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Investing in a New Leather Bag? Follow These 5 Tips

Professionals that invest in a classic leather bag find great value in the utility and style it delivers every day. A bag purchased for its tasteful styling, practical features, and durable construction will stand the test of time, but only if it starts with premium materials and expert craftsmanship. These are the ingredients that make some bags worth the investment. Since it’s also crucial to choose a bag you love, we’ve identified five important characteristics to consider when making your decision:

1. The Material

The first thing to consider when investing in a new bag is the material it’s made from. Premium bags are most often made from leather or suede, though the type of leather can differ. The types of leather vary by animal hide, thickness, grain, country of origin, texture, and finishing. Cowhide is most commonly used for its strength and durability. In all types of leather, quality can vary, depending on thickness and final processing.

Full-grain leather is the thickest and most durable, which makes it the highest quality. Because this leather is full-thickness and includes the hide’s top layer, the natural markings, and grain of the hide are visible. In contrast, top-grain leather is thinner and less durable, but more uniform because it’s buffed to remove imperfections. Consider that the bag’s appearance will depend on the type, quality, and final finishing of the leather. Makers of premium bags often disclose information about the leather they use, so with a little research, you can purchase with confidence.

2. The Style

Before you think about style, think for a moment about function: what the bag will carry and how you’ll use it. Will you use it exclusively for work or will you also use it on weekends, when running errands or going out to dinner? The answers to these questions of the function will often influence the look and style of the bag. For instance, a tote is a versatile and classic workhorse that’s able to carry diapers and bottles or file folders and an office lunch. It’s a prime example of form following function. Today’s most popular silhouettes include: tote, satchel, backpack, duffel, handbag, crossbody, briefcase, shoulder, and saddle bag. For stylish daily functionality, a sleek leather bag makes an ideal choice for every occasion.

3. The Color

Color is a very important feature of leather selection. Full-grain leathers come in neutral colors and have natural finishes. The hides are dyed with subtle hues, so markings and texture remain visible. Choose a color that won’t lose its appeal over time, as a trendy color does. Take your wardrobe into consideration and think of what color would complement it best.

Another selection to make is in the hardware of the bag. Determine your preference for gold or silver zippers, snaps, and buckles, along with the type of metal such as steel, titanium, or aluminum. Remember that colors may appear differently online than in person. With most retailers, you can request a leather sample prior to purchase and read customer reviews. If these options leave you overwhelmed or indecisive, you can do no wrong with a classic black.

4. The Size

With classic bags, there are often various sizes available. Select the size that is suitable for your lifestyle and function. For laptop use, get the correct dimensions (including inside the bag), so your laptop can fit snugly. City dwellers and commuters should look for a bag that’s roomy enough to carry all your belongings, but not so large it requires an extra seat on the subway. If you need a bag for travel and weekend getaways, a large zippered bag is best. When online shopping, judging scale can be difficult. Look for product pages that include images of items that can fit inside each bag to give you an accurate idea of what size best fits your needs.

5. The Details

With the material, color, style, and size selected, you’re nearing the end of your decision. The last elements of an informed purchase are the brand itself and extra offers. Look into shipping and returns policies, customizations, monogramming, warranty, care instructions, and customer service. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; retailers that specialize in leather goods want their customers to be happy with their purchase and are happy to answer questions. If carefully considered, a high-quality leather bag can be a profound pleasure to use for many years to come.

When purchasing a bag from SLATE COLLECTION™, you know you’re buying quality that will last. We source our leather from S.B. Foot Tanning Co—which has been delivering quality leather since 1872—to provide American full-grain, natural, and water-resistant leather with all of our leather goods. This leather only gets better with time, adding character with texture and faint markings. We live by the belief that things only get better with age, and your new bag should be built to take on your legacy.