All over the world, among the many common addictions that women share, the love for luxury handbags could possibly top the list (Wait, shoes are a strong competitor!). Your cupboard may already be stuffed with purses, clutches, baguette bags, messenger bags, sling bags, totes, saddle purses and pouches, but that won’t stop you from buying a new Minaudiere to add to your sparkle at the next party. Men may never understand what the fuss is all about, but seriously, what’s not to like? Handbags aren’t just about accessorizing, although obviously that is a big plus; no, they are practical too! Men might not have a problem with their jeans pockets bulging over with their keys, phones and wallets stuffed into them. But for a woman, well it would just cramp our style! We’d rather have a snazzy handbag that complements our outfit and offers all the right compartments and storage places to organise all the stuff we lug around with us on a daily basis – which is obviously a whole lot more than the essential keys, wallets and phone!
If you want to show true love to your designer bags or any other bag, start by making a conscious effort to extend their life so that your collection of bags lasts you through the years. You can show love for your planet by buying fewer new ones in the process! There are a number of things you can do to care for and keep your bag as good as new:
Handbag Care Tip 1: Never Dump Your Bag on the Floor!
When you come home after a hard day’s work or a shopathon, usually you’re in a rush to jump out of your glad-rags and into your sweatpants, put dinner on the table and just relax. In the process most of you will probably just throw your clothes over the back of a chair and dump your handbag on the floor – Don’t do that! Your handbag may not seem particularly delicate, but if you want to make it last, you’ll avoid leaving it lying around on the floor – whether you’re outside or in your own home – as that enhances the risk of dirt, grime and stains lingering on the material.
Handbag Care Tip 2: Protect the Material
A designer leather handbag can be elegant, luxurious and even bohemian looking, but if you don’t take care of it, it will soon develop cracks. Make sure to treat your leather bags with a leather protector/conditioner on a regular basis to avoid this. You can do the same for your fabric bags by cleaning them with products like Scotchgard Fabric Protector. If you have any handbags made out of suede, you will know this is one of the trickier materials to work with as it is very sensitive to humidity. So if you’re living in a country like Singapore it’s important to find a product that is both water and oil repellent.
Done your best but still need intervention from the pros? Check out Secondsguru’s ‘Where to Repair guide’ for a list of bag care/ repair shops in Singapore.
Handbag Care Tip 3: Storage
We’ve already discussed how simply dumping your bag on the floor is a big no-no, so you won’t be surprised to hear that just stowing your leather bag in your closet isn’t going to do it any favours either. Always stuff your bag with tissue paper or soft materials to maintain its natural shape. Clutch bags and the like are best kept in an upright position with the handles crossed over to prevent wear and tear. If you have any bags with long straps, you may consider hanging them up with the rest of your clothes – saves on storage space too!
Handbag Care Tip 4: Pass It Forward
There may come a day when, no matter how new and fantastic your bag looks and how much you’ve loved it so far, you’ll get bored and not want to be seen with it ever again. This is when you must resist the urge to shove the preloved bag into the darkest corner of your rumpliest cupboard! Instead, make a clean break – and sell it forward online. Portals such as Carousell (a reselling marketplace) and Reebonz (a specialist luxury hand bang reseller) are great options to rehome your once-loved bag. Alternativley, you can swap it for a replacement- check out The Fashion Pulpit and Swapaholic– both highly successful swapping platforms for clothes and accessories in Singapore. If none of these work, simply donate it to give it a fresh lease of life. Not sure where to donate? Check out Secondsguru’s ‘Where to donate guide’ in Singapore.
If you manage to sell or swap you’ll monetize the effort you took all these years (or months!) to keep your bag in mint condition. If you donate, you will bring a smile on someone’s face. All equally rewarding states of being!
For those of you who love a bag way too much to give it away, consider connecting with the extremely creative and talented founder of Meraki, Yosha Gupta and entrust your bag with her. She and her army of India based artisans will spin their magic on your bag by painting on it and giving it a new lease of life. Simply click a picture of your bag and send it to Yosha and her team. Thereafter, you can choose your favourite pattern from various options shown to you via mock ups on your bag. Secondsguru’s co-founder, Lara Rath’s has used this platform for a Burberry handbag and swears by it “My black bag was not damaged, but just boring”, says Lara. “Today, it is my favourite go-to-bag!”
Our guest author Helen oversees marketing for some companies in Milan, Italy – the fashion capital of the world. She shares with us tips on how we can keep our precious luxury bags in mint condition with just a little TLC.
Updated November 2020. Original article published on Feb 2, 2015.