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products: Harlow tote bag, Bo Rancher, Magnolia market tote


POV: you decide to take tomorrow off of work for a last-minute getaway because…summer, and you’re up late packing the night before. You grab your go-to straw hat(s), some easy dresses and comfy but cute sandals. Fast forward to the time you make it to your anticipated destination…you start unpacking your bags only to discover the straw hats are now completely misshapen from your travels. Now you’re bummed and frantic for a solution. All is not lost though, with a few quick hacks you can reshape your straw hat and bring it back to life in time for brunching seaside. 

 Even though we consider ourselves seasoned packers, we’ve been in this same disappointing situation more than a few times. We tried a few different ways to help bring our straw hats and accessories ‘back to life’ and we’re hopeful these tips for how to care for your straw hat will be helpful in the future. Your wardrobe is an investment and a reflection of your personal style, so you want your accessories to last for more than just a season of wear from both a sustainability and savings standpoint. 

First, let’s talk about proper hat storage and packing solutions. Optimal storage for palm straw accessories should be in a cool dry place, preferably in a hat storage box. The best way to care for your straw hats is to store them upside down (with the crown of the hat on a flat surface). This will allow for the hat brim to retain its shape over time. For structured, flat hat brims, you can also display your hats on a hat wall with hooks. When packing straw hats - it’s preferable to carry them on an airplane, or store them separately and carefully outside of your luggage if traveling by vehicle. You can also pack your straw hats with the crown facing the bottom of the suitcase and store soft, rolled up cotton shirts and dresses inside the top of the hat opening and gently around it as a nice buffer. If you find yourself needing to reshape your straw hat, we love using a standard garment steamer to make the palm straw more malleable. Don’t forget to let the hat air dry in a cool place, or use a hair dryer on a cool setting to speed up the process. 

Handcrafted straw hats, inspired by California style, handcrafted by artisans

products: San Cristobal fedora, Vagabond straw gambler

Now let’s discuss the best ways to clean our palm straw hats and bags. It may sound really simple, but always use a gentle or mild soap (preferably unscented) diluted with water, then blot the solution on your straw hat (or bag) with a soft bristle brush to spot clean. Dab the area dry with an old cotton shirt or towel. This method should also work well when cleaning any other 100% genuine leather hatbands or handles on some of the Leah tote bags and baskets (use a microfiber cloth instead of a soft bristle brush). Try to avoid rubbing the spot as it could lead to a water stain and make the appearance of the stain even worse.

The Magnolia straw tote, part of the Leah 2023 summer collection of sustainable accessories.

products: Magnolia market tote, Golden cowboy hat

Do you have any tips for how to care for your straw hats and basket bags? We’d love to hear some of your ideas for things that have worked well in the past, keeping your most loved accessories looking brand new with each wear. Comment below or share your tips and tricks with us on social media - @Leah_California, Pinterest, and Facebook. We will share updates to this journal entry as we come across any new and effective strategies to help keep your accessories in the best shape. You can also email us any comments or questions about caring for your Leah accessories at:

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