Pre-owned Luxury Fashion

Handle with Care: Maintaining Your Designer Handbag

Posted by Ashley Horowitz on

Whether you’re holding onto that Céline Trapeze for the long haul or giving it a loving stop-over for a few years before parting ways with it (à la consignment...more on that here), one thing is certain: There's an impressive degree of care that goes into maintaining a designer handbag.


We North Americans are particularly adept at buying handbags. Just over a year ago, retail sales of women's handbags hit approximately 10.51 billion US dollars. What we’re not so good at is taking proper care of them.

From setting our Valentino Rockstud totes on the floor (please, spare us the details) to carrying pens sans caps, we’ve certainly got the don’ts covered. With the cost of designer handbags on the rise (Chanel is reported to have hiked some of their pricetags by nearly 20% in 2018), taking care of your investment is more important than ever.

Here, our team of luxury specialists breaks down the top five dos when it comes to getting a handle on maintaining your designer handbag.

Use Products
Coffee, Açaí bowls and turmeric lattes happen. That’s why we cannot stress the value of weather- and life-proofing products enough. Clean, dry cloths, cleansers, conditioners and water/stain repellants are worth their weight in gold.

1. Always test products in an inconspicuous area to avoid discolouration.
2. First, get that newly bought shine by *gently* wiping your bag to eliminate surface marks and water spots (do this even if your bag is brand new so that no dirt is sealed in during the next steps).
3. Using a terry-cloth towel, massage a few drops of a high-quality cleanser into the fabric. This product by Cadillac is literally the Cadillac of leather lotions. We’ve also heard great things about Apple Brand. Leave overnight to dry completely.
4. The next day, using the same terry-cloth massage technique, apply a conditioner, such as Laston Leather Conditioner & Moisturizer, that’s suited to the material of your handbag. Leave it to dry for several hours.
5. Finally, apply a high quality rain and stain repellent. We love Collonil Leather Gel or Chamberlain’s Leather Milk.
6. Repeat as directed and/or required (typically every six months or so).

Not sure what to use or where to start? Contact a member of our team for some guidance or pay a visit to your local cobbler.

Stuff Your Bags
Nothing like a slouchy Louis Vuitton Papillon 30, right? Wrong. As it turns out, “slouchy” and “Papillon” don’t belong in the same sentence. When famed '60s supermodel Twiggy rocked this style, she set off a fashion frenzy, prompting bon-vivants the world over to snag the same structured style from the storied luggage house. Those of us who still own this timeless masterpiece – or any deliciously structured handbag, for that matter – by way of consignment, inheritance or (gasp) original purchase know that stuffing it with a sweater or parchment paper will preserve the bag’s iconic shape. NB: Stay away from newspaper, which smears.

Keep Tags and Receipts
So you’ve got a croc Hermès Birkin, the bag aficionado's holy grail. While you might be holding onto it for dear life right now (we get it), your five-years-from-now self might have a change of heart. Fact: it happens. For ease of consignment and resale, having original tags and proof of purchase will go a long way in the authentication process. While our team of experts examine authenticity codes, brand markings, date codes, holograms, leather quality, serial numbers,
stamps, stitching and zippers, there’s nothing like tags and receipts to verify 100% authenticity.

Use Dust Bags
Ironically, handbags crafted from animal skins (even sea creatures) can be particularly susceptible to damage. Dust bags are to handbags as celebrity assistants are to hollywood starlets on a rainy red carpet. You get it, right? All of our luxury consignment designer bags come with a dust bag. Keep it and use it. Repeat bag swappers take note: If you change bags regularly, this tip is especially important.

Buy a Bag Insert
On the topic of bag swapping, one thing we know for certain is that the daily changeover is a pain. A lipstick is always left behind, only to be rediscovered weeks later, and other little things simply disappear into the swap-over abyss. We say style doesn’t have to overtake practicality. Trust us, buy a bag organizer insert. Whether it’s a simple water-resistant pouch, a portable organizer like this one that we recently snagged on Amazon, or an elaborate sink-topper from Chanel, a bag insert will protect your designer purses from concealer spills and transform them into a perfectly organized masterpiece. When it’s time for a purse change, you’re good to go.


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