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Leather is not just a fashion statement. It gives the wearer an impression of high social class while experiencing quality and durability. There are a lot of reasons why leather is widely sought out. So, wherever you look, leather is a top choice for a number of items and accessories, especially bags.
However, not all leather is made the same. If this is your first time shopping for leather bags, you might end up buying something you didn’t expect. Before heading out to the mall, it is important to know what the types of leather for bags are.
The Types of Leather
While leather is a common term, it is just generally used to call everything that comes from hide. So, if it comes from the hide of a cow, it is immediately called leather, and this can be misleading. Leather is classified into five different grades. This is based on which part of the hide the leather comes from and the processes it has undergone.
1. Full Grain Leather
The highest quality and most sought out leather grade is full grain leather. It is made up of the outermost layer of the hide and only undergoes hair removal. Therefore, the grain is densely packed, making it strong, durable, and water resistant. In addition, this type of leather can develop discoloration over time, also called patina, which makes it more pleasing to the eyes as it ages.
One thing to note about full grain leather is that because it doesn’t undergo sanding, it is possible for the skin to have minor imperfections. It could be a scar that the cow had, scrapes from everyday life, and blemishes from natural causes. So, it might be necessary for you to check the leather yourself when making this kind of purchase.
2. Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather is closely similar to full grain, only that top grain has been sanded or buffed to remove any imperfections. As a result, you get a product that is softer and more pliable. It opens a lot more possibilities with dying and finishing for a more synthetic look. The problem is that with the top most layer being sanded, it is less durable and water-repellent.
3. Genuine Leather
Coming from any layer of the hide, genuine leather goes through a series of surface treatments to provide a more corrected appearance. It goes through sanding and buffing to remove surface imperfections along with being dyed, stamped, or embossed to give it the preferred final texture.
Due to the extensive process it undergoes, genuine leather loses a lot of the preferred qualities of leather. It is not the most durable but can give the aesthetic appearance and texture that you would want from leather.
4. Split Grain Leather
This material comes from the hide that is just above the flesh. It is the bottom-most layer of the hide. While it is still leather, it is not as dense or tight, therefore, it is not as durable. Instead, it is exposed to different processes such as coloring and embossing to create the desired color and texture. Generally, it is used as an additional layer on top of a different material to give a bag or accessory the look and feel of leather.
5. Bonded Leather
From the name itself, bonded leather is collected leather scraps that are shredded and bonded together. The common binding agents are either polyurethane or latex. In this case, the leather content can vary from 10% – 90%. It then undergoes different processes to give it a desirable synthetic color and texture. While it may look and feel like leather, it doesn’t have the durability associated with it.
Best Type of Leather for Men’s Bags?
You are going to find all five different leather grades on bags. So, now that you know what each means and offers, you can now make an informed decision on what is best for your needs. While it may be up to your taste and preference what leather you choose, there is a type of leather that is objectively the best leather for bags.
As you would expect, bags are everyday companions. They are exposed to the elements and to the brute force of masculine strength. Put that all together, the first thing you want your leather to be is tough and durable. With this said, full grain and top grain should be your go-to choices. Genuine leather can still be a choice depending on how you intend to use your bag. Otherwise, you are spending on something that won’t last.
Leather Bags for Men
The question now is, what is the best leather bag for you? If you have no idea what types of bags there are for men, then here are some to choose from.
1. The Briefcase
Who could ever forget this timeless piece? Dating back to the 1850s, the briefcase has now been refined to suit modern-day taste. Its rectangular shape makes it the most suitable bag from bringing documents as well as the everyday laptop companion. Wear it over your shoulder using a strap or hold tightly using a handle, it is all up to you. Get that sophisticated and classy look with a leather briefcase.
2. The Messenger Bag
Resembling closely to the briefcase, the messenger bag doesn’t have a firm rectangular shape. So, it might not be the best laptop or documents bag. Though, it serves a different purpose. Throughout history, the messenger bag served as the go-to by people who just needs a reliable bag to put their items. Now, major brands have put a modern twist to the style and fits people of different needs. If you just want the casual look, a leather messenger bag is best for you.
3. The Backpack
Two straps carried over both shoulders, who wouldn’t recognize a backpack. It has been the most reliable bag to date. From documents and books to a wide assortment of items, a backpack can do the job. If you need a high-capacity bag while maintaining the casual look, you are looking for a leather backpack.
4. The Duffel Bag
For those who want a high-capacity bag that doesn’t need to be worn on the back, the duffel bag is for you. It has the extra space you need and screams sophistication and professionalism. There is a wide assortment of sizes and you can choose whether to hand carry it or over your shoulder with a strap.
5. The Laptop Bag
What happens when people can’t get enough of their laptops? A bag gets designed around it. The key features include protective padding, firm rectangular structure, and decent size to fit a laptop. It could also be used for other purposes, but works best carrying your computer. Whether you are a student or a professional, carrying a leather laptop bag emphasizes on class and sophistication.
Now that you know your leather and bag, it is time for you to hit the stores. Choose the type of leather that you prefer in a bag that suits your needs. It’s fashion and practicality packed up into a single package.