A messenger bag is timeless. From bicycle couriers of old to urban fashionistas, this immortal piece of fashion continues to amaze. And no wonder, since a messenger bag is stylish, versatile and practical. It’s word-perfect for every occasion and can be mixed with any kind of outfit, both informal and formal. Black ones of shiny leather are impeccable with business suits, while patterned canvas bags are equally great with sportswear and casual street styles. Being such a key piece in every wardrobe, a messenger bag is probably a part of your daily outfits as well. If you own one which leather has started to crack and to look quite worn out, worry no more. It will only get better with time, and meanwhile, use these tricks to freshen it up.

 1. Patterned Inserts for Bohemian

Turning your aged leather messenger into a piece of art is quite easy – the only thing you need is little creativity. With some basic sewing skills, you can complete the project yourself, or you can always include one of the ladies from your life. Either way, the thing you’ll need to execute this unique idea is a piece of old patterned fabric with stiffer weaving, for these kinds of materials are easier to work with. Use an old oaxacan wool rug if you like busier patterns and vivid colors. If your messenger is full with books, accentuate your university-inspired look with tweed inserts. For a style that’s more laid-back and nonchalant, you can incorporate denim. If you use ornamented patterns, apply them to the upper part only, and leave the rest of the bag as it is. Simple and refreshing.

2. Backpack Straps for Versatility

Every outdoorsy man knows how hard it can be to carry all of the essentials around for a whole day through. A messenger bag, as all types that are intended for one-shoulder carrying, can start to seem heavier with time and they begin to hurt your shoulder. If you too prefer spending your days out in the open, but don’t particularly enjoy backpacks, there’s a way of transforming your messenger into a rucksack, and adjust it for carrying on the back. You can do so by simply using a shoulder strap and passing it through a bag’s handle. If the length of a strap doesn’t work with the width of your shoulders, you can try the following technique. Recycle a used leather belt or a strap from an old backpack and adjust it to clips sewed into the bag, so you can still take the straps off and carry the messenger the usual way.

3. Leather Drawings for Artistic

If you like drawing and are quite good in it, why not practice your artistic skills on your bag? However, you will need a little more than an ordinary pen to embellish the leather. There are special pens designed specifically for this purpose, and they differ from regular ones in a way that they don’t scratch the surface of the leather and provide better precision. If the sketch you’ve created for the bag is simpler and doesn’t require additional detailing, you can always use a permanent marker with a narrower tip. Pyrography is another technique you can try, but you would probably want to pass it on to a professional for this kind of decoration.

4. Let it Age for Vintage

Leather does age with grace, but this process may take time. If you have a messenger that’s a half way through, and its leather has cracked only at some places, this method will help you even it out and develop that beautiful patina look more quickly. One way of doing this is by applying a rubbing alcohol on the surface using a toothbrush. Sandpaper of a finer grade and a wire brush can also help you achieve you goal, but rub them gently against the leather. You don’t want to overdo it, since these techniques, when done wrongly, can cause actual damage to your bag.

5. Lace for Your Lady 

Now that you’ve made your favorite messenger bag look like a million bucks, why not make an effort to surprise your favorite lady by doing the same for her? If she’s been carrying around that ancient leather one, and hasn’t had the heart to toss it out, this solution is priceless. Find some old doilies or lace at your grandmother’s attic, and use them as an application. Paired with aged brown leather, white doilies and lace with lovely patterns, it will transform a bag from used to antique. If a doily application is small, add a dainty brooch or an old-fashioned pocket watch. Plaid a strap for a touch of bohemian and a little sparkle in your lady’s eyes.