The wallet is a staple in almost every man’s life. It’s relied upon for the safekeeping of cash, credit cards and photographs of loved ones. It’s also among the first items searched for that misplaced receipt or business card. Despite its necessity, the quality and condition of a wallet is all too often overlooked. You should take the same caring attitude toward your wallet as toward your car. You rely on it, so keep it clean and well maintained. Make it something you’re proud to whip out at the end of a dinner date. Allow your wallet to be a bold statement, not just a downtrodden sidekick.
The Selection Process
The first step to wallet comfort is to pick one that suits you. Brooke Hyden, style expert at Zappos.com, said personality should play a large part in the selection process.
“Are you an urbanite who is a bit edgy and funky? If so, look at wallets with interesting materials and construction, or deconstruction,” she said. “Or are you the all-American man who likes the classic leather look? As far as functionality, do you need a bi-fold wallet or something more secure with a zipper or a snap?”
As for size, think about where you’ll carry it, be it in a pocket in your pants or jacket, or inside a briefcase. If you do favor putting it your back pocket, it doesn’t matter what size it is or what it’s made of if you don’t transfer it elsewhere whenever you sit down. Using your wallet as a cushion will have it in a shambles in no time.
If you enjoy a varied lifestyle with, for example, formal weekdays that sharply contrast with casual evenings and weekends, think about purchasing more than one wallet.
“(Usually) a slim classic bi-fold wallet in black or brown leather is all you need and worth the investment,” said celebrity fashion stylist Arturo D. Chavez, who has worked with such stars as Colin Firth, Brad Paisley and Scott Caan. “However, if you like trendy pieces like wallet chains and money clips, I recommend you have multiple wallets for different occasions.”
This essentially means you’ll be thinking of the wallet as an accessory in the same vein that women approach purses. Women have long lived by the rule that a purse should be practical but can also complete and complement an outfit. If men apply this rule to their use of wallets, they will soon appreciate a wallet as the perfect finishing touch to any ensemble. As such, keeping a small, varied selection at hand will prove useful to those who want their wallets to fit different occasions. This also means you’ll have to get used to moving money and cards around to the different wallets, but that’s the price of being in style.
What to Keep
Avoid stuffing your wallet with unnecessary junk. A 1998 episode of the classic sitcom “Seinfeld” is still popularly referenced when people see a man using his wallet as a closet. In that episode, “The Reverse Peephole,” the wallet of George Costanza (Jason Alexander) became so fat that it exploded.
A wallet should contain your driver’s license, health insurance cards, credit cards and cash. Thanks to advancements in technology, Chavez points out, there’s little need for a wallet to accommodate anything beyond these basic necessities.
“Embrace technology and utilize the features on your cell phone, laptop or other electronic devices to store important information you may need with you at all times,” he advises.
Hyden also said most of the stuff that used to jostle for space in the old wallet has no place in the new one.
“Shred anything that can be found on a mobile device,” she said. “File things that cannot be replaced, like mementos: Pictures of kids, family, dog/cat, or a letter from a girlfriend, grocery reward cards, physical business cards.”
However, Hyden said, you should keep items like punch cards from coffee shops if you know you’re going to use them. The new wallet can still have a little room for something old-fashioned.
“Go old school in this digital age and pop a nostalgic photo in there for fun,” she suggests.
Making a Statement
After embracing a renewed approach to your wallet, you may start to enjoy its positive reflection on your style.
“If you work in a conservative office but have a wild side, your funky wallet can easily compensate,” Hyden said.
Chavez said the wallet must be treated like any other accessory.
“It says a lot about your personality and personal style,” he says. “A simple, organized wallet makes a good impression and a strong statement about you.”