Style Advice / May 25th, 2015

Buying a Wallet | A Guide for Men

When buying a wallet, one of the two following outcomes usually takes place.

Tell me if I’m right.

  • Outcome 1 – Your current wallet is in shambles. You happen to be in a store of some kind that sells luxury goods and you either get nudged by your lady or you having an inner desire for an upgrade. You see one that tickles your fancy and buy it without much thought of quality.
  • Outcome 2 – You know you need a wallet and invest some time researching for one online. You base your search on what you know and are highly influenced by top fashion brands and what’s in trend at the moment. You buy a wallet and are satisfied.

Which approach sounds like you?

While there isn’t a wrong answer, both of them wouldn’t be considered right in my opinion, and here’s why.

Above all else – The decision to buy a wallet for men should be based on quality.

A great deal should go into the decision to purchase a wallet. Besides, you’re going to be carrying it around everyday. You might as well get something that is both durable and luxurious if you can afford it.

So the first thing you will want to determine is….

Wallet Materials

Not all wallets are made with leather (But the best ones are).

When you’re planning to buy a wallet take a few moments to read the descriptions below and see which one best fits your needs.

Leather Wallets

By far the most common material to use for wallets is leather. While this is pretty obvious, there are many different types to choose from. Here are the best two to consider for your next wallet purchase:

  • Cow Leather – The most frequently used for men’s wallets. Cow leather is a good fit as it’s both durable and great looking. The one downside to cow’s leather is the grade can vary widely and does not always feel sleek to the touch. A soft leather such as calfskin provides a much more luxurious feel and should be considered over others.
  • Alligator Skin – A quick look at its distinct pattern is usually all it takes to identify a wallet made from alligator skin. There is no doubt the quality and craftsmanship of a handmade wallet made from alligator skin. If you decide you want to buy a wallet with alligator skin, please take caution of the many fake versions available in the market.

Cotton Wallets

You may have noticed the increase in fabric constructed wallets from high end fashion designers such as Gucci and Prada. What are your thought’s on these?

I originally didn’t like the look of them at all but after some research have grown to really like them in terms of appearance and functionality.

The ability to add all sorts of colors is a great way to show off your personal style while coordinating with pretty much any outfit you own.

Cotton is not going to be as durable as leather wallets and find that it wears down when pulling in and out of tight denim pockets. I wouldn’t let this hinder you decision too much as you shouldn’t be wearing super tight jeans anyways! 🙂

Synthetic Wallets

I find synthetic wallets really interesting.

They can mimic the look of either leather or cotton but be made from completely random materials. Would you ever guess that a wallet be made from seat belts and old tires? Some of them actually are!

If you are considering purchasing a synthetic wallet, .purchase one strictly for casual environments. They currently don’t hold a candle to leather or cotton.

Types of Men’s Wallets


The traditional and basic wallet for men. The billfold wallet comes in two standard varieties.

  • Bi-fold – One fold consisting of two equal sides to insert your essentials.
  • Tri-fold – Two folds containing 2 sides overlapping a central part with inserts to include your cards and other necessities.

I would buy a billfold wallet over all others and you should also. The billfold should be your main wallet as it’s acceptable in any environment you can find yourself in.

A timeless wallet type if there ever was one.

Slim Wallets

A very popular wallet type over the last 3 or 4 years. I do like the slim wallet for one particular reason.

When wearing slim fitted outfits, it eliminates any bulk traditional wallets sometimes cause. Nothing looks worse then wearing perfectly tailored pants with a huge bulge in your rear end or side pocket. Talk about embarrassing!

One thing I don’t like much about slim wallets is its lack of functionality. You can only carry 3 to 4 cards at most. A great option for a night out, not so much for a day-to-day accessory.

Passport / Travel Wallets

These occasional use wallets are great to keep all important documentation and necessities in a conveniently compact item.

Passport wallets are understandably a little larger than traditional varieties to accommodate documents needed for your travels but still better than having a bunch of lose paperwork scattered in your bag.

As additional security, most travel wallets come with a clip to discourage would be thieves trying to make a pass at your goods. A real plus in my opinion.

In a nutshell, consider purchasing a travel wallet for those occasions where they are necessary.

Long Wallets

The main benefit of a long wallet is its ability to hold bills flat without having to fold them.

This type of wallet is not meant to be held within your pants pockets and best put into your briefcase. Some people suggest putting a long wallet in the back pocket of your pants but I find this to be both insecure and less than flattering.

Given its impracticality, I wouldn’t recommend this type of wallet for purchase.

Final Tips When Buying a Wallet

So you made it this far, great job.

With some additional research, you should have a good understanding on what type of wallet you want. Great stuff.

However, there is a few more things to consider.

These final tips will ensure you truly have a timeless wallet that looks super stylish.

  • Your wallet should be free of any zippers whatsoever. Zippered leather goods are for women and children’s accessories only. Loose change should be stored at home and carried in your pockets when necessary.
  • If purchasing a letter wallet, you would do best with either one in black or brown. Both are classic, luxurious colors that are versatile in many environments.
  • Please purchase a wallet with minimal patterns or branded logos. Your wallet is an extension of yourself, not an advertisement. Simplicity is what elegance is all about.
  • Take some time to look into the construction of the wallet as well. Always go for a Turned Edge constructed wallet, which is when the edge of the leather is thinned and turned prior to being stitched in place. Turned Edge constructed wallets are a little more expensive but can last for many years.
  • A quality wallet should have creases from a hot iron for Turned Edge constructed wallets. This is visible on the wallets credit card slots. I personally like creasing for the attention-to-detail added by the craftsmen. It’s the little things that truly show a quality piece.

In conclusion – doing your researching and making smart purchasing decisions will guarantee a wallet you will enjoy for many years.

Never neglect accessories from your overall style and you’ll be well on your way to being the complete affluent gent.