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My inherited love affair

Leather.

Touch it. Feel it. Smell it.

I didn’t really know I was obsessed with leather until people around me remarked about it to me. One did so in her wedding speech. At my wedding.  No denial here. I do love leather.

I spent some time thinking about why. And I have to pin my earliest leather memories on my mother. Whenever we went into stores and picked up shoes, be it for herself, me or my brother, “is it leather?” would be the very 1st thing she’d ask. It was the absolute the minimum requirement.

So leather’s a bit nostalgic for me. Makes me think back to the coercion of having to polish my school shoes every evening – mentally challenging myself not get nugget on my hands (I was already showered, it was bedtime after all!) but it proved much easier to just persuade (read bribe) my little brother to do it for me though.

I unconsciously took this standard with me through my life. And it wasn’t always convenient. Though it’s changed of late (albeit slowly), fashionable got-to-have-it-now-items weren’t generally made in leather. And I, over the years forewent them, scoffing at the inferior quality and lack of longevity.

I am my mother’s child.

I was around 19 and dying, just dying to buy my first leather jacket. The route I took home from varsity had me cut through Woolworths Claremont. Low and behold. There it was. Black. Trench. R599. And I’m broke. Being reared on the principle of “it’s better to go without” I certainly didn’t ask. So I diligently lay buyed it and collected after 4 months and 6 instalments.  I rushed home and paraded it to the only person I knew would appreciate this moment with me. And then she asked me the 2nd question she usually asked shop assistants “what kind of leather is it?” And when I responded that I didn’t know she pulled me closer and examined the wash care label on the inside seam. And I never hated swine more than I did that next day when the cashier crumpled R599 back in my hands.

I lust leather. Though many try to fake it and will continue to try to, the smell is unmistakable. The feeling is unmistakably luxurious and hard-wearing to the touch. Cared for well, its an item for life. Or at least that’s how I justify the price mentally to myself!

Here are a few of my favourites I’ve collected over the years…

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My core accessory at the office & probably the most recent but most used of the lot – a book cover – I simply slip a new Moleskine inside when it runs out (1)

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I also carry loads of leather goodies in my (leather!) handbag:

pic 1 (left): pen holder (2); envelope (handy for receipts vouchers etc so you don’t bulk up your purse (2); Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 inch cover (13); patent leather wallet (3).

pic 2 (right): ID/passport cover (3); hard case for earphones (6), tweezer set (7); card holder  (I hate the look of a stuffed wallet) (6); keys carry pouch (3).

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Gloves – one of the reasons I welcome Winter! In red (4), chocolate-brown (5) and tan (4)

netbook case (9) & make up bag (10)

clutches my favourites (if I have to choose!) in tan (3), grey (3) , snake-skin (11) & red (12)

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Pic 1: document holder (3) & pencil-case (3)

Pic 2: button collector box (great holder for keys, coins and things men generally keep losing!) (2)

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Jewelry box and watch boxes (2)

 

Travel cosmetic/vanity bag (16), bangle watch (14), Blackberry Torch cover (13), and sunglass case (15).

This postman bag is my husband’s, but still one of my loves, especially the colour! We bought it for a steal and its beautiful lined with suede on the inside (11).

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My laptop bag (it was time to trade in that awful Targus company issued bag!) – bought from an antique store in Cape Town (8). I was so lucky to have found this – I spent a measly amount getting it restored further as I used it daily – hope it lasts forever!

I’ve had moments when I’ve been unsure if a particular item is leather or not. The price is usually a dead giveaway. But in moments when I have checked the label, I can feel my heart sink to my toes the moment I read that nasty, nasty word: PU. Polyutherane, dear all, in my moms word is plastic. Just a though for next time you’re contemplating that Guess bag.

Locally, for fashion forward leather items and accessories, Campo Marzio (opening at Hyde Park, Jhb soon!), Country Road & Trenery undoubtedly lead the way. Simply gorgeous. If you need some help shopping online at international sites like Asos, no worries, check here.

I decided not to even get into leather shoes, handbags and decor items in this piece (how would I even begin to choose favourites and anyway, no blog should go on forever!)  – true to form my love of leather knows no bounds!

To me leather is an investment and has unknowingly become a love mark. Cared for, it can easy last for generations – the antique pieces I’ve nabbed are proof. I love the way leather wears from day-to-day use – it adds character to an item, making no two alike. I can’t wait to pass some of these items onto Misha someday.

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