Men's wallets hold some of the most personal, private and important items men own. They are also a popular gift item for holidays, birthdays and Father's Day. Although they may seem like simple functional accessories, they actually are quite diverse.
Common Styles of Men's Wallets
At first glance, wallets are a folded leather contraption to hold money and credit cards. In reality, they actually come in multiple styles. Each one is designed to service the different needs of the man who carries it.
A wallet that essentially folds directly in half, the bifold provides one bill length pocket for cash and additional small pockets for cards. As this design only folds once, it tends to be less bulky, but a little longer than some other types. Extra features found in some bi-folds include zipper pockets, photo holders, and snap closures.
- The Saint Laurent Grain Leather Bifold Wallet (around $350.00) from Saks Fifth Avenue has a sleek, streamlined design that will hold six cards. It's made of leather with a leather lining, and it comes with its own dust bag and authenticity card. It's only available in black.
- The Men's Bifold Wallet from Merona™ (under $20.00 at Target) is leather on the outside and polyester on the inside. It has room for several credit cards and business cards, a separate spot for your driver's license, and is available in black or brown.
- The Burberry Check Wallet (around $300.00 at Nordstrom) has a subtle navy and black pattern and room for six cards in addition to your cash. It's made from PVC and has a leather trim.
A longer narrow wallet, the coat wallet (sometimes called the executive wallet or breast pocket wallet) is designed to fit inside the pocket of a dress coat or overcoat. As it doesn't fold, your cash will lie flat, creating a thinner style. Due to the sleek design, this wallet usually only contains a money pocket with a few card pockets. Rarely do they include change or accessory pockets.
- The Cole Haan Wayland Breast Pocket Wallet (around $100.00) is available in British tan or black. It's made from textured pebble leather with blazer blue faille lining. This design will carry more than your average coat wallet, thanks to 14 card pockets, a coin pocket, and dual bill compartments.
- The Bosca Old Leather Collection Coat Pocket Wallet (just over $100.00 at Zappos) has an air of sophistication, in large part due to the smooth, sleek look of the leather. It's available in cognac, black, and dark brown. On the inside, you'll find a divided currency well, currency/receipt slots, and five card slots.
- The Fossil Ingram Executive Wallet (around $50.00) has plenty of room inside. It's available in black or brown leather with a cotton plaid interior. It features seven credit card slots, five slip pockets, and even a zip compartment for loose change.
Credit Card Cases
For the man who only carries the bare essentials amongst his business cards, this is the wallet to choose. It's a small, card-sized case with multiple pockets to store cards of all types. The thinnest type of men's wallet there is, many also include a money clip.
- Tumi Delta RFID Slim Card Case ID (around $60.00 at Luggage Pros) is a streamlined, full-grained napa leather option that's available in black. It has an ID window on one side and card slots on the other, with a center section for cash and receipts.
- The Gucci Signature Leather Card Case will set you back just under $200.00, and it's available in dark brown or black. It has five card slots and an opening along the top where you can put cash.
- The Jack Spade Grant Leather Credit Card Holder (under $60.00 at Macy's) goes beyond the traditional black and brown leather options; it's available in gray (and black). Instead of a center slot for cash, there's one on the outside. There are also two card slots, making this an option for the minimalist.
Combine a checkbook cover and wallet in one with a checkbook cover style men's wallet. This accessory is a specialty cover for your checkbook that includes additional pockets for cards, money, photos and more.
- The John Deere® Men's Leather Check Book Wallet is available in rugged black or brown pebble grain leather for around $20.00 at Fort Brands, and features a logo patch on the front.
- The Luxury Divas Light Brown Men's Long Checkbook Wallet is an inexpensive option at just under $20.00 (Shop.com). It's genuine leather and offers 12 credit card pockets, a currency pocket, plus a removable checkbook and picture windows.
For the man who loves to flash his cash, a money clip is for you. Plain and simple, money clip wallets contain that wad of cash with a strong clip. Some also provide one or two additional pockets for your license or credit cards.
- The Buffalo Nickel Money Clip Wallet is around $50.00 at Cufflinks.com, and it's available in brown or black. For visual interest, and as the name suggests, there's a buffalo nickel attached to the magnetic money clip. There are two card slots on the back, plus an inner pocket.
- The Tumi Alpha Money Clip Card Case from Bloomingdale's is around $60.00 and available in a gray-toned nylon/leather combination. In addition to the money clip, there are four card slots.
This style is similar to the bifold, except the wallet folds twice into thirds. This style tends to be bulkier, but more compact. Due to the extra fold, the wallet can be slightly longer when unfolded to include additional space for extra pockets or a change case.
