Not all leather is made the same. Whether this is a new or old fact to you, there are many things that go into producing leather goods, some of which are very easy to overlook. I have compiled a list of my top 5 things you should know before purchasing a leather bag, to help guide you during your next leather purchase.
1. Keep an eye out for leather with a cross-hatch finish. If you see a finish on the leather that resembles light scratching or cross-hatching, it is very likely that this leather is a bonded leather. Bonded leather is made up of the hide leftovers. This includes dust and shavings. These are bonded together using polyurethane or latex on top of a fiber sheet. It is often spray painted to look like a full or top grain leather. Basically, this is not leather that you want to invest in.
2. Look out for the lining. Guys, polyester lining is no good. These linings often tear, stain and rip long before your leather bag will. If this would bother you, steer clear of super thin linings. This is a big reason Tesoro bags are either unlined or lined with leather. You don't want your leather bag to be in perfect shape, while your lining is long destroyed.
3. Straps are key. I get lots of questions about repairs, the most common of which are strap replacements. If you are buying a large tote bag, and you intend to carry heavy items in the bag, make sure the straps are thicker than 0.5 inches. If you find a bag with a “rolled handle” (like we use on our Nora bag ;)), the straps will hold up much longer. As for a crossbody bag, you will not see rolled handles. However, the thicker the strap the more comfortable they will be when you start loading your bag full of stuff (like we all do).
4. The quality of the zipper on your bag can make a huge difference in the longevity of your bag. Nylon zippers will often be used for pockets or interior lining pockets. Personally, I stay FAR away from nylon zippers, because I have had bags with these zippers ultimately become useless within a year of purchase. The plastic molded zipper, most often seen in winter coats and jackets, are used for bags made of nylon. The ideal zipper is the one all the way to the right, known as the metal zipper. For handbags, metal zippers will always be the most ideal option, especially in large bags or bags that will carry a lot of weight. At Tesoro, we solely use metal zippers because they are tough and will hold up the best over time.
5. The less hardware the better. When you are buying from a large company, it is very likely that you will have a difficult time getting hardware replaced. I try to buy the best hardware on the market, but at the end of the day, it is inevitable, that some of it will fail. In my opinion, buying from small businesses pretty much guarantees that you will be able to get problems fixed, such as hardware. However, if you are buying from a department store or a larger brand, you might not have very good luck with repairs.
Now you know what to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect leather bag. If you have any questions head over to our instagram or facebook page and ask away!