Whether it’s a trusty everyday tote or a vintage clutch that just so happens to fit your phone, wallet and lipstick, when it comes to a woman’s handbag it is far from one size fits all.
One constant though, is how you should care for it -- both inside and out.
The first step to caring for your investment (because, it is an investment after all) is ensuring you’ve given it a coat of leather protectant.
“Use a soft cloth to give it a quick wipe down first, but not for too long -- you don’t want to be working dirt into it,” Geneva Vanderzeil, designer and founder of A Pair & A Spare told The Huffington Post Australia.
“Choose a gentle protectant that doesn’t stop the bag from ageing but helps to ensure it doesn’t dry out,” Vanderzeil said.
Much like our own skin, leather absorbs dirt and oil and depending on the type of leather, some will show marks and fingerprints more than others.
“Softer leather which is what you’ll see in more casual handbags won’t show fingerprints as much as say, a work tote which uses a patent, coarser leather,” Vanderzeil said.
Helen Patmore, marketing manager of ECCO Leather Group Accessories explains different leathers have different properties.
“Marks may appear after touching the bag due to the natural oils within your own skin being absorbed by the leather surface,” Patmore told HuffPost Australia.
For this reason, Patmore said it was important to choose a protectant for the specific leather type of your bag.
“In our range of products, it is clearly specified which leather types the products should be used on, such as for smooth, nubuck and oily leathers,” Patmore said.
As far as wet weather wear goes, your leather bag should be fine in the rain. However, if you do get stuck in the wet it’s important to let it either air dry or, if time permits, give it a quick towel dry.
When it comes to keeping the inside of your bag clean and tidy, Vanderzeil recommends two things.
“Use a separate smaller bag inside your handbag to hold the random things like makeup -- which sometimes tend to spill out -- and the other thing I always try and do is be mindful of what I’m putting in there,” Vanderzeil said.
So when the taxi driver gives you a receipt, don’t just stuff it inside. Instead, throw it in the bin or pop it in the smaller bag for miscellaneous things. That way the main compartment will remain neat and tidy.
The structure and type of leather of your bag will also dictate how it should be stored.
"For a soft tote, I'll generally lay it flat but if the bag has more shape, I'll try and pack it with some newspaper just so it keeps its shape. Sometimes if it's sitting in a cupboard for months it can lose its structure which can be hard to fix," Vanderzeil said.