How To | Care for Leather
In our era of cheap, throwaway clothing a lot of men don’t appreciate the care you need to give your clothing – especially ones that are made of a material that requires at least some level of T.L.C. When you can buy a t-shirt for £2.00 most people think, ‘Why care for it when I can buy another?’ It’s tough to argue with that but when it comes to LEATHER PRODUCTS – that often cost a fair chunk – it’s vital that you take care of them from time to time, ensuring they become a sound, lengthy investment that will be a part of your capsule wardrobe for years to come.
In the past we’ve looked at how to wash raw denim, care for waxed jackets, iron a shirt, pack a suitcase and even deliver a killer best man’s speech. So it’s about time we took a look at the much-Googled leather care.
N.B. We’re excluding leather shoes from this as shoe care is a separate thing.
Chances are, you’ve spent somewhere in the hundreds (or maybe even thousands) to get your hands on one of these – so it pays dividends to protect your assets. Whether you grabbed your leather jacket at a discount or paid full-whack – these tips are of equal importance.
Jackets containing only panels of leather, such as the sleeves on Varsity Jackets, can also be looked after using the following tips.
#1 Prevention. Before you even wear your jacket, spray on or apply weather/stain protector (this works in pretty much the same way as suede protector). Check the labels on the jacket first as you don’t want to spray something on which could discolouration or damage.
#2 Wipe-clean. After wearing, wipe off any bits of dirt, grit or whatever you’ve managed to pick up on your travels with a damp sponge. This way, it’ll give the leather a chance to breathe as it is a porous material after all.
#3 Hanging. Wide, sturdy ideally padded hangers with large, rounded ends to keep the shoulders in good shape – that’s what you want. This means it won’t hang on you like a bag of poop when you next pull it on.
Never artificially dry a leather jacket out – always let it hang and dry naturally.
#4 Cream. This is more for leather jackets that you’ve had for a fair stretch of time, as leather tends to get drier and more prone to cracking as it get older. To prevent this, leather cream will help keep it soft and supple.
#5 Avoid. Don’t use protective products that contain silicone or alcohol as they’ll cause unwanted effects, as will products that are too thick and waxy which will prevent the leather from breathing.
If cared for correctly, your leather jacket will last for years and get better with age – with many stories to tell and a real history behind it.
#Bags. Bags suffer from a lot of wear and tear – we’re always getting things in and out of them, they carry a lot of weight and they bash against things while we’re going about our daily business. Weathered bags that have had a bit of a life look good but you still need to keep the condition of the leather itself at a good level or risk having the bag slowly fall apart.
Spray some protective spray on it, keep it clean and rub some cream in every now and again. When not in use, stuff it with newspaper so it maintains its shape.
#Belts. First of all, make sure the belt fits. If it’s too small you’ll be stretching the material all the time and jamming the buckle through the hole – meaning it could split. Too big and you’ll be suffering the same effects but in reverse.
So the belt fits, now make sure you condition the leather regularly especially around the bits that suffer the most stress on them. With belts, the more money you invest, the thicker and stronger the material leading to a longer lifespan.