A quality leather wallet is something that will stay with us for many years. It is considered a personal item, part of our identity, something we carry with us everywhere we go. It literally contains our personal identities and for many of us provides a small window into who we are. A tidy and well organised wallet suggesting someone who likes to plan and prepare, whilst a wallet stuffed full of cards and receipts, pointing to someone who prefers to take a more casual and care-free approach.
More often than not, we refuse to acknowledge when it is time to replace our wallets, persisting with a tired and battered old wallet until the comments and observations from friends and relatives eventually convince us it is time to part ways. It might even be due to the generosity of others that we finally say goodbye to the treasured possession that has been at our side for as long as we can remember. This might be a Christmas gift from a partner, family member or friend or perhaps a goodbye present from colleagues when moving on to pastures new; an obvious sign that others have also noticed your wallet’s slow demise. Whether you are buying as a gift or buying for yourself, making the right choice on what to replace it with is paramount.
So, when that time does come to eventually replace this treasured possession, it is important to know what to look for.
A Fresh Start
If you own a garage or a shed, then the chances are that at some point in time it will be full of junk. From time to time we roll up our sleeves, clear out those unwanted items and have a general tidy up. The same applies to a wallet. A new wallet is the perfect time to carry out some general housekeeping. A time to get rid of all those unwanted receipts and review whether you still need to carry around all those cards. The best way to approach this is to take them all out and lay them on a table. Perhaps some are expired and can be cut up and disposed of. Others may no longer be relevant. You may find that some cards are still required on an infrequent basis so ask yourself whether you still need to carry them around all the time.
Think about how you purchase goods and services
Our buying behaviours are changing. The pandemic has led to an increase in contactless methods of payment and as a result the use of cash as a payment method is declining. The Contactless payment limit was recently increased from £45 to £100 which means payment transaction times for even the larger shops will now take just a fraction of a second. Clearly cash is not going to disappear overnight. There remain a sizeable number of smaller retailers who insist on cash only. It also comes in useful when paying for things like car parking, making a charitable donation or when travelling around a foreign country where there might be a greater need to carry coins and notes because the payment infrastructure is different, and more retailers depend on cash. It is important therefore that you think about whether you are likely to need to carry cash and coins. If you are, then you will need a wallet with a coin pocket.
However, if like most people, you are accustomed to reaching for the plastic even for those smaller purchases nowadays, then a wallet or a minimalist wallet will be more appropriate. If you seek a larger wallet that provides additional space and more functionality then you will be looking at leather wallets more in tune with the traditional bifold wallets. If it is a minimalist wallet or card holder that you desire, then these are great as their compact nature allows for a more comfortable pocket and sleeker more attractive designs.
Choice of Leather
Leather is a flexible material popular in the production of many consumer goods these days, including wallets, and has been used by artisans for hundreds of years.
If you are looking for a wallet made from leather, then it is important to consider both where the leather comes from and how it was tanned. Tanning is the process that treats the animal hide to produce leather and a tannery is the place where this occurs. This is particularly relevant if you are hoping to invest in something that will last for a long time.
Leather is a natural material and can be sourced and processed a number of different ways. Chrome tanned leather makes up around 90% of the world’s leathers. The tanning process uses chemicals, salts and acids and typically takes only one day to complete. The end result is a leather that is cheaper, however the disadvantages are that it looks artificial, wears, and breaks easily. Most leather wallets and purses sold in common high street stores are made from chrome tanned leather.
Vegetable tanned leather goes through a natural plant based tanning process. Typically, this takes around 28 days and patience is certainly required. However, the wait is worth it. The leather is long lasting, has a natural look and develops a patina over time. There are environmental benefits associated with this approach too as unlike chrome tanned leather, vegetable tanned leather can be recycled. This type of leather also requires highly skilled craftspeople to make leather goods from it.
Whilst most of the material in a leather wallet is unsurprisingly leather, it is also important to consider the other materials which are used, for example, in the interior. At Rydal, the inside of our men’s leather wallets and card holders are all made from moire silk fabric whilst RFID blocking material is also sewn into the wallet. Equally the stitching, the very material that holds it all together, cannot be compromised. That is why we only use Gutermann cotton threads in all our products.
Style vs. Functionality
Whilst the style of a wallet is a principal factor in any decision, choosing the right wallet should go beyond simply deciding which looks the best. It is important to consider your daily life and what you wear normally. Your wallet should complement what you are wearing. The benefit of a leather wallet is that it matches well with everything, whether that be casual weekend attire or when you are suited and booted for work. The only choice really is what colour to go for.
The decision is ultimately down to you. Look at your current wallet and think about what you like and do not like about it. Are you looking to slim it down or do you want more space? If you want a quality men’s leather wallet, make sure you know where the leather comes from and importantly how it was tanned as that will give you an indication as to whether it will stand the test of time. Are you looking for something that will last 1-2 years or something that will be by your side a lot longer? If you seek quality, then opt for vegetable tanned leather. Remember the leather is important but there are also other materials that go into producing a leather wallet. Finally, style is important but there has to be a balance between style and functionality. All of these are important considerations.