What’s going on everyone? The weekend is finally here, I bet your glad of that! I thought I would talk a little about leather handbags and purses today. I try to make this a leather site about all things leather, so I’ll include purse and handbags, at least once. Now, almost no where else is the problem of cheap and fake leather more common than in handbags and purses!
Most of the leather handbags out there are not real leather at all. There are a wide variety of “synthetic” leather that is passed of as leather. That means it’s rubber or plastic, with some fabric thrown in. Simulated real leather, leather-like, leather grain pattern, leatherette, all those names are fancy fronts for non leather fabric.
Even the real leather purses can be really cheap. Of course we have the patchwork leather purses too, which are even worst than the fake leather knock-offs! Don’t get a patch work, bonded leather purse or handbag. They will fall apart almost as soon as you start using them. They also often use leather so thin it rips just dragging a fingernail over it.
The handbag to the left here is a suede leather handbag. Leather suede purses look really nice and are very soft. So what kind of leather goes into a leather handbag? Well, handbags and purses don’t need to be too strong, but yet strong enough. Almost any normal animal hide used for leather jackets is used.
Cowhide, Buffalo hide and pigskin are common and are the most durable. They use the split layer as it’s softer. Also it’s common for them to press a leather grain design in the split layer. Sometimes they even press in a simulated alligator grain design. They also use goatskin, sheepskin and lambskin.
Now you often hear about how a lambskin purse is so soft and so on. It’s true they are soft, but they also are weak and can easily be ripped. Back when I was dumb about leather I use to sell some that were lambskin, cheap ones. Almost half the time the bags had rips or tears in them and I could not use them. Also they can use some damn cheap stuff to color the leather and fill in holes.
However if you get a quality made leather lambskin handbag or purse they will last a long time. The trick is not getting one where they sliced the layers too thin. So, if you want a super smooth, out on the town leather purse, try a lambskin one. But if you want a general all purpose handbag that will carry a lot, go with a thicker, tougher leather hide.
Leather handbags and purses can be colored just about any color, so you can find a nice variety of colors to choose from. The hardware should be good quality. Loops, rings, swivels, zippers, buckles and so on should be made of stainless steel, nickel, brass or other quality metal. Cheap hardware will rust and make your leather discolor and mildew.
You can decorate your leather handbag with conchos, studs and other cool items. Leather braids and leather fringe are also popular. A leather handbag can have many compartments and look very beautiful. So how should you best treat and upkeep your leather handbag or purse? The same way you treat a leather jacket. Leather is leather, you always treat it the same.
If you don’t know how to treat leather, go to my other post where I talked all about how to treat and care for your leather item HERE. Use a toothbrush when putting the leather conditioner and sealer on to get into all those little corners and places where the hardware meets the leather. Don’t leave any build up, as it attracts dirt and mildew.
So how do you know your looking at a quality leather handbag or purse and not a fake or cheap one? Well look for a tag inside somewhere that says “genuine leather” or something like that. Rub the leather between your fingers, it should feel strong, not like you can put your finger through it. See if any color rubs off, or if it seems to scratch easy.
Flex it and see if the finish cracks. Look good at the hardware and see if there is any rust or if the leather around it is discolored. Zip all the zippers and see if they stick or bind. Finally smell it, it should smell like leather, not strong like gasoline or rubber. Once you pick out a quality leather handbag or purse it will last you for many years!