How To Buy Leather Bags
Leather has been recognized as one of the most valued materials by many fashion aficionados because of its durability and elegance. Many designers and big labels use top-grain leather to craft luxury bags. While on the other hand, the market is also saturated with cheap fake leathers with poor craftsmanship and low-quality hardware that breaks down after a season or two.
Don’t get tricked with the overpriced crap by seeing fancy offers and luxe designs. Whether it’s a leather briefcase, duffle bag, handbag, or backpack, always look for quality trademarks.
Here are some tips that help you separate immaculate from ragged. Check out the details of what goes on under the hood when buying leather bags.
What Are The Types Of Leather Commonly Used For Bags?
Leather is being used in many different types, including the highest quality to the lowest grade. The following are the common types of leather ideal for bags.
Full-grain leather is the most natural and popular type that ranks at the top of the chain for quality and durability. This leather doesn’t get smoothed or buffed out to eradicate marks or imperfections and is always featured in top-quality leather bags.
Top-grain leather is a thin fragmented layer of the original leather with the imperfections taken away by sanding and finishing the surface. This type of leather is easier to work with and commonly used to manufacture high-end products, like handbags and wallets. It always has a polished look and also prevents stains.
Suede leather material is made from the underside of the animal skin, like Goat, Lamb, calf, or deer. It has a soft, thin surface and not as durable as full-grain, classic leather. Suede leather is split and sanded to attain an appropriate thickness and always has a signature textured feel. It is less durable, absorbs liquid quickly, and has a short nap that gives it a velvety feel.
Corrected Grain Leather
An artificial grain is added to the surface of genuine leather to make corrected grain leather and is sprayed with a dye for a more natural appearance. It is not high-quality leather and doesn’t look as beautiful as top-grain or full-grain leather.
Italian leather is famous for its outstanding craftsmanship and made only with the best quality hides. Many Designer labels use natural vegetable and plant extracts to turn to hide into leather and produce high-quality leather bags.
How to identify quality leather bags?
If you want to buy excellent quality leather bags, make sure to investigate these quality trademarks to avoid any bad investment.
1. Perfect Tanning
leathers are usually priced and graded according to the cleanliness of the hide known as tanning. Usually, leather bags are tanned via vegetable/chrome/oil extracts. Excellent tanning makes leather bags more durable and less vulnerable to decomposition. Colouring and sanding may also occur during the tanning process, leaving a soft and supple touch to make leather bags look more natural and inviting.
2. Lining & finishing
When you are buying leather bags, think of the long-term investment. Polished bag linings should not be overlooked as it shows the quality of exceptional craftsmanship. Leather bags made from durable material with edges that have been polished by hand will have a long-term performance. Un-kept raw sides are not considered as exceptional craftsmanship and quality.
3. Hardware, zippers, & stitching
Zippers, clasp, stitching quality, and other hardware elements are essential components of a bag to make it long-lasting and should never be compromised. If you buy a bag whose zipper fails after a few months, a bag might become useless.
Whether you are buying a sling bag, leather bag tote, leather laptop backpack, or a quality messenger bag, make sure the zippers are made with brass and platings in nickel or copper.
Check the zippers’ functioning with a few test runs to ensure it glides smoothly without any friction.
After zippers, look for the hardware on the leather bag you are buying. If it has buckles, clasps, d-rings, and rivets, make sure they are also made with durable metals. If the hardware falls off or break, it will be harder for you to continue using. Materials like solid brass, copper, plated zinc, bronze, or nickel silver, are ideal. Ensure the hardware is clean, showing no cast lines, securely attached, and all stress points are well stitched.
4. Handles & Straps
Handles and straps are also the most crucial component of a bag because they carry all the load. Make sure the bag you are purchasing has comfortable, adjustable straps. The handles should feel comfortable in hand and not long enough to make the bag sway when walking. Handles and straps should be fabricated from multiple layers of stacked leather and have an extra layer of tack stitching. If you are buying a backpack, make sure the straps are padded with additional support at the back to avoid pull-through.
