Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

How to Wear: Leather

I was recently contacted by the Professional Leather Cleaners Association (PLCA – a not for profit trade association founded by a group of highly experienced leather cleaners from across North America) with tips on how to care for leather. Yawn, right. Wrong! As one of the most important materials of F/W, it is rather timely. And their suggestions on how to keep leather (& leather-like) items are up-to-date & super simple.

Here are my most coveted leather pieces of the season, and how I'd wear them, followed by PLCA's tips.

    • Always hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to maintain their shape.  Use shoetrees in footwear and stuff empty handbags with tissue to help retain their shape.
    • Never store leather goods in plastic or other non-breathable covers.  This will cause leather to become dry.
    • Allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any direct heat source.  Leather can be treated with a conditioner to restore flexibility while suede can be brushed with a terry towel to restore its look.
    • In winter, promptly remove salt deposits from garments and footwear by sponging with water; follow with the above treatment for wet or damp leather.
    • Avoid very humid and dry environments as well as direct sunlight. 
    • Do not use waxes, silicone products or other leather preparations that will impair a garment’s ability to breathe.
    • Wrinkles should hang out.  If ironing is desired, set iron on rayon setting, use heavy brown wrapping paper as a pressing cloth on right side of the garment and a quick hand to prevent overheating and shine.
    • Avoid spraying perfumes or hair sprays while wearing your garment and do not apply pins, adhesive badges or tape.  Wearing a scarf at the neckline will help keep hair and body oil away from the collar.
    • Hems may be fixed with a tiny amount of rubber cement.  For best results, see a leather care professional.
    • All products formulated for at-home use should be tested on an inconspicuous part of the garment.

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