Ask Belle Roundup May 7th
May 7, 2012
I would love to see a post on handbag maintenance. I’ve seen too many women carrying dirty, frayed, or even ripped handbags while wearing otherwise nice outfits. These crimes become more noticeable when women carry lighter-colored bags in the spring and summer months.
Any tips you can share (or request from readers) would be welcomed. I only know how to do the minimum- be gentle and take it to a cobbler for light repairs. I’d love to know more specific tricks.
The first thing you need to do to keep your handbag looking new is treat the leather or suede BEFORE you start carrying it. Many women make the mistake of assuming that the leather is already treated, but even high end handbag makers usually don’t apply protectant to their bags. So when you buy a bag, ask the store if they offer leather treatment services. If they don’t, take it to a cobbler and have it treated.
Secondly, never clean the outside of your handbag with household cleaners. A few years ago, a friend tried to clean a pen mark from her bag with Windex, it ate right through the leather. On the inside of the bag, to clean up pen marks and the like, I like to use a dry rag and some Woolite.
I sent a purse off to Bag, Borrow and Steal a few years ago. They did a good job cleaning and repairing the bag, but the service was quite pricey. I paid $250 to have it cleaned and repaired.
If you want to try to clean a bag at home, I found this tutorial online. I haven’t tried the method myself, but it was the most descriptive one I could find.
I work in government affairs part time, and also work as the event planner for a non-profit while I try and find something full time. This Saturday my non-profit is hosting a cocktail attire fundraiser at which many of my government affairs co-workers will be in attendance. I will be both working the event and socializing.
Do you have any suggestions for a good balance between work appropriate attire and cocktail attire?
When choosing cocktail attire for work events, you really need to know what is not allowed. No minidresses. No halters, spaghetti straps or strapless necklines. Wear sequins sparingly. No sheer fabrics. No cutouts.
Acceptable necklines are cap sleeves, sleeveless, short sleeves or long sleeves. Silhouettes should be tailored but not too snug (no bandage dresses). And while color is better than black, choose more traditional shades (no neon hues).
As I mentioned, I believe wearing color is better than wearing black. So many women wear black to cocktail events that you’ll just blend into a sea of schwarz if you also wear an LBD. So try a little color if you want to stand out.
Lastly, choose comfortable shoes that aren’t too high. First off, being comfortable will allow you to mingle with ease. Secondly, I always recommend that women don’t wear heels higher than 4″ to these types of events. It’s silly, but some people view high-high heels as being a symbol of someone who is high maintenance. So I generally avoid high stilettos to work events.
I’ve been hearing that the mosquitoes and other bugs are going to be awful this summer, and I have a lot of evening outdoor events where I know I’ll get bitten up. Do you have any recommendations for a good insect repellent for sensitive skin? I’m trying to avoid the cheap, sticky bug sprays from the drugstore.
I like a product called Off! FamilyCare Insect Repellant with Smooth and Dry. It isn’t sticky and it doesn’t have a smell. I tried the organic repellants, but every one I tried was way too fragrant for me. So I chose this spray, because while it uses DEET, it uses only 15%, which is far less than the usual 34%.