Handbag 101: Caring For PVC

From Cheap-Chic To High Fashion: A Look Into Owning See-Through Handbags

In recent seasons, luxury brands have been utilizing PVC to create chic and visually interesting handbags. However, PVC handbags were once considered just a cheap accessory. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a synthetic polymer, so there’s a good reason that it would appear cheap. With the sudden rise of see-through bags trending on the runways, we delve deeper into the ownership of this, particularly unique material.

From Toy Store To Runway

For decades, brands across all categories have created PVC consumer goods, from clothing to shoes, toys, and accessories. Typically, these products are marketed toward children, with their fun and funky versatility and transparency. However, in recent years luxury fashion brands have been slowly integrating the material into their collections to create new and exciting pieces that appeal to the young at heart.

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Courtesy of Pinterest

Courtesy of Gucci

Is It Worth It?

As with owning a handbag made of any material, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding that it is right for you, before you decide to purchase.

  • Easy to identify items
  • Great for stadiums and arenas
  • Easy to clean
  • Withstands day to day wear well
  • Displaying, or showing off, your personal items in an artistic way
  • No privacy
  • Can appear messy
  • Can tear depending on material thickness
  • Melts/distorts easily under hot conditions
  • Absorbs color easily


PVC, while tough, is delicate in its own way. PVC scratches, scuffs, smudges, and dirt will accumulate to the point where it will become cloudy. To avoid this, wipe down your bag after each use. Do not use organic solvents, as these will dissolve and distort the material; it is best to use neutral cleaning products. If your handbag is supplemented with leather or other material, be sure to se cleaning items that are appropriate for both materials. Keep your PVC handbag away from excessive heat; even leaving it in your car when it is hot outside can irreparably damage your bag. Finally, store your bag within a cotton dust bag, as PVC has a tendency to “bond” with other materials under certain conditions over time.

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