A man’s wallet can reveal a lot about the owner. The size, the colour, even what’s kept inside. In effect, it’s the male equivalent of the female handbag. It’s with this in mind that next time you’re out wallet hunting, you should spend some time deliberating exactly what it is you need from a money holder.
Not only do you need to factor in size and materials, which we’ll come on to in a bit, but as with any menswear item, you need to think about your budget. Wallets can range from incredibly affordable, somewhere around the $30-$50, and extend way up into hundreds and even thousands, which is usually reflective of the brand.
We’ve put together a list of the brands we think are at the top of their game right now and the ones you need to be checking out next time you need to find somewhere new to store your cards and cash. But first, here’s what you need to be looking out for in your next wallet.
Wallets can be incredibly slim or oversized. The most common styles are cardholder, bi-fold and tri-fold. A cardholder is exactly what it suggests: a holder for cards. Where they differ is how many cards they can carry; some will have space for just two or three while others may be able to gobble up 8 or 10. You can even find cardholders with space for some notes, offering the best of both worlds.
Bi-fold and tri-fold wallets will, naturally, have space for cards too (some cardholders may come in a bi-fold design too) but will usually offer more space for notes and occasionally even a pouch for holding spare change.
Realistically speaking, we’re much more likely to pay for everything by card or even our phones these days, so do you really need that extra pocket for change or a zip closing? The smaller your wallet is the less it will poke out of your jacket or pants, meaning it won’t impact your overall look.
Leather is the main material used in wallets and that’s why they age so well and last so long. But as you should know with leather by now, it can come in a variety of finishes and colours. Most wallets will rock with a full-grain pebbled finish or be as smooth as a baby’s behind, and the variant you choose will be entirely down to personal preference.
And as with any material, there are different levels of quality. In general, if you put a few extra dollars into your purchase then you’re getting better leather – which means good longevity and a product that is going to evolve beautifully over time – like a good pair of boots.
There’s not a lot that Victorian brand Bellroy doesn’t know about slim-tailored design. Even though they have branched out into other accessories it’s wallets that remain their speciality, such as this Note Sleeve design. It’s made from premium, environmentally certified leathers, and is sleek enough to place in your pocket, full of cards and cash, without worrying about closing or bulging.
Escuyer is a truly international effort. Their products are designed in Belgium, fabrics are sourced in South America and everything gets put together in Portugal. The name comes from the old French for Esquire, and they’re certainly making waves with their modern cashmere socks. Their Blue Leather Cardholder is made from vegetable-tanned leather coated in organic paint and features six card slots and a centre section for folded notes.
Born in the southern Spanish region of Andalucia, Cafe Leather is big on tweaking their locally produced leathers into things of beauty. They make boots, gloves and belts as well as premium wallets, such as this Roasted Ultra Slim design. It’s made from vegetable-tanned leather and perfectly represents the artisanal craft that goes into Cafe Leather products – all made to age in style.
If you’re in the market for something a little more colourful and modern in aesthetic, then Saturdays NYC may have what you’re looking for. They might be new to accessories but going by this Bii-Fold Tan wallet they’re heading in the right direction. It’s made with naturally tanned leathers to offer a lighter hue and features two card slots, along with a nice closed interior pocket for loose change.
If you're someone who spends a lot of their time outdoors, whether it be exploring and hiking, or on building sites, a leather wallet will soon meet its demise. Fortunately, heavy duty specialist brand Carhartt has this canvas wallet. Made from a tough and rugged Cordura nylon, this tri-fold design has plenty of space for cards, notes and coins, and remains surprisingly minimalist whilst doing so.
Tanner Goods realise the importance of ageing fabrics, and how no leather product looks the same over time. They produce belts, bags and wallets handmade in the USA, such as this Utility bi-fold, made from tooling leather. Its slim and simple silhouette doesn’t add any unnecessary bulk to your garments, and the fact it features four card slots and two hidden pockets make it an ideal everyday choice.
British clothier of punk, alt-rock and premium style fashion AllSaints knows a thing or two about leather and how to make something effortlessly cool out of it. It's certainly true of their wallet collection, which includes bi-folds an card holders, such as this incredibly minimal leather card holder with space for five cards or more, metal logo plaque and an internal slot for notes.
Not many brands know how to kit you out for outdoor exploring like Filson. The American company has been around sicne 1897 and has consistently strived to provide all manner of unfailing products that allow you to not sweat the small stuff and get on with your adventures. This simple wallet, for example, is made from a heavy duty fabric that is water-resistant, protecting your notes inside. A limited number of card slots forces you to only take the bare essentials, handy for long trips.
Founded in 2012, Harber London (which, naturally, hails from London) is a purveyor of extremely high quality leather goods, ticking off high-volume categories such as laptop sleeves, Dopp kits, backpacks and of course, wallets. Whether you're after a travel wallet for your passport, a coin purse for change or a cardholder, Harber London has you covered.
This leather card wallet comes complete with RFID protection to keep prevent scammers scanning your pockets and stealing your money, along with enough space for 12 cards. Some of those cards can be hidden away and accessed via a convenient pull tab (if you don't keep cards here, we imagine there will be ample room for some folded notes), and there's even a built-in magnetic closure to keep everything kept inside. Handmade in Spain from full grain vegetable tanned leather, and available in a range of colours, it's a suitably luxurious way to store your cards.
