As far as men’s accessories go, a good wallet is one of the true fundamentals. This is something that’s going to see daily use, protect your hard-earned money and stay with you for potentially decades. Not only that, it’s also an extension of your personal style and can say a lot about what sort of person you are.
When something is going to be that big a part of your life, it’s well worth getting right. Things like material, craftsmanship and style all factor in when alighting on the perfect wallet, as well as having an understanding of the marques making the best options.
Below we delve into our favourite wallet brands as well as the details to consider before parting with your cash. So, whether you’re looking for something practical and classic or eye-catching and indulgent, here’s all you need to know.
There are two main contenders when deciding what your wallet should be made from: leather and canvas. The former is classic and sophisticated while the latter is modern and rugged. Which one you choose will depend heavily on personal preference but in our experience, leather ages more gracefully and there tends to be a greater variety of well-made options.
Cardholder Vs. Billfold
The classic billfold wallet has long been the gold standard. Yet, in an increasingly cashless society, more and more men are opting for simple cardholders instead. The key difference is that a billfold wallet folds in two and has room inside for notes. A cardholder, on the other hand, has a slimmer profile and only has room to accommodate a few cards. For this reason, the latter is usually less bulky and slips into a pocket nicely without spoiling the line of your pants or jacket.
When dealing with leather, it always pays to buy from a brand that knows its stuff. Traditional leather makers are a great place to start, as are fashion brands that have a strong reputation for leather goods. Pay attention to things like stitching and hardware (zips, button closures) too, both of which are an excellent indicator of quality.
Mulberry is a name synonymous with luxury leather goods. It’s known primarily for its handbags and luggage, but the British brand’s wallets and cardholders boast all the same quality and attention to detail. The full-grain leather billfold wallet is one of Mulberry’s staples, finished with subtle silver lettering and a soft, lined interior.
Porter-Yoshida & Co.
Porter-Yoshida & Co. is the undisputed king of nylon canvas. The Japanese brand’s practical yet stylish bags enjoy something of a cult following and its wallets are the perfect alternative for anyone looking to venture away from leather. Expect quality Japanese construction, functional styling and iconic Porter patch branding as standard.
With expertise in high-grade leather goods earned over more than a century, Dunhill is an obvious place to start in the hunt for a traditional wallet. The London label’s iconic Cadogan range features classic, elegant designs crafted from the finest calfskin leather and finished with signature embossed Dunhill lettering in silver.
Smythson is another London-based leather-goods brand which specialises in classic options. The label has been crafting luxe leather diaries, stationery and other accessories since the 1800s and therefore has real pedigree when it comes to wallets. Crafted from fine Italian hide and featuring an intricate textured finished, a Smythson wallet represents a truly indulgent way to carry your cash.
New York label Common Projects is better known for its footwear than anything else. Still, if it’s made from leather, you can rest assured CP is making some of the best around. The brand’s wallets and cardholders are no exception, handcrafted in Italy using the same buttery leather that made its sneakers famous. For quality construction and minimalist styling, there is no brand doing it better.
German luxury goods brand Montblanc produces an assortment of indulgent products, including stationery, bags, watches, jewellery and, of course, wallets. The Hamburg-born marque works with high-quality leather and uses traditional techniques to create some of the finest receptacles money can buy. Ideal for keeping your cash and cards safe in style.
Polo Ralph Lauren
The preppy stylings of New York’s Polo Ralph Lauren have made it a staple brand in many a man’s wardrobe. But it’s not all Oxford shirts and chinos. The label also has a varied selection of accessories, including classic leather wallets and cardholders at affordable price points. All wallets feature a slim profile, plenty of slots for cards and notes and iconic polo-player embossed branding.
The British high street’s high-end offering, Reiss is known for producing exceptional off-the-peg tailoring, sleek casualwear and leather jackets. The brand’s knack for working with leather carries over into its range of accessories too, where you’ll find leather wallets and cardholders in a variety of textured finishes and styles.
Detroit-based brand Shinola is known for its hard-working timepieces and robust leather goods. If you’re looking for a rugged leather wallet that can stand up to the rigours of daily abuse and then some, this Motor City mainstay might be your best option.
Saint Laurent is a high-fashion house well known for its leather. The label’s trademark moody, rock and roll chic aesthetic extends to its line of wallets and cardholders too, which all feature slim profiles, minimal branding and Italian construction – predominantly in black leather.