Leather is one of nature’s most practical and sensual materials. New techniques make skins lighter and enable designers to create garments for year-round use. Beautiful finishes, textures, and colors enhance leather’s appeal and universality. To help you learn about leather and its care, we are sharing this information courtesy of the Leather Apparel Association and the International Fabricare Institute.
The Look And Feel
If you are like most people, the first thing you do when you look at a leather garment is touch it to feel its softness and texture. The way it feels to the touch is called its hand and the general rule is that the softer the hand, the higher the cost.
Several things influence the general appearance and overall quality of a leather garment. First is the raw material. Every hide (a whole pelt from a cow or steer, etc.) and skin (the pelt of young or smaller animals) has sections that are inherently wrinkled, softer, or thinner than others. Environmental conditions like climate and food supply are also factors. Nature’s creations are never uniform; these surface variations and imperfections impart a unique beauty to genuine leather garments.
Get The Best Value
- Buy from a reputable retailer that will stand behind the products he or she sells.
- Consider the cut, fit, quality of stitching, lining, and style that suits your lifestyle.
- Choose a garment priced right for you, noting that the price is greatly determined by the quality of the raw materials and the workmanship.
- Notice details such as water-repellent treatments, lining, and trimmings.
- Look for close matching colors and texture between various portions of the garment or outfit.
- Select a slightly larger size than normal, as it is stretched during tanning and will shrink as it relaxes over time and with age and cleaning.
Leather Care Tips
Leather ages gracefully and can last a lifetime with the proper care right from the start.
- Always hang 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 as it will dry out.
- Air-dry wet or damp leather away from any direct heat source. Treat it with a conditioner to restore flexibility.
- Avoid humid and dry environments as well as direct sunlight.
- Do not use wax, silicone products, or other leather preparations that will impair the garment’s ability to breathe.
- Let wrinkles hang out. If ironing set the iron to the Rayon setting. Use heavy brown wrapping paper as a pressing cloth on the right side of the garment. Move quickly to prevent overheating and shine. Never steam iron.
- Avoid spraying perfume or hair spray while wearing your garment. Do not apply pins, adhesive badges, or tape. Wearing a scarf at the neckline helps keep hair and body oil away from the collar.
- Fix hems with a tiny amount of rubber cement. For best results, bring the item to Flair Cleaners.
- Test all products formulated for at-home use on an inconspicuous part of the garment. Better yet, leave stain removal to Flair Cleaners as many home remedies cause color loss or permanent damage.