Most wallets are much bigger than they need to be. By trying to give you equal access to every card, they’ve created huge bricks that can barely fit in your pocket. A big ugly bulge in your pocket looks terrible, pulls your back out of whack, and signals that your life is probably a little out of control (a good rule of thumb is if you have to remove it to sit down, it’s too big).
A good wallet prioritises a few main cards and gives you quick access to those. It then tucks the rest away in space-efficient storage for the few times a year you need them.
3 things to look for:
Flat or folded bills:
Folding bills lets you reduce their size to that of a credit card, so you can run with smaller wallets. Keeping bills flat is more convenient, but your wallet will be larger. You need to work out how often you use bills, and whether you can be bothered folding them to get a smaller wallet.
The right number of cards:
If you buy a wallet intended for 15 cards, it’s not going to work very well for 3 cards. You want to start with wallets that are designed for the number of cards you need to carry, so that you’re minimizing the excess air and leather you’ll be carrying around.
Thickness matters at least as much as size:
When in your pocket, it’s actually the thickness of your wallet that makes it stick out like a brick. You want to find a wallet that will remain reasonably slim and therefore discreet when filled with all your cards.
3 things to avoid:
Excessive air and card slots:
Every time you separate cards in card slots you add a layer of air and a layer of leather to your wallet volume. If you separate 15 cards in individual slots, you’re going to have a hamburger of a wallet.
Your wallet doesn’t typically get dragged across tarmac or dropped from a B-52, so you don’t need the thickest buffalo hides known to man. Good wallet makers select thinner leathers, so you can keep your pocket bulge as slim as possible.
Coins if you can:
If you have a fob pocket it’s a great spot for coins. As is a tip jar, your partner’s handbag, or your car. If you carry coins in your wallet you significantly increase the bulk, stretch the leather, and create stress concentrators that can break cards. If you must get a wallet with a coin section, cleanse your coins frequently to keep their count low.