You are on your first date with a lovely young lady, and the drinks and food have been flowing long into the night. The girl was attracted by your honest approach and surprisingly accurate cultural knowledge of her fashion and interests. She fell into the role of following your benevolent leadership and Dad frame, and now is looking expectantly towards as the bill comes. You have decided that today, given she is mid-twenties, but works and lives at home, she can afford to contribute to the bill. Still, you will pay more than half. The bill comes to 5,000yen, and you ask if she has 2k. You both pull out your wallets, and while she whips out a pink Michael Kors, you bust out one of these:
It.. uh.. was a present?
Her eyes sink the slightest bit, but you catch it since you’re a sharp observer of the human condition. Despite the fun she’s having, she was disappointed (and with good reason) that you are still lugging around a velcro kids’ wallet. Let’s face it, nobody over the age of 20 should have a wallet like this, and most 19 year olds would get funny looks as well. Like it or not, a wallet is where your money and cards go, and therefore, an extension of your financial manliness.
Ok, so chicks look at wallets. How do we find a good ones?
Not all leather is equal
There are a four basic grades of leather:
Full-grain leather is made from the outermost layer of leather. It contains the most vertically-oriented fibers, meaning, it is very durable and gets more beautiful as it ages. Very few leather products are made fully from full-grade leather. Full grain products often have imperfections – such as part of the brand – in the hide since they can’t easily be sanded or dyed away as with lower leather grades.
Top-grain leather is the middle grade of leather, and the most common for middle range designer purses and accessories (like wallets). The top layer is shaved off (and used for a full-grain product), then imperfections are sanded away and the remainder is stamped with a fake grain. It ends up having a slightly plastic feel to it, and will wear more than a full-grain leather product.
Genuine Leather is the third grade, and it is what is left after the first two grades are shaved off. Suede is made from this quality of leather. In accessories, it is usually covered in a spray-painted plastic finish.
Anything lower than genuine leather should definitely be avoided – things like bonded leather and other low-quality leathers. If you can, go with full-grain leather as it will last you a long time and look great.
Next, we move to build.
Check for three areas: the corners, the edges, and the stitching.
The corners should have pleated edges, which means the volume of the leather was gradually reduced and turned inwards to make a nice rounded corner. If there is a sharp cut or right angle corner, it was done quickly / cheaply.
Edges are either rolled in (high quality) or simply coated with a dark resin (lower quality). You can easily tell simply by looking at the edges of the leather. In this image we have an example of rolled in edges and nice, even stitching.
Stitching should of course be even, and not too far from the edge, lest the whole wallet fall apart.
I personally like long, black leather wallets. They keep your bills crisp, clean, and straight, and look sleek and professional when you pull them out. Plus, you can do the J-dude peeking-out-the-back-pocket thing with them.
When you get a nice wallet, there are a few things you should do to keep it nice.
-Avoid sitting on it all the time. Seems pretty obvious, but the wallet will lose its shape or look like a bunch of coins on one side. I take my long wallet out of my pocket every time I sit down.
-Don’t carry too much change. The coins can make the wallet bulky and lose shape in an awkward way.
-Don’t abuse the wallet. Duh. Be nice to it.