There’s no denying good quality leather pieces are the stand out to any outfit. Everyone notices them and you’d be hard pressed to put a bad outfit together if it’s featuring a good quality leather piece. They are our wardrobe go-to pieces, adding a sense of luxe and style to any outfit.
I can't live without the following in my wardrobe at all times:
And being timeless investment pieces I take care of them knowing I’ll have them for 10+ years if I do.
Currently I can't live without my Ginger and Smart Collective Leather Jogger Pant in tan (below), Elka Collective Carrie Leather Skirt, 2ndskin Blake Biker Jacket, 2ndskin Hope Leather Legging and Ginger & Smart Grace Leather Midi Skirt (all shown below in order).
So with so many great quality leather pieces in my wardrobe helping me style incredible outfits, how do I get the best out of my leather goods? Firstly, you want to buy well. Great quality and an excellent, timeless cut means they’ll last you as long as you want them to. Then I take care of them by:
1. Waterproofing them the instant I get them home
Leather will naturally mark, scratch and stain. This is all part of the natural beauty of leather. But what you want to avoid if you can help it is those really nasty stains like when you spill something on it or lean your elbow in something. Even water can stain leather so waterproofing goes a long way towards protecting the longevity of your leather garments. It will also buy you the time to wipe an offending liquid off before it causes too much damage.
Waterproof with the awareness that any time you put something on leather it could change the colour of your leather. Generally it deepens the colour if it’s going to affect the colour in any way. So test on an inconspicuous area first to check you're happy with the impact and if using a waterproofing spray make sure you practice one some shoes etc first. Some sprays can dribble out droplets and that’s not what you want. To get an even colour you want a nice even spray - which can take practice!
If in doubt, check with the manufacturer of your garment to see what they recommend. Some leathers have already been treated and won't need waterproofing so if you test an inconspicuous patch and the waterproofing spray doesn't absorb straight in, chances are the manufacturer has already treated the leather for you.
2. Condition them every year or so
Every year or so, I take the time to gently rub a good quality leather conditioner all over my leather garments to keep the leather moistened and protected. If you allow leather to dry out over the years that’s when it can be susceptible to cracking and/or losing it's lustre. Leather conditioner has the added benefit of protecting the leather further from liquids that you may spill on your leather goods.
Follow the directions on your leather conditioner and you’ll be right as rain but as a guide:
1. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dirt that may have gathered on the garment over time (or condition after a regular professional clean - see tip below)
2. Allow to dry thoroughly
3. Rub a small amount of leather conditioner on with a clean, dry cloth until the whole garment is evenly applied
4. Buff off any excess with another clean, dry cloth.
Note: there should be no visible excess. Less is more with leather conditioner! Don't slather it on!
Some leather garments require more care than others and this really takes some getting used to. The more you learn about fabrics and textiles the better you are able to care for your designer purchases and have them last forever and a day. For example, I wouldn't condition my Ginger & Smart Collective Leather Joggers or Grace Leather Skirts because they just don't feel like they need it, whereas my more porous leathers I waterproof and condition regularly to keep them looking their best long term. If you are unsure, ask a professional before you ever touch any of your leather goods with any product.
3. Correct storage
Store in well aired places, never wrap your leather in plastic etc. Leather needs to be able to breathe. Use good quality, padded coat hangers to avoid stretching and misshaping your leather especially if the garment is quite heavy and will hang from the hanger with weight.
NEVER, and I repeat NEVER, use pants hangers with clips to hang your leather pants. Fold your leather pants gently and store on a shelf or in a drawer without weight on top of them.
Always put your leather garments away after you've worn them. Never leave them scrunched up on the floor because you'll crease them.
4. Have them cleaned by an expert regularly
Leather, like any other fabric, will gather dust and dirt, oils and organic matter (even if it’s not visible to the eye) so it's important to find a good, reputable dry cleaner that specialises in leather garments and have your leather garments cleaned professionally at least once per year (but it depends on how often you wear your garments). If you ever stain your leather, get your garment to this cleaner as quickly as possible and fully explain what has happened so that they can determine the best course of action to address it.
5. Perfumes, oils and moisturisers are not your friend!
Wait a considerable amount of time after applying perfumes, oils and moisturisers before even touching your leather garments with your hands let alone trying to put them on. Wash your hands well before touching your leather garments because the leather will pick up the oils from your hands as you're gripping them to pull on your leather pants or shrug into your leather jacket.
In the event of leather pants, I simply avoid moisturising my legs when I plan to wear them. You don't want to stain your pants with moisturiser especially during the process of getting them on.
6. Handle with care and buy the right size
Leather will scratch, stretch or mark pretty easily especially when trying to pull on tight garments so handle them with care. Take your time to pull them on and don't dig your nails in trying to pull up tight leather pants, for example, otherwise you'll end up with nail marks in them.
Which is why it's also important to purchase the right size. If in doubt or between sizes, go up. A little extra space is better for the garment than too tight. If your garment is too difficult to get on and off you will end up leaving scratch marks and finger nail marks from having to grip them too tightly, you will be placing undue pressure on the seams which could stretch or open the seams (revealing the stitchmarks and sometimes glue in the seams) or even tear the leather altogether.
Treat your leather gently, take care of them with the knowledge you now have, and they'll love you forever.
Leather pieces are some of the best investments you will ever buy, so treat them well, love them, and style the sh*t out of them! Own them! And you'll leave a crowd of admirers in your wake and have garments you’ll treasure forever. These will be some of your longest-living and loved garments so they are well worth the investment, and the care you put into looking after them.
Check out some of our faves below and you’ll see why we love leather garments so much - the quality and execution on leather garments is always exceptional because designers love working with this formidable material and creating something incredible.
The 2ndskin Blake Leather Biker Jacket
The Elka Collective Carrie Leather Skirt in Black
The Ginger & Smart Collective Leather Jogger Pant in Tan
The Ginger & Smart Grace Leather Midi Skirt in Tan
The 2ndskin Blake Leather Biker Jacket
The 2ndskin Hope Leather Legging
The Ginger & Smart Collective Leather Jogger pant in Black, worn with the Camilla Gates of Glory Hooded Puffer Coat
The 2ndskin Gemma Leather Jogger Pant in Toffee
The Elka Collective Carrie Leather Jacket
Peace and love ladies xx
DISCLAIMER: this is the leather care that has worked for me in the past and is generic advice to be used with caution and care, and with regard to the individual needs of each piece you own. Please use these methods at your own risk. Take care with your leather and ensure you’re doing the best by each individual piece. Seek expert advice from the garment manufacturer if you’re at all unsure of how you should care for or clean a leather garment.