture, Coach).

These members post photos of bags they’re seeking, bags they own, bags that are coming out, whom to purchase these bags from, whether or not that classic Chanel flap they’re eyeing on eBay is authentic . . . they’ve got it covered. “Reveal posts” are commonplace, and members congratulate one another on purchases—great job on spending $7,000 on that purple ostrich purse!—as well as goad one another on.

And, actually, it’s a nice resource if you’re seeking to research a bag you’re interested in. I usually put a lot of fieldwork into a bag before buying: What’s the best outlet to purchase from, whether or not a discount is feasible, etc.

But some of these gals really take the attraction of a shiny new bag to interesting heights, treating the Purse Forum as a virtual show-and-tell grounds—what would be a crass faux pas in real life is just fine under the Internet’s cloak of anonymity. The January 2008 intro post by peanutbutterbabycakes’ starts off, “A long, long time ago in a land far, far away (LOL . . . I mean two months ago and 10 minutes away from my current new home), there was a poor poor lil’ shack of a closet filled with yummy goodies that looked like this . . .” A photograph of a chestnut wardrobe is posted, packed with clothing and some noticeably Hermès-orange dustbags.

The next post? “Then one day . . . my darling prince charming of a hubby decided to build me my lil’ French ‘castle.’” And then the next: “And inside that French ‘castle’ . . . why not have a French boutique to house all my yummy goodies?? So let’s take a tour, shall we??”

And for more than 201 pages, peanutbutterbabycakes posts detailed photographs of every handbag she owns, all photographed within her walk-in closet with the built-in shelving, chandelier and designer bags lining the walls. Within the first few pages are a Louis Vuitton monogram canvas bucket bag (2010 retail price: $1,010) and three Fendi baguettes (which you’ll remember were an offshoot of the Sex and the City craze—she mentions she owned “around 20” of these at her peak; the bags now start at $900). The next pages reveal dozens and dozens of Chanels, Pradas, Guccis, Fendis, jewelry (including a 13-carat diamond ring), heels, even pictures of her home (including her way-envy-worthy professional kitchen) and the very-much-coveted Hermès Kelly and Birkin bags—which she has photographed all together on her winding staircase: seven Birkins and seven Kellys, as of 2008. These bags go from $8,000 to $140,000 apiece.

vchang@ocweekly.com

This column appeared in print as "Personal Baggage."

 
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