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Purse Check-Up 101

by audra

You’re so excited! For weeks you’ve been pining for that one purse! As soon as you get it home the box is ripped open, you trash the tissue paper, and plop it irreverently into your closet where it gets dusty, scratched, and loses it’s “spark.” However, it’s relatively simple to keep your handbags looking good for many years if you stop the madness. The new trend in closets is to display your bags on shelves. As a former fashion stylist I am here to tell you that this is a big NO-NO-NO-NO-NO!

Dirt, moisture, and dust are big enemies to your newly acquired handbag. The moisturizer and makeup residue on your hands is also a big part of the problem.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go to my chiropractor from cringing when I walk into someone’s closet and they have their beautiful, pricey bags heaped on a hook, bundled together, or out on shelves without their dust covers. As pretty as your bags are, they need TLC. Think of it this way: How you treat your purses is a reflection of your relationship with money. Handbag health is very important to do if you ever have big plans for turning your handbags in for money later. No one wants to pay premium for a bag with leather and fabric rot, that has lost it’s shape, or/and has scuff marks on it. Here are a few simple tips for proper bag hygiene.


After using your handbag, the first step is to empty it of its contents and any debris. If your bag is crafted from hard-pressed, grained leather, wipe the exterior of the bag softly with a damp paper towel or an alcohol-free baby wipe. If it is made from natural or untreated leather, or if it is exotic or suede, then  dust it with a dry paper towel. For more serious issues, take it to a professional.


Now that your bag is empty and clean, you must stuff it in order for it to keep its shape. Use acid-free tissue paper, a small pillow, or fabric. No plastic as this leaves a chemical residue. Be sure to wrap exposed hardware (including buckles and zipper pulls) with a piece of tissue paper to keep it from making imprints on your bag over time.


Place your bag in a soft, breathable dust bag. If you don’t have one, you can use a cotton pillowcase in a neutral colour, in order to prevent colour transfer. Make sure that the dust bag is large enough so that your handbag doesn’t warp when it is stored.


Do not pile handbags on top of one another because the hardware from the bags can scratch and this is how your bags lose their shape. In addition, do not leave anything touching patent leather — it will cause colour to transfer from the patent leather. White bags need to be constantly cleaned since dirt shows up quickly.

•Handle with care

Refrain from hanging your bags — this will distort the shape of the handles.


Now store your bag in its original box or (if you don’t have it) purchase purse boxes online. You can put a photograph of the bag on the outside of the box for reference, and line your bags up on a shelf in your closet. If the shelf is not tall enough, do not allow the handles of the bag to be pressed down — in this event, the bag should lie flat. No plastic storage bins as light also destroys your bags.

Top Tips****I do like to put beach bags out on display since they have a limited life span anyway and can add a decorous ambience to your closet.

Oh—— and stop putting your purses on the floor! How gross! Keep them on your lap or on a chair! How dirty do you think that floor is?

One last tip: It is almost impossible to spot counterfeit handbags these days. Even the top consignment stores can’t truly authenticate. You can be paying thousands for a bag that is fake and it comes in the same box, has an authenticity card, and dust bag. If you suspect that you bought one, go to the designer and have them check it out. Many consignment stores do not do due diligence, but you should. I had a client that bought a second hand Birkin at a premium price from a very reputable site. She was shocked when she was told (after sending it in to be fixed by Hermès) that it was a fake. The site that sold it to her did give her a refund. Be smart about your money. Try to but from only reputable resellers that will stand behind the purse.

Wishing you and your purses happy long lives!

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