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A Guide to Men's Wallets


by Dave Johnson  

I distinctly remember my first experience buying a wallet. I had been cutting grass in my neighborhood quite a bit that year in hopes of saving up enough money for a nice electric guitar (that my brother couldn’t share). I was still far away from my guitar goal, but I needed a place to keep all my cash. My dad suggested I buy a wallet from a local department store, so off to the mall we went. While I was there, I was amazed at the variety of wallet designs, materials, and colors, but I finally settled on a brown bifold (made with spurious leather quality), and was gutted to find out how much money it took from my dragon hoard of cash.

I remember once as a little kid seeing my dad’s wallet, a black leather bifold, mostly full of receipts and cards. It looked so thick that I don’t know how he could even sit on it—not to mention how beat up and haggard it looked. Maybe you can relate. You may have a wallet held together with duct tape, or maybe your wallet is also a doorstop when not in your back pocket. Maybe you realize that your wallet doesn’t fit your needs. Or maybe you just need to buy your first wallet. Regardless of where you are, this guide should help you find the right one.

The Classic Bifold Wallet

classic bifold wallet

The first wallet I will mention for this guide is a simple bifold. It might be the most popular and most recognizable of wallet designs. That’s understandable. It’s a classic, simple design with a lot of usefulness. So I’d like to recommend the Classic Bifold Wallet ($79) by Jackson Wayne. There are a few features of this bifold that I think really set it apart from other wallets out there. First, it’s made with the absolute best quality leather you can buy: full grain, vegetable tanned leather. That alone should sell you on the wallet. You are sitting on your wallet frequently throughout the day—possibly all day. You want a leather that won’t fall apart after a year of wear, like many of the “genuine leather” wallets on the market. Heck, even the threads for the stitching are the best. As for the design, it stays classic with a single compartment for cash and six card slots. But Jackson Wayne finishes the inside of the cash compartment so it’s not rough, but it’s not totally smooth either. It has just a little texture, which holds your cash but doesn’t scrape your knuckles. The card slots have a slightly curved cutout to them, which helps you grab cards easily. It’s a great design that doesn’t rock the boat, but innovates in just the right amount.

Minimalist Wallet

Another great design that has really gained a lot of traction in recent years has been the minimalist wallet. Essentially, it’s a design stripped down to the core elements of a wallet, in the smallest package possible. This a great design for anyone who likes putting their wallet in their front pocket, or for anyone who just likes the smaller, slimmer profile that a minimalist wallet brings. This happens to be my personal favorite style, though I keep mine in my back pocket. My suggestion here is the Jackson Wayne Minimalist Wallet ($49), another knockout design by them. The cash slot is unfinished this time and has a little more bite—which is perfect for a minimalist since you are sticking folded bills inside. There are four tiered card slots arranged lengthwise across the wallet—a brilliant design—which allows for easy access. It’s very small and very thin, but Jackson Wayne didn’t skimp on the leather. It's still made with the best quality, so even this little guy will last a very long time. And it smells great.

Card Holder Wallet

If you want to slim down even more, you can go with a card wallet. These are great for people who think minimalist wallets aren’t minimal enough. Maybe you have used money clips in the past. Think of these like leather money clips. They hold only a few cards and maybe a couple of bills, tops. If you wear a suit a lot, this is a great option to have. I have found these work incredibly well as tiny business card wallets. My suggestion here is the Jackson Wayne Front Pocket Wallet ($29). It’s a very simple design, and is so small it disappears in your pocket. But it’s made superbly, will last forever, holds the bare essentials, and looks great.

Passport Wallet

Now maybe you are reading this and thinking, “These are great and all, but I need something just a bit…larger.” Don’t worry—I gotchu. The Field Notes Journal ($59) by Jackson Wayne is my suggestion here. But it’s more than just an excellent journal. It’s a veritable wallet multi-tasker. If you don’t need the Field Notes booklet, take it out, stuff your cash inside, and use it as a large wallet. Or if you are travelling, put your passport inside, and voila! Instant passport wallet. There are also card slots on one side, for your credit cards or business cards. Though it’s large, it still comfortably fits inside a back pocket, making this a handy wallet to have.

These wallets come in three colors: black, saddle tan, and vintage brown, which all look great. The search for the perfect wallet can be daunting at first, but I hope that this guide has narrowed down some of the choices and helped you find the best one for you. The best part is that you don’t need to have just one. Pick as many as you need for the situations you need them in. I once heard someone tell me, “Buy quality, hurt once,” and that certainly is true here. These wallets are the best, saving you cash with their lifelong value.

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