Your clothes do a lot for you when you think about it. They provide warmth and protection from the elements, but they also provide an opportunity to tell the world something about us without even asking. Clothes play a huge role in our lives, and there’s nothing more satisfying than finding an item that’s exactly your style and fits to a T.
…Which makes the loss or deterioration of said item even more devastating. Has this ever happened to anyone else? For me, it was a cashmere sweater I got when I was 14. It had an oversized fit and was a burnt orange shade that complimented my auburn hair perfectly in the fall. I used to get a ton of compliments on it, until I haphazardly threw it in the wash with the rest of my clothes and it never came out the same. R.I.P.
However, the beauty of having a blog is that I can share with you my mistakes so only one of us has to make them (read: me). Whether you pay a lot for your clothes or not, how you care for them makes a world of difference in the kind of longevity and use you’ll get out of it. Of course, the quality of the item to begin with does play a factor, but don’t go hating on your $10 H&M blouses just yet.
I started writing this as one post, but then quickly realized that there’s just too much info here to cram into a single post. So, I’ve decided to break it up into three sections: the purse edition, the shoe edition, and the clothes edition. Behold, your cheat sheet to caring for your purses!
Storage When Not in Use: The biggest element in properly caring for your clothes is how you store them when you’re not using them. For purses, this is a major factor. If your purse comes in a dust bag, you should always put your bag in it after use. This is to prevent dust from settling on your bags and creating splotchy patterns, as well as protecting them from sunlight. If your bag didn’t come with a dust bag, you can use a reusable grocery bag or a cheap pillowcase.
If you like your bag and want to keep it for a long time (hopefully you do!), you should also stuff your purse before putting it in the dust bag. Stuffing prevents dust from getting in the inside of the bag and also helps the bag to hold it’s shape. This is an important step for the care of all bags, but especially necessary for anything that has a structured silhouette that might begin to collapse over time.
When placing your bags on a shelf, the best spot is off the ground and away from the sunlight. I know, the urge to place your beauties in plain sight is overwhelming, but don’t do it. Sunlight, especially on leather, is the fastest way to fade your bags and make them even more susceptible to weather damage. Unless you have a Carrie Bradshaw-esque closest, save those babies for displaying only when you wear them with your outfits. Once you’ve found a shelf, make sure that your bags are close enough to give them support, but not so close to cram them in like sardines. Your bags definitely need room to breathe, and shoving them into a small space will only cause damage (and heartbreak). It’s okay if the bags are touching, but you should be able to fit a vertical hand between each bag comfortably when they’re sitting on the shelf. Here’s an example of how I store my bags:
When In Use: I’ve read posts before on care instructions for purses, and people always leave out how to care for your bag when actually using it, which I find kind of funny. So, I’m definitely including a section on that here. To begin, you should always spray any leather bags you have with a leather protectant spray about twice a year to protect from general weather damage. Double check to make sure you have a clear spray before spraying on any light coloured items, and always start by spraying a small spot on the bottom of your bag to make sure it doesn’t discolour your leather.
Once you’ve done that and you’re ready to hit the town, double check the weather. This may sound funny, but you won’t be laughing when your favourite bag is getting hailed on. Trust me, if the weather is questionable, leave any expensive or sentimental bags you’d be upset about ruining at home. It’s way easier to change your outfit to wear with a different purse if need-be.
Also, consider where you’re going when selecting your bag. This isn’t just for stylistic purposes, but for taking into account what your bag is made of and what it can withstand. People often think that a more expensive bag should be able to stand up to more, but that’s very rarely the case. If you’re going somewhere crowded (think concert, festival, busy shopping mall on Black Friday), leave your soft and light-coloured leather at home. Patent or Caviar leather (which is shiny and/or textured) can withstand so much more than a smooth leather can. Case in point, I once saw a lady bawling her eyes out at a concert because someone had created a long, very noticeable scratch in her Chanel bag when they walked by and bumped against her. My heart broke, but it was definitely preventable.
You should also take note of the colour of your bag and the colour of your clothing. If you’re wearing dark clothes with a light coloured purse, colour transfer can happen and is often irreversible. I’d never advocate for you to keep a purse away from a stellar outfit, but keep in mind that your Old Navy jeans might not play nice with your little white crossbody bag (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything 😉
Finally, take note of the condition of your bag before you put it away. Gently wipe it down if it’s dirty. If there are any scratches or colour transfer, try to deal with them ASAP to prevent the damage from settling into the material. Often small discolourations or marks can be dealt with at home (blog post coming soon!), and bigger ones can usually be handled by a cobbler. But with anything, being proactive is always easier than being reactive!
There, now you have my top tips for keeping your bags in pristine condition! It doesn’t matter if a bag was $15 or $1.500, if you look after it well and follow these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come!
Stay tuned for my shoe and clothing care editions in the coming weeks 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!