Watching trends develop is one of fashion and commerce’s great gifts. I allocate great conscious and subconscious attention to following people, their choices, what their clothes and accessories say about them. And, I pay attention to brands, merchandising, and curating decisions across the spectrum of price points. It’s all an interconnected game, an ebb and flow of money, style, and nebulous vibes.
The trendÂ recently in mens’ wallets: slim card cases. Nothing more than an Amex-shaped sleeve. This in contrast to the brick-sized billfold that marred the contoured seat of the pants for years…a target of jokes and associations with dad jeans and geriatric receipt overflow. And why not? Truly, no one needs more than a couple of items: ID, credit/debit, car insurance, maybe health insurance. Otherwise, you’re carrying unnecessary cards you probably use once a month or less.
I’m now on my second card case, a Rugby Ralph Lauren iteration made of black leather and black/silver/purple grosgrain fabric. I started out 8 or 9 years ago with a Louis Vuitton folded card case…different in shape from the conventional wallet but unfortunately similar in thickness. I, like most people, tend to overstuff my wallets if I have the opportunity.
Traded the LV a couple years back for a Gucci wallet, then a J.Crew wallet that fell apart, and finally a Mulberry wallet, promptly lost in Chicago. Then I made the skinny switch, to a yellow Tod’s grained leather card case, one of my favorite wallets to date. It’s still sitting on my desk looking pretty.
The range of card cases is vast, if only recently so. My Rugby case was $18 on sale. The Tod’s was $95 (now $125)…and the green Valextra on my wishlist is $240. Colors, materials, and quality vary too…there is something for any and all men looking to slim down. Here are a couple of my favorites…
Prada Saffiano Stripe Credit Card Case, $195, Neiman Marcus; simple, good colors, none too brazen. Leather is hard enough that it won’t bend out of shape easily.
Rugby Ralph Lauren Checkered Card Case, $35, Rugby; preppy and playful, good richness of color and a total steal. I don’t like much else from Rugby but it is by far my favorite of the RL stable of brands.
Tod’s Textured Leather Card Case, $125, Nordstrom; softer and more supple than the first two. It smells amazing, and feels worth every penny – but beware of color transfer from jeans and bending at the corners.
If you’re still carrying your precious plastic in a bulky piece, I suggest you consider a trendy upgrade. I use ShopStyle frequently online and on my phone to browse options. If you’re concerned about choosing what to purge, consider having two wallets – one for everyday with the essentials and one for trips to the doctor, pharmacy, and all your frequent flyer cards…