So Fresh and So Clean: All the Tips and Tricks You Need to Take Care of Your Leather

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When you invest in a nice bag or a killer pair of shoes, you wanna protect it—you know, the world can be a harsh place! So we asked designers who have some skin in the game to share their best tactics for safeguarding against—and dealing with—the nonsense that’s bound to strike, from downpours to ballpoint-pen explosions. —erica

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Marbled leather? Handmade in Vancouver? Whaaa? GET IT.

CLEANING AND PROTECTING

+ “We recommend using a natural leather oil (we swear by Obenauf’s!) to protect against water damage and get rid of any dust or grime on the bag.” —Jennie Engelhardt & Emily Harrison of Hare+Hart

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The bottom of this sucker unzips and expands, allowing you to basically double the bag’s size. GET IT.

ATTACKING STAINS

+ “I have successfully removed blue pen ink form the outside of a light brown leather bag three or four times by using a damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.” —Stacy Herzog Berk of frieda&nellie

+ “Mix a small portion of mild shampoo—such as baby shampoo or leather shampoo—with water in a bottle, soak a clean rag, and dab the spot. This is only for spot-cleaning. If your bag gets dirty without major stains, try using a damp cloth first. Depending on how the leather was treated or finished, you might just get the dirt off with a little bit of water. Just don’t soak the leather by applying too much water!” —Yegang Yoo of IMAGO-A

+ “It’s all about saddle soap!” —Tere Artigas of Gabriela Artigas

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If you don’t have a casual clutch in your arsenal, you’re definitely missing out. GET IT.

REMEDYING SCRATCHES

+ “Small scratches can be removed by rubbing them gently with your finger—the natural oils on your hands will work nicely into the leather. For larger scratches and marks, apply a tiny amount of leather oil to the mark, let it soak for a few minutes, and wipe away the excess with a clean, soft cloth.” —Yegang Yoo of IMAGO-A

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Don’t let the color scare you: Denim-y blue is absolutely a neutral. GET IT.

AVOIDING WATER DAMAGE

+ “Whether you are an extreme adventurer or just happen to be accident-prone like us, waterproofing is a great way to extend the longevity of a leather item. We recommend using a natural leather oil to seal in the natural oils found in the leather and then adding a waterproofing agent to really protect from the elements.” —Jennie Engelhardt & Emily Harrison of Hare+Hart

+ “If a leather bag or shoes gets soaked, do not dry it quickly—with hairdryer, for instance—as it will get stiff and crinkled. Let it slowly dry at room temperature. Make sure to keep it in the shape you want it to end up in while drying.” —Yegang Yoo of IMAGO-A

Note! With all of this stuff, spot-test first! Different finishes can react differently, and you don’t want to go making matters worse.

Did reading this make you want a new bucket bag or wallet? Well, have a look-see.

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Track Star: Katy B

The Vibe: Katy B is one of the most important voices in British pop music right now—yah, that’s right. Her new album, Little Red, is a mix of all her mediums—dubstep, ballad, pop, and grunge. She loves a good romper and some bright colors—not that anything can hold a candle to her fiery hair.

The One-Song Intro: “Crying For No Reason”

The Look, Recreated: This psychedelic shift dress from Kristinit, this tie-dye caftan by Mary Meyer, and this 3.1 Phillip Lim fringe leather jacket. maitri mehta

Listen up: There’s a whole lot more “Track Star” to be had.

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Next Level: Leather Backpacks

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Backpacks have been, like, a thing for awhile now, but it seems like all of a sudden they are getting all leather-fied. These are four want to hang out with you and your shoulders. —erica

LEVEL I: Ahh, a Rag & Bone take that Felicity would have been totally into.

LEVEL II: Polished, right? That Phillip Lim knows what he’s doing.

LEVEL III: This Kara design's the size of one of those Prada backpacks you were desperado for back when, but that cross-hash design? It's actually mesh.

LEVEL IV: Just because it’s leather doesn’t mean it has to be fancy. Illesteva knows how to keep things chill.

Hey, any “Next Level” fans: Click here.

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Of a Kind

Anza Clutch by Louise Goods for Of a Kind

BUY / 50 of a kind / $153

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Of a Kind

Cobalt Leather Wedge Wristlet by Otaat / Myers Collective

BUY / 60 of a kind / $80

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Of a Kind

Copper Tote by Cook & Gates for Of a Kind

BUY / 42 of a kind / $99

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Couple Up: Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton

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THESE TWO. There were the vials of blood they wore around their necks—ok, fact-checking says lockets with a drop of blood, but still—and all that public, er, heavy petting. A look back to Billy Bob’s marriage #5… —erica

Angelina Jolie: A thick Kule cuff, J Brand leather pants, and a Current/Elliott crewneck tee.

Billy Bob Thornton: A loud Robert Graham shirt, tan leather Built for Man pants, and Garrett Leight wire-rim shades.

It’s “Couple Up” central over here!

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Next Level: Pleated Leather

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There’s nothing wrong with a classic motorcycle jacket, but I’m way into the idea of leather standing in for cotton, wool, or satin—fabrics with some real movement. Throw some pleats into the mix? Oof, I’m done. —erica

LEVEL I: On this Alexander Wang dress, the leather’s an accent—a very, very killer accent.

LEVEL II: I’d like to think I’d still wear this BLK DNM skirt when I turn 60.

LEVEL III: From Derek Lam, this sucker's very Clueless in an Amber-goes-to-gym-class way.

LEVEL IV: It might not freshen your breath, but, DANG is this Alice + Olivia skirt minty.

More “Next Level!” Go here!

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Of a Kind

Jungle Leaf Card Holder by Welcome Companions for Of a Kind

BUY / 75 of a kind / $98

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Of a Kind

Just try and lose track of this Boo+Boo Factory coin purse. —erica

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