How to care for leather handbags: Leather expert Ben Thompson on the four things you should be doing
By Georgia Weir| 3 weeks ago
Having the perfect leather handbag is a great staple addition to any wardrobe – it's a classic piece that, if taken care of, can last forever.
In order to make it last forever, leather handbags need a lot of TLC. Much like our own skin, leather can dry out and crack if not properly cared for.
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Leather expert and Bondi-based leather handbag craftsman, Ben Thompson, has been working with leather for close to 20 years. Thompson first started dabbling with leather when he combined a background in carpentry and an interest in fashion when he made himself a belt.
Eventually, this budding passion and his keen eye for style lead to the creation of Charlie Middleton. The brand has a Bondi-based workshop that boasts an exquisite and well-crafted range of handmade, handcrafted and bespoke leather handbags – a rarity here in Australia.
"There are no shortcuts when you really care about the outcome, you just have to take the time and care required to hand-make things," Ben Thompson explains.
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In an exclusive chat with 9Honey Style, Thompson shared his expert advice on caring for leather bags and revealed what you should never leave in your bag.
Whether it's a stray pen without a cap, melting lipstick on a hot day or crumbs – the contents of your bag can be its own worst enemy. Many of these stains can be near impossible to fix so it's best to proactively be aware of what you're putting into your handbag to avoid disasters.
"Many of the stain-disasters we see are self-inflicted, so keeping dangerous items in a zip lock bag or a pouch can help avoid this. Sunscreens, hand creams, and makeup leaking inside bags are all too common, and they are often only discovered when they have soaked all the way through to the outside when it is too late. Pen marks are also very often impossible to remove too, so try to keep all these items safely sealed away," Thompson says.
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Leather is like skin, it requires moisturisation and conditioning to look its absolute best.
"During the tanning process fats and oils are added to the leather to give it its soft and supple characteristics, but these oils can leach out or evaporate over time. Conditioning your bag every six months will replace these oils and add years to its life. If you have not used one before, test it in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it does not darken the leather too much," Thompson suggests.
Another way you can protect your leather handbag and ensure it remains in good condition for as long as possible is to keep it out of direct sunlight when you're not wearing it.
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"Most people are not aware that sunlight is the enemy of suedes and full-aniline leathers. Strong summer sun can affect colours after only a couple of hours, so it's very important not to leave your bag in full sunlight for extended periods," Thompson explains.
"Prolonged sunlight exposure will darken light colours, dull bright colours, and lighten dark colours. Most pigmented leathers will resist UV light better, but it can be hard to tell which sort your bag is made from so better to be safe than sorry."
Properly waterproofing your leather is an easy way to protect your handbag and ensure longevity – particularly as we head into winter. However, according to Thompson, it's not enough to waterproof your handbag when you first get it, you need to do it regularly.
"Customers are often surprised when they hear that they have to do it more than once. It is not a miracle cure, and really only changes the surface tension so that water beads off rather than soaking in," Thompson explained.
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Recently, Charlie Middleton has sourced an exquisite and very limited collection of pastel Italian leathers allowing customers the chance to design their own bespoke bag from colour choice to the handle, hardware, and even the strap options.
Ben Thompson and his team of expert leather crafters will create a unique bag for you that is designed, cut, crafted and assembled from their Bondi location.
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Property News: Sunny playground where the growth is only just beginning - domain.com.auGeorgia Weir READ MORE: Beauty products loved by royals READ MORE: How to recreate Daisy Jones' '70s style on a budget READ MORE: Brenda Cooper reveals 'tragic fate' of The Nanny costume READ MORE: The number one mistake Aussies are making when it comes to skin Waterproof your leather handbag regularly with proper sprays READ MORE: All of Taylor Swift's incredible Eras tour looks For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here . Property News: