The Care and Feeding of Your Satchel
Satchel, shoulder bag, messenger bag – whatever you call it, in recent years this type of bag has become a popular fashion accessory. Unlike many other accessories, it’s been around for centuries, if not millennia. It’s said that Roman legionaries carried similar bags to hold their supplies. Whether that’s true or not, what is certain is that it was first recorded as a fashion accessory in the 17th century. Over the centuries bags like these have been used by everyone from school children to diplomats. Similar bags have even appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where according to one fan site, the bag that Indiana Jones carries is a 1940s gas mask bag. Fast forward to the 21st century and it looks like the satchel is here to stay.
Buying a Satchel
One of the key decisions to make when buying a satchel is what size it should be. A satchel that’s about a foot wide may hold a diary and notebook (the paper kind) but it won’t hold much else. Go slightly bigger and you will be able to add your tablet to the list of items you can carry, and the biggest bags available can comfortably hold a 17 inch laptop, along with all the stationery and business accessories you need for a day at the office. Another key decision is the material. Leather is hard wearing and attractive and will soften over time. Properly treated, it will withstand all weather conditions, but if you don’t want to take it out in the rain, then consider a canvas satchel instead. Third, you need to decide on design. Though many designs for most of these bags are basically the same, with a handle, shoulder strap and two clasps at the front (think of them as soft briefcases), when it comes to colour, there are lots of options. The classic man bag is basic black, brown or burgundy leather, while more outré options can have leopard print, snakeskin, flowers, flags and more. You can also personalize it by having your name, initials or a message added to the flap.
Looking After Your Satchel
Once you have your satchel, especially if you choose something handmade, it’s important to look after it. Like other leather items, you can keep a leather satchel clean by rubbing it with a special cleaner a few times a year. Use a leather conditioner more often to keep the leather supple. You can also treat your bag with a protective spray upon purchase to ensure that it stays in the best possible condition, whatever the weather.