The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Handbag Rehab

You take it with you everywhere, and whether it’s a staple or a statement piece, your bag should always look its best, just like you. Let’s be honest, even the nicest of satchels and clutches end up at one point or another on the floor, on a restaurant chair, hanging from the bathroom stall door at a club (or worse, on the floor of the bathroom stall!), on the driveway while we load the car…  I bet if you really thought about how many surfaces touch the bottom of your bag, you’d probably think twice about tossing it on your bed next time you get home.  It’s a fact of life; with all that wear and tear, sometimes your pocketbook just needs a little TLC. So, here are a few tips from Cameron Silver, who just happens to be a co-owner of Decades, one of L.A.’s best-known vintage hotspots, on how to properly care for your purse.

 1. The Material

We all know a solid leather bag can be timeless and hold its youthful appearance for quite a few years, but did you know Method makes leather wipes that are an awesome pick-me-up when signs of age appear? Cha-ching. Talk about an easy fix. Obviously dropping your bag by your local cobbler for a clean-and-shine is a fantastic solution, but when that’s out of reach, an at-home wipe-down is a great alternative. With your most luxurious of handbags, most designers have an in-house cleaning department that will usually treat you to a complementary spruce-up or at least a competitive price. Call ahead to inquire. This is our standby procedure, because, with their own product in hand, these professionals will definitely know exactly what your bag needs to look good as new

 Now, pretty and dainty as a silk bag can be, man is she a beast to clean. Delicate fabrics like satin, suede, and silk may look the loveliest, but they are often the toughest to touch up when “rejuvenation time” arrives. Just be aware of the investment you’re making and how easily the oils from your fingers, your perfume, any errant debris in your path can be. Treat these gingerly and always take them to a professional for cleaning.

2. The Interior

Does your bag ever become a total catchall? And have you ever really looked at the lining of your bag? The last time I checked my everyday purse, it was definitely in need of a good interior scrub. I freely admit that I have a tendency to throw in any and everything that will fit into my bag (and it’s more of a Mary Poppins case than a fashion statement). That being said, I will also concede that it’s important to remember to care for the inside as well as the outside.

To impede an ink spill from one of your many pens, or to skip the accidental lip-gloss leakage, keep your liquids in a separate little pouch, preferably with some kind of water resistant lining of its own.

3. The Storage

Rarely do we settle for just one of something chic, right? Even the most frugal fashionistas probably have more than one handbag, so whichever one you’re not using, do be sure to care for her even though she’s sitting at home in your room. Always best to stuff your purse with some good old acid-free tissue paper to retain shape. Also, you can never go wrong storing it in some kind of protective case to avoid dust and prevent aging. If a purse bag (to serve this particular purpose) didn’t come with your original purchase, something as simple as a pillowcase will suffice. You just want something breathable, like muslin or classic cotton, and neutral in color (to sidestep any dye-transference mishaps.)

Also, don’t underestimate the power of light damage. Leaving bags in the sun for months at a time, while you carry a different option on your shoulder – not such a good idea.


Well-treated handbags are happy handbags!



{Image via The Coveteur}

  1. Rose @ Stylista Mama


    This is a great post. I was only looking the other day about how to care for my LV bag and Miu Miu wallet as it has begun to crack… Hope I can buy those wipes in Australia!!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with the suggestions and yea, separate sachets for make-up trappings are must.

  3. love this – my summer bags definitely need a trip to the cobbler before they get shelved for half a year!

  4. So brilliant!! Would also love a post on caring for nice shoes!

    The Soos Is Loose

Crop the image



No image selected Add Image