The strap, chain, or handle allowing you to carry your favorite handbag with ease is one of the first elements to show signs of wear. Because of the constant contact with your hands’ natural oils and sweat or due to friction as the strap rubs against your shoulder and clothes, metal hardware, leather, canvas, and other materials deteriorate over time.
To prevent your handbags’ straps and chains from looking worn, tarnished, or damaged, it’s time to give them the care and attention they deserve. After all, these little details do more than add aesthetics, as they can also maintain your handbag’s value and prestige.
Handbag Strap Storage and Protection
There are many different types of straps, and how artisans integrate them into the design varies for each bag. Here are some of the most common handbag straps and how to maintain them.
How to Store Detachable Straps and Chains
If your handbag has detachable straps, you have the luxury of storing them separately from your bag – the optimal way to preserve their quality. Ensuring the straps are in excellent condition commands high resale prices for when you decide to sell to Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, especially for coveted luxury pieces like the Hermès Mini Kelly and Louis Vuitton OnTheGo.
It’s best to detach the straps or chains from your purse before wrapping them in acid-free tissue paper (the same type of paper designer bags come in when you first unbox them), a soft cloth, or a cotton drawstring bag. Afterward, you can place them inside your bag during storage or dedicate a separate space in your wardrobe for handbag accessories. Proper storage prevents leather and other fabrics from cracking and fading, as well as protects metal hardware from oxidation and corrosion. Remember, even though designer brands use the best non-precious metals in their handbags, they can still oxidize or tarnish without proper care.
How to Store Attached Chains and Straps
Several designer bags have fixed chains, from the classic Chanel Boy to the lovely Dior Caro. Unfortunately, these pieces are susceptible to wear and tarnish transfer due to constant contact between the bag’s chain and body.
While you can’t do much to prevent wear and tear during use, you can minimize them with proper care and storage.
Gather the chain in a loop and cover it in acid-free tissue or place it in a small drawstring bag, then carefully insert it inside the purse. Doing so will prevent the metal chain from pressing into the interior lining or exterior surface, which can leave unsightly scratches and indentations.
For attached leather straps (or any other fabric-like material), gently wrap them in the same soft and safe materials mentioned above before storing them inside the bag. For shoulder bags like the Prada Cleo and Guirlande de Cartier, opt for handbag hangers to preserve the strap’s shape.
Attached Chains Through Grommets
Handbags like the Chanel Classic Flap have adjacent grommets (holes on the flap), allowing you to pull the chain through to customize its length. The longer you own and use one of these bags, the more you may notice that the chain can rub against the leather under the flap. Moreover, if there is another flap on the interior, the chain may constantly press against this section, leaving indentations.
These bags can be as difficult to store as they are difficult to come across in stores. Dents and scratches are almost inevitable for leather handbags with grommets and interior flaps. However, there are ways to minimize the damage.
For bags with a single flap, pull the chain through one set of the grommets, positioning the chain taut on the exterior. Then, collect the chain and wrap it in acid-free paper or a cotton drawstring pouch. For classic Chanel bags with double flaps, repeat the same steps for the chain but ensure to tuck it in the back interior pocket.
Attached Chains Under Flap
Common on wallets-on-chain like the YSL Cassandre Matelassé Envelope, the chain runs under the flap, either through a leather channel or loop. Over time, with constant tugging and pulling, the leather may begin to crack along the channel or loop’s edges. The chain may also come into contact with the flap’s edges, impacting the bag’s allure and overall appearance.
To store handbags with fixed chains beneath the flap, pull the chain under the flap and wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or a drawstring bag before tucking it inside. Depending on the type of bag, you may or may not use stuffing materials such as white towels or air pillows. If you opt to use stuffing for added protection, it’s best to place the wrapped chain on top of the stuffing to avoid any indentation from the chain pressing into the interior base of the bag.
Attached Decorative Chains
Decorative chains are typically part of a handbag’s design. They may inevitably come into contact with the bag’s surface, even during storage. Depending on the placement of the chain, it may not always be possible to cover it. In such cases, you can add a layer of acid-free tissue paper or cloth between the chain and purse, particularly if the metal hardware hangs loose or drops down, coming into contact with the bag’s delicate surface.
Attached Chain Handles
Be mindful of the chain handles’ placement when storing your handbag, whether it has one or two. Single-handle bags may alternate sides during use, but in storage, the handles must be brought inside the bag, either by pulling them over the top edge or through grommets, if available. If pulled over the top, it’s advisable to place a protective layer between the chain and the bag’s edge to prevent damage. Felt is an excellent material to use, as it prevents both tarnish transfer and indentations. For bags with grommeted chain handles, pull the handles taut through one side, making it easier to wrap them for storage.
A little extra protection can go a long way in maintaining your bag’s appearance. By following our simple tips on how to store and care for bag straps and chains, they can continue looking their best for years to come.