Presentability: What a Good Wallet Looks Like
The Right Wallet for the Right Job
Not all wallets are created equal. Your slim day-to-day billfold won’t hold larger papers and tickets when you travel. A polyester and velcro wallet with your alma mater’s football insignia is fine for shopping on a Saturday but won’t make the best impression at a business lunch.
A quick overview of wallet styles–and yes, a man can own various styles that suit his particular needs:
Billfolds – Your basic bi-fold or tri-fold wallet in plain black leather is a reliable workhorse. It’s perfectly acceptable in just about any social or business setting and holds the daily essentials year after year. Simple, elegant, timeless. Your go-to wallet.
Below is a neat one from an Esty craftsman who will customize the handmade wallet with a quotation of your choice:
Sport Wallets – Usually made from a synthetic weave, these wallets are made in brighter colors and with features for men who need to ensure the contents of the wallet stay put. They also can feature straps to secure them to the individual, can be water resistant, and utilize velcro and zippers. Reserve these wallets for times when their functionality is a requirement–not when wearing a dinner jacket.
Super Slim Wallets – Recently I’ve seen the rise of simple and slim wallets. Some are made from leather, but can only hold at most a few cards and bills. Others are made from paper-thin, ultra-strong materials and are almost an empty form given shape by the wallet contents. The goal is the same–make the wallet smaller and a man will by necessity carry less. A good philosophy, and one I recommend for those who can’t seem to keep their traditional billfolds slim.
Money Clip – Often underrated, metal clips are even slimmer than wallets and can be eye-catching if you find a good one. They also fit better in a jacket pocket than most billfolds. If you’re looking for one that’s truly unique, search Etsy.com for hundreds of interesting handmade options. There are even money clips out there like the one below that double as knives!
Travel Wallets – These are usually built larger to accommodate tickets and international passports. They also come with an attached clip or neck thong to help prevent theft or misplacement. Travel wallets aren’t practical for daily use, but they’re invaluable when you travel, especially as a family man carrying paperwork and IDs for 5 people.
Wallet/Phone Case – You’ve got a handkerchief, pocket knife, wallet and goodness knows what else in your pockets (seriously, check out what AoMers carry in their pockets each day)…add in having to carry a phone as well, and things start to get pretty bulky. That’s why a wallet that doubles as a phone case can be a smart move.
Stylistically, each of these wallet types comes in an almost infinite range of builds and colors. Your tastes might run anywhere from alligator skin to recycled materials, but just remember the darker and simpler the wallet, the more formal it is.
I recommend at least a plain leather billfold; beyond that let your personal tastes be your guide. A little character never hurt a man’s wallet — as long as it’s kept functional and stylish.