Leather is one of nature’s most practical and sensual materials. Techniques can make skins lighter, enabling designers to fashion garments for year-round use. Beautiful finishes, textures, and colors enhance leather’s appeal and universality. To help you fully appreciate your genuine leather garment, we offer some insight on how this unique natural product is made and care some care tips, courtesy of the Leather Apparel Association and the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute.
Because leather goods are typically expensive, it is adviable to look for some specific traits.
- The general rule is: the softer the leather feels, the higher the price.
- Buy from a reputable retailer who will stand behind their products.
- Consider the cut, fit, quality of stitching, the lining, and style that suits your lifestyle.
- Choose a garment priced right for you, noting that the price of leather is greatly determined by the quality of the raw materials used and the workmanship involved.
- Notice details such as water repellent treatments, lining, and trimmings on the garment.
- Look for close matching colors and texture between various portions of the garment or outfit.
- Some panels may not match exactly even when new.
- Select a slightly larger size than normal, as leather is stretched during tanning and will shrink as it relaxes over time. Age and cleaning can also shrink the garment somewhat, so it is best to get a slightly larger size.
Leather ages gracefully and can last a lifetime with the proper care right from the start.
- Always hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to maintain their shape. Use shoetrees in footwear and stuff empty handbags with tissue to help retain their shape.
- Never store leather goods in plastic or other nonbreathable covers. This will cause leather to become dry.
- Allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any direct heat source. Leather can be treated with a conditioner to restore flexibility while suede can be brushed with a terry towel to restore its look.
- In winter, promptly remove salt deposits from garments and footwear by sponging with clear water; follow with the above treatment for wet or damp leather.
- Avoid very humid and dry environments as well as direct sunlight.
- Do not use waxes, silicone products, or other leather preparations that will impair a garment’s ability to breathe.
- Wrinkles should hang out. If ironing is desired, set iron on rayon setting, use heavy brown wrapping paper as a pressing cloth on the right side of the garment, and move quickly to prevent overheating and shine. Steam ironing will stiffen leather.
- Avoid spraying perfumes or hair sprays while wearing your garment and do not apply pins, adhesive badges, or tape. Wearing a scarf at the neckline will help keep hair and body oil away from the collar.
- Hems may be fixed with a tiny amount of rubber cement. For best results, see a leather care professional.
- All products formulated for at-home use should be tested on an
inconspicuous part of the garment. It is often best to leave stain
removal to the professional leather cleaner as many home remedies result in color loss or permanent damage to the leather.