- The Coach Trifold Wallet in Sport Calf Leather is about $150.00 and offers smooth, soft leather in black, mahogany, or saddle. It's designed to age well and be long-lasting. It features three rows of credit card slots where you can store cards and your ID, plus a full-length bill compartment. You can also order it with a monogram.
- For the sports enthusiast, there's the Rawlings Baseball Stitch Wallet, available at Nordstrom for about $50.00. It has red stitching along the outside to give the look of a baseball, though the leather here is tan. There's an ID window in the middle when it's open, card slots on either side of the ID window, slip pockets, and a currency pouch.
- The Dockers® Extra-Capacity Trifold Wallet runs about $30.00 at Kohl's and features nine card slots, two pockets, a currency pouch, and an ID window. It's a mix of leather, cotton, polyester, and manmade materials.
Choosing from Luxury, Standard, or Casual
Within each of these types of men's wallets, there are three main categories: luxury, standard, and casual. The luxury wallets are made from finer materials including top-of-the-line leathers and unusual animal skins such as lizard, ostrich and alligator. They tend to be dressier with a classic clean line. Casual wallets are formed from tougher materials with a more rustic image. A standard wallet includes everything in between.
Leather tends to be the most common material for most men's wallets, but you can also find denim, nylon, canvas, microfiber and even metal. Depending on the style, brand, and materials, wallets range in price from $10 to $70 for the most common and $50 to $400 for the designer brands.
Almost every manufacturer of men's accessories, women's handbags, or any other type of leather goods creates some version of a man's wallet. When you throw in the luggage companies and outdoor outfitters, the market is completely saturated with different brands to try.
Bosca has a little of everything when it comes to wallet styles (there's even one labeled "hipster," which is a slim bifold style meant to be worn in the breast pocket of your shirt or jacket, or the front or back pocket of your pants). The majority of wallets from this line are made from gorgeous leather in various shades of brown or black. Expect to pay somewhere between $75.00 and $120.00, depending on the style you're going for.
Gucci offers breathtakingly beautiful classic leather styles in subdued colors with gold-toned double G hardware, but they also have brighter colors and patterns to choose from, too. There's enough variety to include almost any wallet style you'd like, but expect to pay at least $300.00, and sometimes closer to $600.00 for this brand.
Coach is well-known for its leather accessories, and wallets for men are no exception. You can find a large range of styles and colors here, and yes, there's even one for the guy who loves dinosaurs. Expect to pay at least $100.00, and up to around $300.00 for some designs.
Johnston & Murphy
Johnston & Murphy is one place to consider when you want soft leather and sophistication without the price tag that comes along with some of the luxury brands. There are bifolds, trifolds, and money clip styles for under $100.00. The color range is usually the black and browns that are to be expected.
Fossil offers some styles that are less than $30.00, while others are in the $100.00 range. Most are leather, though they are more casual in style than some of the luxury brands' offerings. These styles are generally on the rugged side (but not all of them are), and you can find card cases, bifold wallets, executive wallets, and more within this line.
Tumi offers almost any wallet style you could dream of having, and they're not all the traditional leather. They also come in colors outside the black and brown norm, so if you want something different, this is a good brand to start with. Many of the styles offer built-in protection against identity theft. Prices range from less than $100.00 to around $300.00.
What to Look For
This is important both in the appearance and the functionality of the wallet. Small details can set a wallet apart, as their general appearance tends to be consistent. Look for one that fits your image and personality since a wallet will be with you almost everywhere you go.
Aspects to consider are:
- Consider whether you will you carry the wallet in your shirt pocket, back pocket, or in a briefcase or bag. This is how you will determine the appropriate size and shape for your needs.
- Ask yourself if you need additional accessories like a belt chain or specialized pockets.
- Factor in the thickness. How thick is too thick for you? This will probably depend on whether you be sitting on it for hours at a time, or if you'll be able to tuck it away somewhere at work.
- Evaluate what items you plan to carry in your wallet and how many card slots you'll need.
- Think about style. How do you want the wallet to look and feel? Consider whether you prefer rough or smooth leather, or another material altogether, and ask yourself what you like in terms of color.
- Price is also a consideration, but it is even more important to evaluate value. If a man tears through his wallet every year, it might be worthwhile to invest in a designer brand for longer life. If you tend to lose your wallet, you may not want to invest quite so much into it.
Selecting Your Best Style
Just as there's no "best" style of women's handbag, there's no best overall style of men's wallet, either. It depends on color preferences, whether you want to pay extra for a brand name (which could mean you're getting a higher quality wallet that will last longer, but may not always be the case), and what you need to carry with you. Some men may find certain styles too cumbersome, while others will like designs with more flaps and space. Before you shop online, try to go to a store to just get a feel for the different styles of wallets, then branch out to find the one that meets all your preferences and fits your budget.