Style Check: The Essential Men’s Wallet

The wallet, for both men and women, is truly an indispensable accessory. It holds many day-to-day essentials: ID cards, bank & credit cards, paper notes, and even business cards or photographs. For men, especially those men who aren’t accustomed to toting around a “murse” or messenger, the wallet really is the equivalent to a purse.

Growing up, I remember my dad’s wallet. He always carried a typical style –sometimes it was black, other times he’d sport a brown one. But either way, he always had a bi- or tri-fold that was packed so thick that it bulged in the back pocket of his pants. It always seemed like an “uncomfortable” look to me, but I followed his lead even with my velcro-locked wallets that I carried around as a kid. I, too, used to pack whatever I could in that thing. When I was still credit card-innocent, I packed that thing with all the cash I could, and the other half of the wallet was packed with all sorts of pictures… weighing my pant pocket down so low.

As I started to work regularly after college, however, I became so sick of all the “excess” and eventually transitioned to a simple “card holder.” For me, a card holder carries my true essentials: ID, bank & credit card, my metro card, and even a few bank notes. Now that smart phones can double-function as virtual photo albums, there’s no need to pack photos in a wallet.

And when it comes to style and preference, I feel that there is an opportunity for men to become more creative with their wallet choices. Here are some that are currently on my personal “it” list:


Tod’s Leather Credit Card Holder –This style of card holder has been my “go to” for many, many years now. It’s minimal, and really functions well for my personal needs. This way, I’m only bringing my essentials with me all the time. In particular, I love the two-toned design of this wallet, and the grainy leather texture adds to its overall sturdiness. It is stylish and modern, yet very simple. $125 at The Luxer.


Jack Spade Wesson Leather Bi-Fold Card Holder –This is actually my current wallet, and I carry a green one. The exterior has a crosshatch texture in plain leather, with a striped interior lining; it’s a nice mix between preppy simplicity and classic sleekness. I love having this wallet in a non-black or brown color as it lends more to my personality. $68 at Bloomingdale’s.


Corter Travel Wallet –Some men like a wallet with a little more security. Typically, zippers and buttons are a regular feature on women’s wallets. But that design element is starting to make a serious crossover. This wallet in particular provides that sense of “security” while maintaining a very rugged look and feel that is undoubtedly masculine. $89 by Corter.


And for the über lux option… Bottega Veneta’s Intrecciato Washed Vintage Nappa Wallet –So forget the over-used LV monogram, or the loud Bally stripe. Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato (a leather-weaving technique that was developed by the brand) is the key descriptor on this piece, and only those familiar with this “stamp” will know the label behind the wallet. This one is in-line with the classic bi-fold styles that most men like, and is an elegantly crafted piece made with extremely beautiful leather. It is understated, yet chic. $450 by Bottega Veneta.

At the end of the day, it is all about choosing a wallet that will help keep you organized. It’s best to go with something that will fit your overall needs, rather than go with something that you’ll have to work at adapting to. But don’t be afraid to step out of your style box, and go for something with a bit more personality. Whether you’re in the market for a luxury product, a premium wallet, or even a high street equivalent, it’s all about finding that balance between functionality and style.


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