American Giant hails from San Francisco, so naturally has style running through its veins. Better still, the brand makes everything in the US, so you can be assured you're not getting something made to a budget.
The Horween Leather Card Wallet is made in Florida from leather sourced from the Horween Leather co, also an American brand. With enough space for the essential cards and a bit of cash in a slim silhouette, it's the premium upgrade your back pocket needs.
Commes Des Garçons
You would never expect a clothing collection from Comme Des Garçons to arrive without offering something unique and different – and the same can be said about their accessories. The wallets in their ‘Mirror Inside’ series are made with slick cowhide exteriors and a contracting silver internal pouch with debossed logo. They also feature zip closures for those who carry coins or small valuables when on the move.
The great thing about Aurelian is they offer luxury standard products at a more affordable price point, by doing away with mark-ups and just selling their collections for what they are worth, including a wide range of wallets. Their Billfold creation is made from beautiful Italian calfskin leather, which is impressive when you consider the price. There’s also an impressive 11 card slots, meaning you never have to leave the house without a membership card again, along with a central section for notes.
Many may associate Allen Street with downtown Manhattan, and you’d be right, but it’s also the name of a marque d’excellence when it comes to accessories. Their designs are colourful and modern, and playful without forgetting practicality. Take this Balck Broome wallet for example. It’s handcrafted in France from Italian tanned leather and is wonderfully sleek in its finish. It also has six card slots and an internal pocket for notes.
Founded in 2014 by Michael Saiger, Miansai specialises in jewellery made from high-quality leathers and metals. Their wallets are expertly manufactured using genuine Italian leather that gets better with age, offering a bit of stylish class every time they’re opened in public. This Modern Bifold has a textured finish, features six card slots and is available with a personalised monogram.
Founded by Porsche 911 designer Ferdinand Alexander in 1972, Porsche Design instils the same design philosophy that goes into its sports cars: optimise function.
This Carbon CardHolder SH6 does just that, integrating carbon fibre into its fabric (to mimic Porsche car seats) and offering up six card slots, it could be the most affordable way to own a piece of a Porsche.
For well over 100 years London leatherworkers Smythson have been mastering the art of creating timeless leather accessories. They use anything from cowhide to alligator skin in creating their pieces and have a price point for mid to higher-end budgets. This Mara Card holder is made in Italy from embossed calf leather and features an open top with five card pockets.
If you prefer a little more colour to your leathers then Acne Studios’ range of wallets certainly offer a bit of glow. Although the designs themselves are quite minimalist, the colourways are bold and striking, such as with this Card Holder Flap Wallet. It’s made entirely from premium Italian leather, features silver foil branding, and is a micro-version of everything that Acne is about.
Overnight luggage initially propelled Troubadour into the public eye, with their wonderfully crafted leather bags winning style-conscious men over quickly. They have now gathered all their accumulated knowledge and started to branch out into other avenues, such as wallets with this wonderfully crafted Card bi-fold. It’s perfect for when you just want to get around light, without the need to keep digging into your briefcase to pay for cab rides and train journeys. It’s also made from 100% calf leather and has a Troubadour logo debossed into the interior card slots.
WANT Les Essentials
Luxury travel accessories have never looked so good! WANT Les Essentials was created back in 2006, becoming renowned for their faultless designs, including some real standout wallets. Their Adano cardholder is perfect for those who require fast access to cards that are stored in luggage, carry-ons or overnight bags. It also features a zipped coin pouch with nylon liner, and at 13cm wide, it’s large enough for all your main globetrotting valuables.
From wallets and billfolds to credit card holders and money clips, Paul Smith knows a thing or two about how to stash your cash with style. But if you’re looking for something that sums up the English designers brand in one piece, it’s this Signature Money Clip Wallet. It’s made in Italy with a calf leather exterior, with an interior carrying the signature multicoloured stripes that Smith’s shirts are synonymous with, and features a classy brass money clip.
It is very much the fine attention to detail that separates Montblanc’s creations from that of other major designers. The fact that they have led the way in luxury accessories since the 1920s says a lot about their approach and the materials they use. Take this Meisterstuck Sfumato for example. It’s made with soft, full-grain calfskin that is chrome tanned, washed and then hand-painted. A real statement wallet for those who admire high-quality craftsmanship.
We’re big believers in doing things properly here at DMARGE, and doing things properly is what Saint Laurent specialise in. Their collections are always made to the highest spec with no stone left unturned. They have a stellar range of classic looking wallets for the modern gent, adorned with the iconic YSL logo or the more modern Saint Laurent version. They use a wide range of leathers from alligator to calfskin, all put together with a certain touch of French elegance few other brands come close to.
When you see the Gucci logo adorned on any item you instantly think quality. They source only the best fabrics for their collections and sit right up there with some of the best luxury brands in the world. Their accessories are highly sought after, such as this GG Marmont Leather bi-fold, made from premium Italian calfskin leather. It features four card slots, a bill holder and an exterior logo moulded from brass.