5. See the imperfections
A high-quality, authentic leather bag typically has minor imperfections such as an inconsistent surface pattern, scratches, wrinkles, and creases. All these imperfections are actually an indication of top-grain or full-grain leather.
6. Feel the Warmth
Another quality trademark of authentic leather is its warmth. Leather bags made from natural leather have a warm and cosy feeling to the touch, whereas Faux leather has a cold and lifeless feel.
7. Smell it
A signature leathery smell will be evident in the bags made from natural leather, while those made from synthetic leather material will smell like plastic. So, smell the bag before buying and make sure the shopkeeper is not staring at you.
8. Handcrafted leather bags are better
Avoid buying machine-built or highly processed leather bags; look for handmade instead. When bags are handcrafted, more care will be taken with every stitch and detail, and these bags also last for a longer duration.
9. Don’t mind the expensive price tag
If you see a leather bag at a low price, maybe it is not top-grain or full-grain leather. Because leather bags are made from high quality, original material always has an expensive price tag irrespective of how hard you bargain. You will never find a cheap deal in leather shopping.
Which bag fits your individual needs?
When choosing the right bag that’s perfect for your needs, you might feel confused as there are many options available in the market. So, how do you know which bag fits you? You need to go through all the types, compare them, and decide what might work best for you.
Check these options and select the right leather bag for yourself.
If you are an adventurer or an aspiring outdoorsman, you need something sturdy, easy to carry, and classy. Yes, it’s a solid backpack you need, like your resilient personality. A back is hard to beat in terms of functionality, accessibility, and elegance. It is the most comfortable bag to carry while on the go as it has enough space for every essential. A backpack also enables you to stay hands-free while moving around. You can cycle, hike the tallest mountains, or go for the longest trails without feeling any load. It’s likely to be your best bet.
2. Duffel Bags
Want to go on a weekend trip without any fuss? Duffel bags are perfect for carrying your stuff and heading out without any hassle. If you aspire to go on a long vacation and want something simple, solid, drama-free, durable, and trustworthy, buy a duffle bag.
Most people call duffel bags “Unicorn bags” as they are insanely comfortable to carry and come in perfect sizes.
3. Tote Bags
Tote bags are ideal for shopping, day trips, or simply moving around the town. If you are going on a road trip, a leather tote is perfect for carrying the essentials. These bags make a sturdy everywhere bag that’s always been by your side as you’re moving around the world. A leather tote bag has now been made into a male fashion scene and a reasonable alternative to the briefcase.
Are you a college student or just going for a day out with friends? You might need a stylish mini backpack to carry your essentials like your phone, lipstick, mascara, or wallet. A hand-stitched leather backpack embellished with Japanese beads, crystals, delicate motifs, and thread embroidery can be a perfect style accessory for a fashionable diva.
If you are a mom who wants her hands free to hold her kids, a crossbody bag might be a good option as it doesn’t slip off your shoulders. A hand-stitched, stylish leather bag with decorative elements like floral motif, crystals, beads, & pearls at the top flap will be an eye-catching accessory for every lady.
Why should You buy leather bags?
Leather handbags often seem surprisingly expensive. If you compare them at a price to designer models for good reason, you will find them a better investment. Buying a high-quality leather handbag is a long-term investment as you are less likely to go for repairs or maintenance.
Leather bags offer:
Genuine leather bags often have the most durable and detailed craftsmanship. The expert construction, especially at the bottom and straps, signifies that they can potentially last far longer than other bags made from different materials.
Protection against rips and water
Apart from the iconic natural scent, leather has a high resistance to cuts, rips, and tear threats. Leather bags are also waterproof with anti-fungal properties. If, in any case, the bag gets wet, leather will be less likely to develop fungus or stains.
Good value for money
Everyone loves a sleek, stylish, easy to access, durable leather bag. But often, you can’t get the pure leather and get tricked with the fancy deals. So, when you are buying a leather bag, make sure of your investment. Always look at the functionality, durability, and also its aesthetics. Look at the most functional element a bag can have that can meet your needs.
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