Recently I’ve had a few requests for posts around how I take care of my wardrobe – clothes and accessories.
I am far from an expert in these areas but since I do try and have my items last as long as possible, I wanted to share some of my learnings. Today’s post will focus on leather accessories – clothing and jewelry will be next!
Here are my top three tips for taking care of bags and shoes.
1. Know a good cobbler.
I previously covered my amazing cobbler in this post – he’s fixed banged up Louboutins, nearly decade old Joseph pumps, and resoled my Chanel shoes so they can last for years longer. But a great cobbler/leatherworks person shouldn’t just be limited to shoes. When my Bottega hobo in Ebano was looking a little dingy and beat up (the strips can fray after a while), he restored it with careful care to look almost as good as new.
Find a good cobbler in your area – and make sure to consult them when you need to both a) repair and b) protect your leather goods.
2. Have the right tools at your disposal.
I love my cobbler and he’s way more talented than me, but constantly taking things in can be expensive. That’s why I try and take care of my items with little fixes along the way. Over the years I’ve invested in a few tools (with the help of the lovely Doc). My favorite and most used products? Lexol wipes and baby wipes.
Lexol wipes are made for leather, pH balanced, and get the A+ approval from Doc. I use these about once every season or so on all of my bags (provided that I’ve actually used them) – I give them a quick wipe down all around and am careful not to oversaturate. I leave them out to try. I use them for both bags and shoes as you can see, and just do a very gentle wipe down.
Baby wipes I use for everything else, and touchups in between. They’ve gotten out light pen stains, dark denim transfer, and just general dirt and grime (gross I know). If I am wearing a bag continuously, I’ll probably use these to wipe it down every two weeks or so. I especially concentrate on the handles of hand held bags as oils from your hands can transfer. IMPORTANT: make sure to get the unscented, sensitive skin baby wipes! Ones with alcohol, chlorine, and unnecessary scents can be more damaging to leather.
A note that Lovely Doc recommends Lexol wipes over these (her logical argument – aren’t baby wipes for human skin, not leather?) but I’ve had great results. Proceed at your own comfort level.
3. Treat your things right.
This is really important. Even the best cobblers won’t be able to repair the damage if you constant are abusing your bags and shoes. Take care of them! By this I don’t mean that you should treat them like delicate babies, getting umbrellas to shade them from the sun or making reservations for an extra +1 so your bag has somewhere to sit (yes I know someone who does this). For me, scratches and scuffs are a part of life and using and enjoying your items.
However, you should be logical and try not to overly abuse your accessories. If you’re going out to party and it’s one of those nights you’re going to get stepped on a lot, maybe leave the Manolos at home and bring out those old Steve Maddens you have just for this purpose.
Also , try and rotate your bags and shoes. Shoes because they should have time in between time to air out – and bags because it’s good to give them a break, especially if you’re used to weighing them down with all sorts of items.
Finally, I want to share with you my light (gold) colored Hermes bag, which I bought in early 2007. This bag has been through disastrous encounters with dark jeans, food spills, torrential rain showers, you name it – and it still looks pretty darn good for a 5.5 year old bag (in my opinion!). Leather goods can last a very, very long time as long as you treat them decently and take proper care.
I hope this was helpful to you all! If you have more tips for proper shoe and bag care, please share in the comments.