Cost Effective Ways of Preserving Your Leather Clothing

The cost of leather clothing is not cheap, especially when it comes to jackets — and rightfully so! Leather jackets are comfortable, stylish, and great for cold evenings. Because of the hefty price tag accompanied with leather purchases, many bargain shoppers purchase jackets at thrift stores or garage sales to save money, but the price is still probably not very cheap. For this reason, keeping your leather in good condition will make you feel like your money was well spent. Here are a few helpful tips in keeping your leather in the best condition possible.

First, minimizing any water exposure to your leather can be very beneficial to preserving the condition of the material. Although leather is designed to last for a great deal of time, leather is not a cheap investment and keeping it away from water will make it last for as long as possible. Waterproofing leather garments can protect it from staining and you can use waterproofing products designed for shoes and boots on most of your attire. However, for soft leathers, using flurocarbon spray such as 3M scotch guard every few weeks will keep it preserved. Leather is a very delicate material, so any major stains should be left to the experts.

For a cleaner, shinier, and sleeker look, apply cold cream on your leather garments. Although you may be a little hesitant to apply too much, don’t be afraid to be generous with your spread. The same cold cream that is used for your face should be distributed to all areas of your leather after being applied to a paper towel and spread throughout the leather. The finished result should be a softer and more vibrant look for your leather. Remove any excess cream with a towel after build up starts to form on the material.

Lastly, darkening your leather can keep it looking pristine and brand new. To achieve a darker look for your leather — specifically with jackets — dip a cloth in ammonia and apply it across the garment. Darker leather highlights the quality of the material and stands out much more than lackluster leather. Be careful when applying the ammonia; it should be distributed as evenly as possible as to avoid streaking on the leather.

Pleather Clothing: A Cruelty Free Leather Alternative

The look of leather will emerge as a strong fashion trend for winter 2009. If you appreciate the look of leather but disapprove of the fact that it’s taken from an animal, you can still be in style this winter by wearing the cruelty free leather alternative known as pleather. Wearing pleather clothing is a humane way to enjoy the look of leather without the guilt of wearing something that once belonged to a living, breathing animal.

What exactly is pleather? Pleather is a synthetic, cruelty free leather that’s derived from plastic. It was initially manufactured as a less expensive alternative to natural leather but has since been adopted by PETA and other animal rights organizations as a cruelty free leather alternative. More recently, Jenna Jameson has been promoting pleather clothing through a series of racy ads endorsed by PETA urging women to “pleather themselves.” Other celebrities who have promoted the purchase of pleather clothing as a leather alternative include Alicia Silverstone, Drew Barrymore, and Pamela Anderson.

Besides being a cruelty free leather alternative, pleather clothing has certain advantages. It’s less expensive than real leather and tends to last longer and feel lighter to the touch. The fashion world seems to be taking notice as more designers such as Gucci and Prada add this synthetic form of leather to their fashion lines. Pleather is no longer the leather for those who can’t afford the real thing but the leather of the humane and animal friendly fashionistas.

Another advantage of pleather clothing is the ease of care and cleaning. Whereas leather usually needs to be taken to the dry cleaners to remove spots and stains, pleather can be wiped clean with a warm, damp cloth and a small amount of diluted dish detergent. The price of cleaning natural leather goods can be cost prohibitive for some people making it an impractical purchase. Pleather, on the other hand, can cost up to two-thirds less than real leather and doesn’t require frequent trips to the cleaners.

Pleather clothing can be found in a variety of garment styles including jeans, pants, and skirts and due to the ease of dying this fabric, it comes in an array of colors not often found in leather such as gold, silver, and pastels. It tends to have more breathability than leather and its softer texture allows for greater freedom of movement.

If you want to dress like a biker chick this winter or just want to follow the style, consider buying pleather clothing as a cruelty free leather alternative. You’ll be saving money and helping the animal movement at the same time.

Seasonal Leather Clothing Care

Seasonal leather clothing care is a very simple process and it’s during the warmer months when an extra effort should be made to properly care for leather-made goods. Why? Just because the air conditioning is on doesn’t mean leather won’t deteriorate, but let’s start at the beginning.
About every two weeks, look over your leather articles for loose seams and tears, and check for worn bottoms on footgear. This measure helps prevent moisture and dirt from becoming trapped between the lining and the leather skin. If no repairs are needed, the next step is to clean the leather, as many times as you believe is warranted, but on average, about once a month during normal wear, then recondition the leather to restore its suppleness.

As far as leather garments are concerned, it’s best to have these items professionally cleaned. You can clean leather apparel at home, but it can be a cumbersome task, and unless you’re prepared and understand the various steps involved, it’s usually better to allow a skilled professional to perform the work.

The next step is to shield leather articles from the elements, namely severe wet weather, and it’s relatively easy. With the exception of footgear, the only product needed to protect your leather-made goods is a rain and stain repellent. It’s easy to use, provides maximum protection, and there’s no messy clean up.

And what type of weatherproofing product should be applied to footgear? That answer depends on the conditions you work, live, or play in. For instance, for those individuals who work in the food service industry or work with a construction firm, where water can be a constant threat, a choice between a beeswax or mink oil waterproofing product would be the best bet. The tougher the environment, the tougher the protection needed.

Finally, all leather items, especially leather garments, should be stored in a cool, ventilated area during the warmer months. All leather desiccates when exposed to any form of heat and if the tanning agents bonding leather fibers together begin dispersing, the material starts to decompose. Also make sure your leather goods are free of excessive moisture before storage. This prevents mold from attacking leather, which can stiffen and stain the fabric.

As an added note, all leather garments should be supported on a broad plastic or wood hanger. A wire hanger doesn’t have the strength to sustain the weight of leather jackets and coats, and they may lose their original shape over time. Skirts and pants are also susceptible to unsightly creases if hung in a folded position from a wire hanger. If you decide to cover your leather apparel during storage, don’t use synthetic clothing bags of any type; plastic doesn’t allow the proper air circulation leather needs. If dust is a worry, cover with an ink-free paper. If you’re unable to properly stow leather garments during the warmer months, there are facilities offering seasonal storage. A fee is usually charged, but an investment worth the cost.