Today’s post is a very topical one, how should I be storing my expensive handbags? I’ll throw in my usual caveats here such as how proper storage should be tailored to each brand of handbag and obviously climate, humidity and age can greatly affect each handbag’s storage method.
I think a lot of these points will be relevant for other styles as well! This post will not cover actual care of any of the Chanel handbags or leather, that’s a separate topic altogether!
Never store your bags in their original box and dust bag
Obviously for a photo, all fine. But I have seen on the market some “bag organizers” which allow you to hang your bags. Absolutely terrible idea since gravity will naturally pull your bag down and the chain will pull it up, stretching out the entire shape of the Chanel bag. Lambskin is a very flexible and easily stretched out leather so it can and will change shape just from bearing its own weight.
I also note that MANY of you like stuffing your bags with heavy things, which just exacerbates the problem of a stretched out silhouette. In general, NEVER hang your bags, irrespective of whichever brand unless it is an inherently bottom-light bag.
Never store your Chanel bag on its back
I’ve lectured on this point many times before. A good vintage Chanel Diana (and a good Chanel bag in general) should be puffy throughout. Including its back and inside puffs. Storing your chanel bag on its back just puts pressure on its back puffs. Again, Hermes, doesn’t have this problem, and in many ways it is much easier to care for your Hermes bag because the bag itself is an incredibly simple design whereas Chanel bags are all about the matelasse design and the 10-13 stitches per puffs.
I think the general principle to extract here is that in general, you should leave some space around your entire Chanel bag to ensure that none of the puffs are being compressed in any way. Hence why storing the bag on its back, against a wall, squished into a bookshelf, terrible idea.
No pro-longed, strong sun exposure
The sun, for its many useful qualities, is not great on textiles in general as sun exposure can discolor any colored items - this includes all carpets, curtains, paintings, silk etc… same is true for leather, particularly lambskin which is incredibly receptive to change of color. I’ve seen many bags which were originally black but due to sun exposure have become a bit brown (just like how your hair lightens in the summer). I don’t personally mind as I think that adds to the vintage charm, but obviously wouldn’t recommend it if it hasn’t happened already to your bag.
If you again do a quick google for "dust bags", you will see lots of clear PVC bags which is basically a glorified sandwich bag for your expensive handbag. Yes, it keeps out dust but it sadly doesn't keep out another enemy which is light. I would therefore advise against purchasing such accessory.
How to store your Chanel bags
My preferred way is to put it in a dark and cool cabinet, away from sun exposure (what I call "indoors") and have them sit up, stuffed moderately with non-bleached soft tissue paper. Please do not stuff it with newspaper as the ink can run and stain the leather lining.
If you have several Chanel bags, I recommend having the CC lock clasp face each other, 2 by 2 as per the picture below. This prevents another problem which I see in many vintage bags, where marks are on the back puffs because the bag has obviously been stored far too close to another Chanel bag and is being poked by the clasp. My method (again assuming you have an even number of bags) reduces any risk of that and this works even if you have bags of different sizes as the key is just to use the clasp as a means to ensure enough space is between each beautiful bag!
How to prevent mold
This is something I have yet to figure out for myself completely. The best method is actually to constantly rotate between your bags. Airing them and using them prevents mold. Non-use actually allows for the bacteria and subsequently for mold to grow.
If you aren’t living in tropical areas, I don’t recommend using any dehumidifying silica packets as they can be quite drying for the delicate leathers. However I think this is fine for tropical areas and places of high humidity. If you do use silica bags, PUT THEM AROUND THE BAG BUT NOT IN THE BAG. Do not risk the silica bags disintegrating and then sticking into your Chanel bag’s interior, I have seen that happen before.
Never, PLEASE NEVER USE MOTHBALLS. It adds a smell which is impossible to get rid of and doesn’t do very much for humidity.
Should I display my bags?
I know not everyone is as anal as I am and LOTS and LOTS of people (thanks to those lux influencers) store their bags in some glass cabinet/book shelf for display along with some thick decorative book. Understandable since ultimately these bags are objects of beauty and created for our appreciation (and should spark joy!). Provided there is no direct strong sunlight and you do constantly rotate these bags from this “outdoor” environment to an “indoor” environment, I think this should be fine.
Ultimately a lot of the issues you see in vintage Chanel bags and poorly kept new style Chanel bags in general comes from neglect (i.e. prolonged non-use, ultimately poor forgotten things left in your closet). If you’re constantly checking in on your bags, then likely that the gem is going to be pristine!
Hope this was helpful! As always, leave me any comments or find me on instagram for a handbag chat.