PurseBlog Asks

To Suede or Not to Suede?

Lovely and luxe or too much upkeep?

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Working in luxury fashion, specifically the very niche area of handbags, I’m always asked about bags. From curious strangers who find my job fascinating to friends and family, the amount of purchasing advice I’ve given over the years is immeasurable.

I’m often asked what’s the best bag to buy right now, which brands are the most popular, which are a good investment, and which are a passing trend. It’s fun and often insightful to talk about bags with people who are ‘real’ consumers.

While yes I am a luxury consumer, having the inside knowledge that I do, seeing samples before they even hit stores, and working around bags every day, it’s hard to have an unbiased opinion. This makes talking to those who don’t work in the industry fun and interesting.

In the last couple of weeks, two very different friends have asked me the same question. Now, it’s a question I’m now posing to you. What would you tell a friend who wanted to buy a suede bag?

Luxe But Delicate

There are a lot of good reasons to buy a suede bag. Suede both feels and looks luxe, which is exactly the point my first friend, who tends to purchase one purse a year (non-luxury) and wear it until she gets sick of it, was trying to make when I raised my eyebrows at the bag she was after.

As a friend, I gave the advice I’d give myself when she texted me a photo of a suede STAUD bag. I explained how much I liked the bag but worried that it would show wear quickly, especially given that this friend is not a collector and doesn’t have a big collection of bags to rotate.

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STAUD
STAUD Valerie Bag
$350 via Shopbop

“Haven’t you noticed that I don’t even own a suede bag!” I told her, backing up my advice with the facts.

Suede, while beautiful, is hard to keep looking new, even with the utmost care and caution. I take really good care of my bags, and as much as I would love to buy a suede bag, the thought of one really makes me nervous, if I’m being honest.

The next bag in question was a grey suede Bottega Veneta Teen Jodie that my friend shared with me in an Instagram Reel. “What about this one?!?” she excitedly typed, following up on an in-person conversation about the bag she was thinking of purchasing on an upcoming trip to Paris.

Even over digital communication, I could sense her excitement, and I really didn’t want to burst her bubble, but I offered my warning anyway. Truthfully, I’d like another Jodie Bag as well, and the Teen is a great option, which I mentioned before gently suggesting she purchase it in leather instead.

Since then, I’ve been seeing a lot more suede bags on social media, and I, too, am finding myself more and more attracted to them. However, I still don’t see myself actually pulling the trigger on one.

Am I being too cautious, or are my hesitations warranted? What do you think?

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Bottega Veneta Teen Jodie
BOTTEGA VENETA Teen Jodie
$3,500 via Bottega Veneta
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Nad
Nad
6 months ago

This reminds me of a post that a previous PB author wrote regarding her experience with suede (specifically vintage suede) and how to clean and maintain such material. Thought it was a great read! Here it is in case anyone’s interested: https://www.purseblog.com/guides/how-to-clean-and-restore-a-suede-purse/

Terri
Terri
6 months ago

Personally, I like some suede bags but have never bought one either.

Aspen
Aspen
6 months ago

I absolutely adore suede. It’s so luxurious looking and feeling. I love when a bag has a suede lining too however the upkeep outweighs the benefit. If the inside is suede it has to be black as well as the outside. Even then, the corners can bald or get matted. It can’t get wet. Just too much upkeep.

Claudia R.
Claudia R.
6 months ago

If you buy a suede bag, you have to understand and accept how it will age. It will show signs of use in a way that other leathers will not. Perhaps black suede will show it less. I debated about buying a suede bag this year, but decided to pass.

Slurm Loco
Slurm Loco
6 months ago

I used to fear suede. However, now when I buy a new or preloved suede bag I pull out my leather care products (I have many) and weatherize it if new and if preloved, clean it up and weatherize it. This has helped tremendously with my bags, how they wear, age and so forth. I also find conditioning/caring for leather or suede bags to be very cathartic and highly satisfying. So the challenge of suede is now a pleasure and they look so good.