Of all the accessories in your sartorial repertoire, your wallet is probably the one that sees the most use. It goes where you go and bears witness to everything from your proudest purchases to your most shameful spending moments (you may forget that tray of Krispy Kremes but your wallet won’t).
For something that we rely so heavily on, every day, it’s shocking how little pride many people take in their wallet. Far from being a sleek, classy number, which sits subtly in the pocket without spoiling the line of your selvedge denim, more often than not it’s a tattered, bulging behemoth, force-fed six months’ worth of receipts, train tickets from journeys you don’t remember making and loyalty cards for coffee shops you never visit.
A good wallet or card holder on the other hand, can quietly advertise your personality or status – and not by the bank notes or platinum card poking out from it.
“Style is not just about your clothes, but your accessories too, and if you have a bulging wallet that distorts the lines of your clothes, it’s never a good look,” says Sarah Gilfillan, stylist and founder of men’s personal styling service SartoriaLab.
“When choosing a new wallet, take time to make sure it has the right amount of pockets, including card, note and coin space. You could split the load and have a cardholder and a wallet so you can carry them in separate pockets.”
It’s important to be smart with what you choose to carry your money in and, contrary to popular belief, if you shop with your wits about you, you might even have something left over to put in it.
The Best Brands For Men’s Wallets
Alfred Dunhill was a leather apprentice for 15 years before he took over his father’s business and turned it into one of London’s premiere destinations for high-end menswear. That expertise endures more than 100 years later in wallets handmade from calf leather and treated to protect against abrasions and water damage.
For old-school gentlemanly style, look out for the brand’s signature Cadogan range, with elegant textured leather finishes on variety of wallets and cardholders.
You can always rely on good old ASOS to come through with the ultimate bang for your hard-earned buck. While many people will tell you that a solid leather wallet doesn’t come cheap, the sprawling online retail force puts those naysayers firmly in their place.
With real leather designs, classic styling and unbeatable value for money, it’s almost impossible to go wrong here.
Sitting proudly at the high-end of the high street, you’ll find some of the finest wallets for under £100 behind the doors of Reiss. They won’t break the bank, but they don’t scrimp on quality either, so you can find a well-finished wallet and still have some crispy notes left over to stock it with.
Expect sleek, fuss-free designs in premium materials and subtle, sophisticated detailing as standard.
The much-loved German brand does a fine line in luxury accessories, with its wallets available in sizes and formats to suit every type of businessman. Look for the brand’s use of palmellato leather, a high-quality leather that holds its shape and structure and is resistant to scratches and day-to-day damage.
Fans of Ted Baker will be pleased to know that the brand’s knack for taking classic menswear and giving it an eye-catching twist extends to its comprehensive range of wallets. Available in a range of finishes or with subtle pops of contrast colour, Ted Baker is an excellent choice if you want something that stands out from the sea of sober wallets and cardholders in black or brown.
It’s no secret that Mulberry holds something of a god-like status in the world of women’s handbags. But why should the girls get to have all the fun? The luxury leather goods manufacturer also makes excellent weekend bags and rather appealing wallets. Although admittedly, they are at the upper end of most budgets.
Still, take the plunge and you’ll be rewarded with unrivalled quality, stunning attention to detail and a wallet your money will be proud to call home… if there’s any of it left.
Imagine clothes and accessories so good that the guy who made them got a knighthood. Well, that’s exactly what you get when you buy from Paul Smith. The heroic British fashion designer has been putting his own playful stamp on menswear for decades and there’s plenty of that signature personality in his wallets and cardholders too.
Expect topshelf materials and trademark touches such as stripe detailing and contrasting leathers.
Herschel – the king of everyday backpacks. Not a bad title really, albeit one we just made up. However, not content with having dominated the world of casual luggage, the brand is now pumping out some rather slick looking wallets too.
If you thought canvas designs were just for kids to put their pocket money in, think again. Herschel eschews traditional leather but keeps things mature with gold detailing and tasteful branding throughout its range.
Marks & Spencer
Synonymous with fuss-free British styling, Marks & Spencer has long been one of the most reliable names on the UK high street. You won’t find any fashion-forward, trendy nonsense, but what you will find is quality assurance and timelessness at a price point that will leave a smile on your face and a few quid in your pocket.
