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Wallets: reader question

16 January 2013
 
 

Dear Mr Simon,

Let me first say that I always admire your passion and insight into gentlemen’s garments. I am a fan of Permanent Style and I have been hooked on it for years.
 
I have one long-standing question: what kind of wallet should I carry with my suit? Which do you think is better – having a card case and bill case separately or a card-and-bill case combined? Of course, there are some alternatives like money clips. And then, which pocket to store it in?

I know that some tailors close suit pockets up for two reasons – to prevent wearers from putting items in and then to prevent the suit from being out of shape because of the first reason.

Because of that, one side of my brain is saying to me that I should buy a combined one to reduce my items to carry but the other side is saying that if I do so, it might be a lump and ruin my suit silhouette. I am sort of snookered. haha

These questions might sound rather trivial but I would be grateful if you could share your ideas about them with me.

I look forward to your reply.

Taku

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Hi Taku,

The key to carrying any kind of wallet is to keep it as slim as possible, so be very restrictive with what you carry you with you – the minimum number of cards, only the most recent receipts etc.

I find the best style is then a long wallet, sometimes called a coat or jacket wallet. It minimises the amount of overlap of your cards, so the wallet is as thin as possible (see picture above). If you restrict yourself to four or five cards, you can even just use every other slot.

The other side of the wallet carries your bills and receipts. I know people have to carry far more notes in other countries than in the UK (we get stuck with coins), but they shouldn’t thicken that other side too much.

Ideally, your wallet should still not be in your jacket pocket. It should be in a briefcase or whatever bag you carry with you. Certainly that’s where chunkier items like your keys should go, and you should avoid it altogether with lightweight suits.

But if it does have to go in your jacket, put it in the in-breast pocket and balance the other side with something – I have an iPhone 5, and that’s light and thin enough to work. (It wasn’t really excuse enough to upgrade from the iPhone 4, but then I like gadgets.) Keep your jacket done up too – that helps a lot with supporting the jacket and its contents.

It is also helpful if your tailor cuts the in-breast pocket slightly higher than in a normal, off-the-peg suit. It means that the wallet will slightly fill out your chest, rather than your chest and waist. Of all the tailors I’ve tried, only Anderson & Sheppard and those that trained at A&S do this as standard. Perhaps it’s having that bit of drape to play with.

I hope that’s helpful. The image at top is an Asprey coat wallet.

Simon