Every real leather bag is unique because the animal the leather is made from had a unique experience and life. Many people are unaware of just how many varieties of leather there really are and each style’s particular advantages and disadvantages. Here are some examples of different leather types that you can consider when choosing your next purse!
Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather is the crème-de-la crème of leather. The most expensive, durable, and natural form of leather, full grain leather hasn’t been sanded or buffed, so its natural imperfections survive into whatever finished product it’s made into. You can see the natural grain of the material, which gives it an attractive look and durability. Full grain leather is the strongest leather there is, because the natural fiber grains haven’t been buffed away, giving it tensile strength that keeps it from wearing out. A full grain leather bag will last for a long time.
You may have heard of the famous Louis Vuitton leather patina that graces LV bags as they age, and this is the mark of the untreated and high quality leather used in LV bags. Because it isn’t stained, full grain leather will slowly change color from a pale beige to a deep honey. Depending on your point of view, this is either an irritating side effect of the material or a beautiful mark of an authentic bag. Either way, patina is a normal part of full grain leather.
Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather is a common style of leather in high end bags. This type of leather is the top layer of a leather hide stripped away to preserve the distinct and unique finish on the surface, but it isn’t as thick as full grain leather. As a result, top grain leather has a similar look to full grain, but is much thinner and more pliable. It is then stained and treated, so it can often have a very shiny, plasticky feel. Whether or not you like that look is a matter of taste, but the stains do give the bags excellent stain resistance and flexibility, and for bags where a thick layer of leather isn’t ideal, top grain leather is a good option.
Sueded leather is leather from the underside of the hide, which gives it the rough texture that this treatment is known for. If you’ve ever touched raw leather hide, you may notice that it has a similar feel to suede. Suede, however, is napped before being made into bags and other objects.
This distinctive look is popular with clothes and bags because of its soft, matte finish and the unique texture. It is less durable than other leathers, as its texture makes it prone to fraying, and the removal of the top layer makes it weaker than other leathers. Still, many people still love suede for that softness and texture that’s unique to it.
If traditional leather isn’t your scene, you can also try a wide variety of alternative leathers that come from animals other than cows and lambs. For example, did you know they make leather out of salmon skin? You can even get shark leather, or crocodile, or ostrich leather! These animal hides will all give different types of finishes, and the most common one is crocodile leather, which is popular for handbags and loafers.
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