All my authentic Longchamp bags are bought abroad – the prices abroad are half of what the official price is when bought here in the Philippines at official stores! Wait for sales abroad (pabili sa friends or relatives, and take advantage of duty free privileges and tax rebates!) You can also buy online from Neimann Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, etc… during sales like Black Friday and have them delivered to your relative’s address, and wait for them to come back to the Philippines. DO NOT have it delivered to the Philippines directly. Philippine Customs horror stories here. The post may be old but everything it’s saying is still very relevant. I have experienced my own horror stories with them, too. You have been warned.
To give you an idea of the price – an authentic regular Longchamp Le Pliage Medium Long Handle bought abroad at an official store is equivalent to somewhere around P4,000-6,000 (on sale/discounted/duty-free). If you find one around that price range, it’s a good price. Last time I checked, authentic ones officially sold here in Manila were selling for P9,500.
I have one fake Le Pliage bought from an online seller – I didn’t know it was fake when I bought it, the seller told me it was an “overrun” but sure authentic daw. Now I know better. It’s fake. I still use it (sayang naman, binayaran ko din yan!) but mostly for low-level errands and when I know I’ll probably get it dirty, and during the rainy season. But don’t use a Le Pliage for shopping in Divisoria or Baclaran because they are a slasher’s dream bag.
Let me know if you want me to write a post about how to tell if a Longchamp is fake.
WHY LONGCHAMP LE PLIAGE?
Anyway, I always find myself using the Longchamp even though I have many other bags to choose from. I just love how I can put everything in it! It can even fit folders and big Manila envelopes – this helps keep my hands free even when I was given some big handouts during events. The bags are also closed with a zipper — this is very important, especially in crime-prone Manila. Zippers are your first line of defense against pickpockets.
I also like the Longchamp because it’s very light. Other leather tote bags are heavy and make what you’re carrying around seem heavier! Some tote bag straps are also painful and cut shoulder flesh, especially when what’s in the bag is heavy! But the Le Pliage’s leather straps are soft and don’t have sharp edges.
HOW I CLEAN MY LONGCHAMP LE PLIAGE BAGS
First of all, here’s WHAT NOT TO DO: The nylon material of the Le Pliage tends to “bubble” when handled improperly. DO NOT put them in the washing machine! Do not make kuskos your Le Pliage, especially when it’s wet!
Here are the things that I use to clean my Le Pliage bag by hand:
- Cleansing ingredient (you can use Ariel, Tide, etc… but I just use Joy because I’m too lazy to get the detergent).
- Clean brush – old toothbrush, old pedicure brush, etc…
- Big enough space to clean the bag without folding it (I clean my Le Pliage on the shower floor, make sure it’s clean)
- Water – a telephone-type shower is best, but good ol’ pail and tabo will work, too
I first lay the bag on the clean tiled floor and wet both sides and the inside of the bag with water. Be careful when handling the bag, you want it to be as flat as possible. Minimize creasing and rubbing it on itself (kuskos) while wet because this will cause bubbling.
Start cleaning the inside of the bag as gently as possible. Keep the material flat while you soap the inside of the bag, don’t forget the inside pocket. You can use a soft sponge if it’s really dirty, but I usually don’t because I don’t need to, the insides of my bags are not that dirty.
Once you’re done with the inside, start soaping the outside. Gently brush the material to loosen any dirt, making sure the material is still laying as flat as possible. Gently brush until you’re satisfied that you’ve removed as much dirt as you can. Do this to the other side of the bag and the bottom part. Do not crumple the material!
Don’t brush the leather — they usually do not get very dirty, anyway.
Start rinsing the bag. Be gentle when handling the bag, avoid crumpling! Rinse the inside, rinse the pocket, rinse the outside, rinse the leathers — make sure all soap has been rinsed off. Again, please DO NOT crumple the bag or rinse it inside a pail. Just rinse it as best as you can while keeping the material as flat as possible.
DRY the bag upside down. I like using the back of a plastic chair for this. I put the Longchamp Le Pliage upside down over the back of a clean monobloc chair and let the water drip down. The bag’s zipper is open and the back of the chair is “inside” the bag. Let it dry like this for a day.
After 1 day (sometimes an afternoon is enough), I hang the Le Pliage on a hanger and let it dry further for another day (especially the insides and the leather straps). Don’t clip any part of the bag! Just let it hang on a hanger with the zipper open.
Once it’s dry, it’s ready to be stored or used!
UPDATE Nov. 2016: I used laundry detergent the last couple of times I cleaned my Longchamp Le Pliages, and it works a lot better than using dish soap. The bag looks cleaner. Also, DRYING MY LE PLIAGE: I found a way to dry my bag faster. After washing it, I carefully put it in the spin dryer upside down, trying to put it as straight upside down and curved as possible without folding it, and let it spin dry for a few minutes. After spin drying, the bag is actually almost dry! I hang the bag handles on a hanger to dry further, but the bag is totally dry in a couple of hours.
It has its shine back! The color is also noticeably lighter with all the dirt removed!
After cleaning my bag many times, I noticed that my oldest Longchamp Le Pliage bag has started to fray in some parts – but that’s to be expected from normal wear and tear. I’ve probably cleaned this bag close to 10 times already.
Also, after several cleanings, I noticed that the leather straps are softer (not as stiff as a new bag).
Even though the bags are on the expensive side, they are worth the splurge for me. I love using them! If I use them everyday and nasulit ko din, if you think about it, it’s worth it. Since I love these bags, I don’t have any cravings for other bags (and save money!). Also, the bags are pricey enough to be considered “acceptable” by brand-conscious people watchers (I know we’re not supposed to care what other people think, but…), but not pricey enough that I would get a meltdown if anything happened to them.
So this is how I clean my Longchamp Le Pliage bags. How do you clean yours?
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The Barat Queen
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