How to take care of your beloved designer bags

Vintage pieces that have been taken care of will almost always be a good investment, especially if you buy from iconic fashion houses like Chanel and Hermès. The prices of some of the bags from these high-end luxury brands rise every year, bringing the concept of an investment bag to life. If you take care of these bags, they’ll hardly loose value.

Experience also tells us that luxury brands have a stronger focus on quality and resistant materials meaning their products are better suited for longer wear, making them perfect for sustainable shopping.

So what can you do to best preserve your designer bags when wearing and caring for them? Let’s get into it!

Choosing a bag for the occasion 

When wearing secondhand or vintage bags you have to be conscious of the material and how it sits on your clothing – and not just for the obvious aesthetic reasons.

If you wear a brightly colored bag in a sensitive material – perhaps suede – you should wear it with lightly colored clothing or wear it as a handbag to avoid discoloring on both your clothes and the bag.

It’s also a good idea to be conscious of the weather conditions when leaving the house. Save the sensitive materials for days without rain or bring a cover in case you should find yourself outside when it starts pouring.

You should always avoid putting hairspray and perfume directly on delicate materials and prevent stains by storing makeup, liquids etc. in a small pouch inside your bag.

When going out you ought to choose a bag that fits the occasion – if you’re going somewhere where you’ll need to use your hands a lot, don’t go for a clutch bag that you’ll need to put down all the time and perhaps instead go for a shoulder or crossbody bag. By planning ahead you can avoid putting unnecessary strain on your bag.

Photo by @izod_ on Instagram

Keeping in shape

The first tip to keeping your handbags looking nice and fresh for the longest time possible is to not overfill them! Only bring the most necessary items with you and no more than your bag can fit.

Keep small items like keys, sharp object and makeup in smaller pouches to preserve the inside of your purse. Makeup and cosmetics are especially essential to keep in a small pouch to avoid staining.

When it comes to storing your high-end bags, all bags are different. A Chanel Flap bag is best stored upright and an Hermès tote is best stored laid flat – all bags are different but try to position the bag so the shape is least strained. Try different positions and choose the one that makes the bag slouch the least.

When you’re not using your bag, you should empty it out and potentially stuff it instead. You can use pillows made for the purpose or rolled up sweaters if you want an easy and cheap solution.

Store the bags in their dust bags if possible to avoid sunlight. This is especially important with brightly colored bag in order to avoid discoloration. Remember to only store one bag in each dust bag – especially if the bags aren’t the same color – as the colors might transfer.

The best place to store bags is cool and dry.

Correct storage

As with all things, different materials require different care and care is important if you want your designer piece to last a lifetime.

Bags made of fabric are relatively easy to take care of as they can be washed in a mix of water and mild soap. However, the debate on how to preserve leather bags still rages on. Less is usually more, and you can get a long way with a damp cloth or baby wipe. You can try to prevent stains by doing regular maintenance with leather creams, suede brushes & protectant sprays.

If you get a stain on a secondhand item, don’t immediately put stain remover on it. Read the care labels carefully and perhaps take it to a professional cleaner first depending on the material and your level of experience dealing with that sort.

You can also go to the original designer and get help with maintenance as some designers offer this for a small fee. The waiting time might be longer, but it can be worth it if you’re worried about your favorite bag.

Photo by @izod_ on Instagram

Remember, change happens

It’s important to remember that bags have a life of their own and will change with time – that’s part of the charm!

Another thing about smaller flaws on secondhand items – if they’re not too bad, you can style your way of many of them and add a personal touch! Add a scarf to a bag handle and hide the little stain instead of missing out on a great bag at a great price.

It’s also worth considering if it’s something you can get fixed. We’re hoping to add a service to our site where we’ll be able to help you sort out the minor flaws secondhand items might have or will get with time in order to close the loop in fashion even more. 

It’s always worth remembering that accidents happen. If you can’t live with it, we’re sure someone else can! Make sure to give resale a try and you might just be able to make someone’s day with your faulty item.

Written by Alberte Gram
Alberte Gram is a fashion writer based in London.
The people pictured are not associated with The Archive
or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.