Rarely does brand loyalty pay off. No matter how dedicated you are to a particular company, the honest truth is that they probably don’t care about you, except insofar as they can milk you for every hard-earned cent they can. Few industry names even pay lip services to really helping their customers, and the ones that do are often shouted down or drowned out in the sea of noise that surrounds us on a daily basis. But if there’s one area you should be cutting through the bedlam to find brands that produce and provide, it’s in your wallet.
There’s a thousand different kinds of wallets, from the bulky passport piece to the bare minimalist. Metal wallets, tactical wallets, and whatever else you prefer in your pocket can be had, but rather than looking at the pieces themselves, it’s often better to know the brand that stands behind them. Finding a quality wallet maker is nearly as good as finding a trustworthy mechanic, since you can go to them again and again for every different wallet need you have, trusting that they’ll stand by you, protect your identity, and carry your most precious cargo in style.
It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that the most recognizable name in purses is also among the finest wallet makers. Though the wallet offerings somewhat unimaginative, bearing basic black and blues without much variance, there’s a timeless allure like that of a tailored tuxedo. They just fit right.
The maker of the world’s finest pens and some equally remarkable timepieces isn’t widely known for their cash holsters, though Montblanc has been making them since the 1920’s. Fine leather, using buttery soft calfskin and lambskin, these are sharp and refined, showing modern sensibilities with classic utility.
Adored for tailored suits, Thom Browne is no less devoted to finding the perfect fit for every pocket with their wallet line. Typically made of pebbled leather for a grippable quality that keeps them in hand, and carrying the noteworthy red, white, and blue stripes on every item in the collection, there’s patriotic masculinity to spare here.
Bao Bao Issey Miyake
Cut for the contemporary man looking to make a statement, the items of Bao Bao Issey Miyake can be spotted from across a room as they bear sufficient geometric patterns to make Pythagoras take notice. Like a badge of honor, whenever you encounter another member of the Bao Bao club, you’re sure to make an instant friend who will respect your fine taste.
If punk rock were invented on the runways of Milan, rather than the underground clubs of Manchester and Chicago, then Valentino would have been the angel investor to create the Sex Pistols. Hardened studs set in supple leather is Valentino’s signature, with more than a few eye-catching – and sometimes eye-watering – color schemes.
Alligator or goatskin with gold accents are just a few of the choices Tom Ford serves up. Screaming masculinity in each curve, these pair well with fine bourbon or serious martini imbibing at your favorite speakeasy.
If there’s a single wallet maker who tries to do it all, and manages successfully, it’s Givenchy. The company’s line has a few minimalist options, though even those tend to err on the side of brashness. Then there’s the more truly is More school with zippers and markings and metal aplenty.
Too weird to live, too rare to die, Bottega wallets nearly all carry the signature intrecciato weave that made the brand famous. Rarely willing to make anything in a staid black, brown, or navy, what you’ll get here is a lot of European flair that veritably reeks of rock star opulence.
Indomitable and noteworthy as a set of horn-rimmed spectacles, Burberry is the true gentleman’s wallet, as it never overstates, never needs to boast, but quietly knows that it’s as necessary to finishing off a fine suit as a lapel pin.
Even when Maison Margiela makes a basic black wallet – which is none too often – the brand can’t help but throw in a unique slash pattern to the pockets or an unusual weave to the interior. Usually the designers are throwing every bit of sparkle and glamour they can find for anyone who likes extra attention while they make it rain.
A leather working company that began making horse tack, Hermes has forgotten more about making leather feel good and work well than most brands will ever know. Not content to rest on just their adroitness, they also use a varied palette so you’re never left with something too drab.
The cuts of leather and wallet designs are nothing that will set the world on fire, because those facets are intended to be reliable. The rest of the design of the Paul Smith lineup is tongue-in-cheek with a whimsical sense of bright fun covered in playful prints, for the man who refuses to take himself too seriously.
Dolce & Gabbana
Like a set of shoes shined up to a mirror finish, there’s a deadly seriousness to D&G that would look foolish on a lesser brand. As it is, their dapper showmanship is meant to inspire quiet awe rather than remarks of adulation. If Darth Vader required a wallet, this is what he would carry.
Encrust a wallet with gems, paint it all the colors of a sunset, and polish it until it glistens and you still won’t make it as unique as a Berluti. The secret is the Venezia leather, which provides that deep, rich look that can be found nowhere else.
Somehow this nearly unknown brand has been around for more than 150 years, and has earned the business of royalty and surreal genius alike. Picasso counted himself among the adherents to this company, who hand-makes wallets intended to look entirely customized and survive through thick and thin.
Whatever you may think of the brand, picking up a wallet by Dior Homme will make the most ignorant layperson admire the craftsmanship that goes into every stitch. Each is a master class in accessory engineering.
LV is as close to perfection as you’re likely to get, with a huge range of styles and an uncompromising vision of quality that deserves respect, even if it isn’t to your taste.
As with its shoes, there’s no shortage of shocking red to be had, and not an understated item anywhere to be found. The brand might be part of the nouveau riche, but as the saying goes “It’s the ‘riche’ that matters.”