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Fashion

The 4 Types of Wallets Every Guy Should Know

Wallets are often overlooked, but there's a right wallet that fits everything you need while keeping the bulk down.

Fashion

The 4 Types of Wallets Every Guy Should Know

Wallets are often overlooked, but there's a right wallet that fits everything you need while keeping the bulk down.

In college, there was a piece of paper taped into the interior of the elevator. Printed on it, it read, “PKW: Phone, Keys, Wallet.” This was a quick way to remind the students of Assumption Hall (I went to a Catholic school, if the name doesn’t give it away) to never forget their most vital items.

Well, having had that hammered into my head for four semesters, I’ve never quite forgotten that damn phrase: PKW. But, the problem has been lately that the acronym is more like PKOWINTU: Phone, Keys, and Old Wallet I Need To Upgrade. Yes, I think my little leather card holder is on its last leg. Handsewn by Native artisans from handwoven wool, it cost me nearly $70. After a year of use, it’s tearing at the corners and has a permanent stain from my greasy fingers opening and closing it.

So, because of this, I’ve been on a bit of a hunt for finding the perfect wallet. Usually, this would be a pretty simple task, considering I carry just two credit cards and my ID on me. But the reality is that there’s so much variety when it comes to wallets and a lot of bad options out there. Who knew that an item I sit on for the majority of the day would stress me out more than the last expensive coat I bought?

This time around, I’m going with a bifold wallet in a more sturdy leather and I’m expecting it to last me a lifetime (or, at the very least, until I get bored with it). In the meantime, I’ve put together a guide of the various types of wallets, and a few suggestions of the best picks in the market today.

Bifold Wallets

A bifold wallet, at its most simple, is one that folds in half and has various pockets for cards and a larger center pocket for cash. These can be simple or intricate, depending what you’re looking for. The best are made with high-quality, durable leather. Just make sure you get one that has the right number of card slots for what you need, and remember that more cards equals more bulk to an otherwise slim wallet style.

Characteristics:
  • Folds in half with single middle seam
  • Multiple card slots
  • Compact, slim profile

Trifold Wallets

The trifold wallet is a bigger variation of the bifold design that, you guessed it, has three panels instead of two. This allows for increased storage capacity and organization of not just bills, but also receipts and other things that need keeping. In a world that increasingly leaves cash behind (even at national parks), not everyone needs that much space and bulk. Those who do, however, can still find classy options that perform without losing style.

Characteristics:
  • Three sections
  • Multiple card slots and pockets
  • Bulkier than bifold wallets

Money Clips

It doesn’t get much more slim than a money clip. It strips down everything about a wallet to the very basic: one piece of metal or leather that that securely folds over to hold a few essentials like a couple bills, an ID, and a handful of cards. Occasionally there’s a pocket or two in the bigger ones that function more like a bifold without the main cash pocket, but the cash is always secured and folded in the middle. The back-pocket wallet bulge is essentially nonexistent for the slimmest money clips. Modern options can include things like RFID blocking technology.

Characteristics:
  • Metal clip on leather or fabric sleeve
  • Compact design
  • Quick access to cash and cards

Card Holder

Whereas the money clip’s primary purpose is holding cash, the equally slimmed down card holder’s primary purpose is holding cards and maybe a very small number of bills. The slim and minimalist design is one of the biggest draws. As card and mobile payments increasingly become the norm, it’s the time for card holders to shine.

Characteristics:
  • Minimalist design and slim profile
  • Multiple card slots
  • Leather, metal, or carbon fiber
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