After saving up for the designer handbag you’ve been dreaming of, you’re finally the proud owner of an investment fashion piece. Congrats! Now, you’re obsessing over how to make your handbag last forever. Joelle Litt, stylist at Toronto’s Judy Inc., is here to tell you exactly how to take care of the handbag in your closet with six expert fashion tips.

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Expert fashion tip #1: Waterproof it
Before your handbag even leaves your closet (BTW: always store at room temp and away from sunlight) make sure you prepare it for an unpredictable Canadian climate. “Rain and snow can do permanent damage to your handbag, so apply a waterproof product to the outside before you use it,” Litt says.

Expert fashion tip #2: Use those dust covers
“Store your handbag in a dust cover (they come with most authentic designer handbags) and make sure it’s properly stuffed and not flat or empty between uses,” Litt recommends. Before you safely secure the dust cover, fill your bag with loose tissue paper or extra fabric to help preserve shape.

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Expert fashion tip #3: Add a bag liner
When you’ve invested in something so special, you need to take care of it, inside and out. “Use a bag liner to avoid soiling the inside of the bag. Liners can even be swapped from bag to bag to keep all of your contents in place,” says Litt. You should also clean and condition the exterior leather once a week to remove any trapped dust or dirt.

Expert fashion tip #4: Take advantage of purse hangers
Passing on a purse hanger under the dinner table is a missed opportunity. “If there’s a purse hanger, use it!” Litt advises. “Be mindful of your surroundings ¬– it’s easy to set your bag down on countertops and in public washrooms. Avoid this when you can and check the surface when you can’t.”

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Expert fashion tip #5: Avoid overfilling
If you’re notorious for packing your handbag like a carryon suitcase, you need to cut back on how much you lug around. “Never overstuff your bag! If it’s too heavy it will cause premature wear and tear,” says Litt. “Avoid loose makeup, perfume and oils. If you do bring them, use a separate makeup case within a bag liner.”

Expert fashion tip #6: Handle with care

Yes, it is tempting to hug your handbag close to your torso, but it’s actually hazardous to the health of your handbag. “It’s best to hold your bag with your hands (instead of the elbow or shoulder) to prevent fabric dye from your clothing transferring to your bag over time,” says Litt. “Learn from my mistakes and never carry your handbag and a coffee in the same hand.”

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