Twenty-two-year-old Tessany Becker, originally from Greenbush, Minn., is not the average handbag shopper. To date, she is the collector or shall we say fashionista of over 75 handbags.
“I think the most handbags I ever had was 87 or 89 or maybe 90. It was up there,” said Becker of her collection that started when she received a handbag as a Christmas gift from her sister at a young age.
Becker’s selective, but yet excessively large collection, consists mainly of non-typical handbags, functional oversized bags and a few small clutches that are switched on a daily basis.
“Oversized bags are more versatile. They can dress up your outfit, dress it down and add drama,” said Becker, who says some can be worn as crossovers. “I love fashion and having or wearing something that stands out from the rest.”
This fashionista is not only one of a kind, but she can also remember where she has purchased each glamorous handbag.
“I really like shopping at thrift shops, vintage places, T.J. Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory,” said Becker. “I love finding the shops that not everyone goes to. If it’s under $30, I love it’s perfect.”
“It was the most gorgeous blue handbag I had ever seen,” said Becker. “I sat and stewed over whether I should spend so much on a bag, but when I went to visit it again it was gone.”
As if it were meant to be, the warehouse had one left in stock, and the Guess handbag made its home in Becker’s collection.
“Recently I found the same exact purse at Burlington Coat Factory for almost a third of the price,” she said.
Being a senior at the University of North Dakota, Becker has done her fair share of moving. She says that every time she rents a new place, she tries to downsize her handbag collection.
“I just feel that moving gives me a great opportunity to be a little more selective of which ones I want to keep,” said Becker, who is majoring in elementary education, and double minoring in English and middle level education.
And each new place brings about challenges of how to store the oodles of handbags.
A year ago Becker lived in an apartment where her room had a large walk-in closet. Instead of using it to hang up and organize clothes, her collection of handbags took over three-fourths of the closet, each individually hanging on its own hanger.
Becker likes to think of her collection this way: I like my money where I can see it hanging in my closet.
She also used this closet to display her collection of shoes and jewelry.
This year she has to be a little more creative because she lives in a smaller two bedroom apartment with a roommate.
“I used cement blocks to lift my bed and bought Rubbermaid totes to slide underneath,” she said.
Becker says she hasn’t been able to find handbags or even jewelry lately that seems to interest her. So, one of her new hobbies is making her own jewelry. She says eventually one day she would like to own her own boutique.
Becker’s mom, Marita Becker, a rural resident of Greenbush, Minn., is also a selective collector. Marita has been collecting eclectic antiques since her early 20s and actively uses her functional collection on a daily basis. She says interesting items with a use and story inspire her to collect.