For simplicity, durability and longevity, you need look no further.
If you’re looking for the best of the best, you’d struggle to do better than Smythson. The Bond Street-based label has been carving a niche for itself as one of the finest manufacturers of high-end diaries, stationery and leather good since the 1800s.
With features such as printed leathers, embossed gold branding and fine Italian craftsmanship, Smythson is a great choice for high-impact gifting, or just a truly luxurious way of carrying your cash.
You can’t think of that classic American preppy look without thinking of Ralph Lauren, and for the brand’s cardholders and wallets, it’s no different. Oozing with effortless cool, RL’s leather goods are simple and stylish in equal parts.
Clean designs and quality materials are the driving force here, but details like embossed logos and colourful trims help to keep things bright and interesting.
When it comes to simple, understated cool, there is no other brand quite like A.P.C.. The Parisian purveyor of all things chic has made uncomplicated designs and minimal branding its calling card.
When it comes to wallets, you can expect plenty more of the same unintrusive styling the label has become known for. Rendered in rich, premium leathers and suedes, with barely noticeable detailing such as tiny embossed A.P.C. logos, you won’t get much more classy than this.
For real leather styles so cheap they’ll make you say “surely that can’t actually be real leather”, high-street mainstay River Island has got your back.
The retailer has made a name for itself as one of the best spots to stock up your wardrobe without breaking the bank and its cardholders are a perfect example of what it does best, with a mix of classic styles and more colourful options.
Stylish, contemporary leather goods for less than the price of two pints? You really can’t complain.
Detroit-based watchmaker and leather goods manufacturer Shinola prides itself on bringing manufacturing jobs back to motor city. Making high-end, handmade products, the US brand is a great choice if you’re looking to spend a little more on keeping you cash and cards in a safe place.
Designs are tastefully styled and crafted from the finest American leather, which will gain character and take on a unique sheen with daily use.
If you’ve got cash to flash, then you might as well flash it in a sumptuous leather wallet from one of the best in the business. Bottega Veneta, established 50 years ago in Venice, does luxury leather goods like few others, and brand’s signature weaved intrecciato leather is a tell-tale sign for those in the know.
The company does a range of billfold wallets and cardholders in a number of styles, so you can select the type that works for you. To be honest, at this price, that’s probably just £50 notes.
Aspinal Of London
With products that are hand-dyed, cut and stitched, Aspinal’s reputation for exceptional leather wallets is well-founded. Crafted individually at the brand’s workshop, expect to find classic designs that are built to last.
Select from practically any style you can think of: billfolds, trifolds, coin wallets, breast wallets, cardholders and more. You can also choose from three different types of leather, and have it personalised with your initials.
If you’d thought of British heritage outerwear label Barbour 10 years ago your mind would’ve no doubt started racing with images of red-faced old men, ambling through the misty English countryside, with shotguns slung over their shoulders. However, today the brand has a very different image and due in no small part to a string of celebrity fans and exciting brand collabs, Barbour is very much en vogue again. And rightly so.
The iconic olive wax cotton and quilted jackets are no doubt the brand’s calling cards and its cardholders and wallets manage to utilise this without looking like the only place you’d spend your money is a farm shop.
J.Crew is a brand that perfectly encapsulates everything we love about that stylish, preppy, Ivy League look. The focus is, and always has been, on creating staple items, free from the influence of fleeting trends and with a sparse approach to branding.
In terms of wallets, things are no different. J.Crew offers a variety of simple, stylish cardholders in soft leathers, featuring subtle gold branding and slim enough to go unnoticed, even in a chest pocket.
Topman, the glorious high-street saviour that combines quality and affordability to seamless effect, is the place to go when you need a fresh new wallet but don’t have much change to store in it.
The retailer boasts a truly dizzying array of products, which makes their traits tricky to summarise in just a few words. Just rest safe in the knowledge that you’ll be getting unrivalled value for money, great quality and up to the minute trend-led designs.
For a brand at the peak of the luxury market, Berluti’s wallets don’t rely on flashy branding to catch the eye. The hallmark is something far more understated: the signature burnished patina on the leather, which looks aged and beautiful from the day you buy it.
You can pick up a range of styles, sizes and colours, all hand-polished in Italy from some of the world’s very best tanneries. What else would you expect from a brand that has been making fine accessories for more than a century?