From Leather Sails to Leather Totes A History of Practicality and Luxury

Leather bags for men

Did you know that the average consumer wears four leather products at any given time? You probably notice women wearing leather belts and matching boots combined with leather totes (and leather keychains tucked inside). You will probably see men sporting leather messenger bags or backpacks along with leather belts and bracelets, for gentleman with the surfer-dude aesthetic.

While wearing leather is a current fashion statement and a sign of affluence, it is also a practical and luxurious material with a long history. During the Roman Empire, for example, leather was used to make sails for boats. It was also used to make furniture, tents, weapons, and body armor. In Egypt, approximately 1,000 years later, fashionable women began to wear leather as well.

In more modern times, and likely inspired by General Patton’s World War II heroism, the leather aviator jacket became an iconic fashion accessory. This trend soon traveled into 1950s Hollywood with James Dean’s characteristic pose in a classic black leather jacket. In the 1980s, European designers such as Claude Montana, Versace, Armani, Ungaro, Fendi, Gucci, Alaia, and Hermes made headlines in leather apparel design.

More recently in 2015, leather accessories specialist, Absolute Breton, said that decorating with leather goods has gained popularity in the luxury industry. Interesting to note is that in 2015, approximately 2.3% of U.S. households with an annual income of $100,000 – or more – spent $500 to $999 on men’s belts, gloves, wallets, eyewear and other accessories a year (and since one designer pair of shoes can cost that much on its own, it’s easy to see why). It’s also likely that women in the same income bracket spent an equal amount – or more.

When you purchase fine leather goods for yourself or others, such as leather totes and wallets for women or briefcases and messenger bags for men, it’s important to know how to properly care for these products, since you want to ensure your leather totes et al maintain their quality and longevity, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Since leather tends to absorb grease and oils, be sure your hands are clean when handling your items. Fine leather products need to be cleaned every six months – or as needed – to condition and protect them from soiling and water spotting. Remember that when your leather accessories look their best, it adds to your look as well.

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