Slim Wallets: How They Have Changed the Fashion Game
Men don’t have a lot of accessories that they can use to make a strong statement about their personality or style. But there are two foundational pieces that every man uses to his advantage: his watch and his wallet. And while the Rolex, Breguet, or Patek Philippe on your wrist is a public and bold statement of who you are, your wallet is a far more subtle statement. Pulled out after a successful business dinner or at the clubhouse before tee-off time, your wallet provides only an occasional, alluring glimpse into your confidence and attitude towards life, wealth, and status.
One thing is certain in today’s fashion culture: When it comes to men’s wallets, slim is in.
Gone are the days of a bulky, overloaded bifold wallet, frayed at the edges, and bursting at the seams. Gone (thankfully) are the days of the fabric wallet with its obvious and patently unsophisticated Velcro strap. Money clips are always cool and are a fixture in the wallet category but are becoming less functional as we move to a cashless society fueled by no-contact purchases completed with the tap of a card. As its name suggests, the clip is great for carrying cash but not as useful when it comes to carrying your Amex Black Card.
So, while slim, sleek, and elegant are in does not mean that your style options are limited in any way. There is still a wide range of styles and materials to choose from when considering slim wallets.
A Look at Slim Wallet Styles
The Classic Bifold is, well, classic and still the most popular style available. Bifold style wallets have a simple design that allows you the ease of access to cash or credit cards with the lift of a flap. Versatile and comfortable, it is the original slim wallet that can keep everything in order while still looking sophisticated. As a long-term bifold aficionado once remarked: I carried minimal wallets long before slim was cool.
The Almost-Classic Trifold sets itself apart from other slim wallets by the number of compartments available. Great for the man who carries more cards or cash than the average person, the trifold is wallet accessory that comes with risk. Plentiful compartments are temptations for overstuffing. Overstuff a trifold and you move quickly the chic look associated with slim wallets to fat wallet cliché.
The Hybrid Slim Wallet is the new kid on the block. These wallets are making a mark for one simple reason: a lower profile than the bi- or trifold styles, they set a new standard of how slim a wallet can be. Most have a metal, carbon fiber, or polycarbonate body (to hold credit cards) that is secured with a silicone band and a clip to hold cash. Super flat, these wallets might prove challenging to men who still want to carry more than just a few cards.
The Front Pocket Wallet is basically a money clip with pockets. Unlike other slim wallets, it comes with limited compartment space and a classic money clip feature for your cash. It keeps cash and cards neatly separated, which makes it a favorite of men who trend toward function over design.
The Checkbook Wallet (also known as the Breast Pocket Wallet) is an option within slim wallets that is particularly useful for two specific reasons. It is the perfect wallet for those special occasions when you want to look ultra-cool (James Bond makes removing various slim wallets from his inside breast pocket a true art form) or if you travel overseas often. Of all the slim wallets, this is the perfect one to hold your passport as well as different types (and sizes) of currency.
The Coin Wallet with Credit Card Slot might be technically classified with slim wallets, but is there really anything more to say about a wallet that defines itself primarily as a holder of coins?
Finally, there is the Cardholder Wallet, which was initially designed to carry business cards but can certainly pull double duty in the slim wallets category. Super slim and ideal for everyday use, this style is the dream slim wallet for minimalists everywhere.
Leather, especially in brown or black, has long dominated the wallet world and continues to have a place in the world of slim wallets. Susceptible to dirt, dust, and moisture, leather does demand some maintenance in order to keep its look, but it is still a viable option when upgrading your wallet style.
Leather tip: If you do opt for a leather slim wallet be sure to look for one made from full-grain leather and not for the more common designation of genuine leather. A full-grain leather slim wallet is not only the highest quality grade of leather available it is also the most durable and will develop a beautiful patina as it ages. And because it is the first layer that is sliced off a rawhide, it will show the cool imperfections (healed scars, wrinkles, insect bites) that gives your slim wallet a unique, artisanal look and feel.
Aluminum is a big trend in the slim wallets community for a couple of reasons. With the strength to thick ratio much higher than steel, aluminum can be processed to almost extreme thinness without losing its durability. It is also super lightweight and flexible, making it a favorite of designers of slim wallets looking to merge functionality with cutting-edge design concepts. Aluminum is also corrosion-resistant and easily recyclable. So, if you ever want to change out your slim wallet to another material you can do so in good conscience.
Mu-metal is a relatively new arrival on the slim wallets scene. Technically considered a high permeability alloy, it is a composition of nickel (usually around 80%), iron, copper, and chromium or molybdenum. Invented in the 1920s for use in submarine telegraph cables, it is not as strong or durable as aluminum but is great for protecting your credit cards or flash drives from magnetic fields that might scan information or damage data. A mu-metal slim wallet is also a great conversation starter during this dinner negotiation with high-tech clients.
Carbon Fiber is used in high-performance race cars, space shuttles, supersonic jets, and slim wallets. Considered the next super-material, it is made from thin, strong filaments of carbon that get twisted together like yarn, then woven into fabric and coated in clear or colored resin. Fiber carbon produces a super slim wallet that is strong, durable, chemical resistant, and highly tolerant of extreme temperatures. Available in a wide assortment of colors that never fade (they are part of the fabric itself), these carbon fiber slim wallets will truly last a lifetime.
Wanting to learn more about these types of wallets? Check out our article on A Trendy Minimalist Wallet That Can Fit All Your Essentials.