About a year and a half ago, I benched my old wallet and replaced it with a svelte new model crafted by artisans right here in the USA.
It was a decision that has made me spectacularly happy. It's the little things in life, obviously.
Back story: I was a card-case-and-moneyclip guy for years. Card case in back pocket, moneyclip in front. But eventually the card case fell apart. It matched the moneyclip (both were from Coach and were gifts from my Mom), so rather than getting a new one, I decided to go with a more durable type of material and an old-school design.
I had a Quicksilver surfer wallet in a drawer: billfold style with card slots, two sleeves for currency, and a see-thru ID window. Made of plastic with a cool graphic on the outside. I gave it a shot, vowing I'd never let it get bulked up to Costanza dimensions. But I failed, although that failure was offset by numerous nice comments about the wallet from random strangers. Nice work, Quicksilver designers!
Then Dennis Green, our lifestyle reporter at Business Insider, gave me leather card case made by Corter, a leather company based in New England (they'd sent Dennis the wallet to try out, and it's actually a good deal at $52). I decided to give it a whirl, reducing what I carry to exactly what would fit in the thing. That would be my driver's license, a debit card, a credit card, an ID passes to get into BI's offices, and about $20 cash.
I was delighted by the results and still am.
Mind you, when I went the card case route before, I knew that it was more comfortable to carry than a traditional billfold. But that was back in the days before iPhones. I wound up overstuffing it. And yes, I know this new "wallet" is a card case. I'm generalizing a bit here — the point being that thinner is always better.
Anyway, the Corter card case has 100% never been overstuffed. It's also taken on an incredible, deep patina — light brown has become almost black. The rough-hewn topstitching may not be for everyone, but the case looks good and is suitable for for all but very dressy or formal occasions. The subdued dimensions are what matter.
I feel that you can't go wrong in your life if you lighten your load. You don't need 12 pairs of shoes. Two pairs of jeans is enough. You can get by with one watch (or no watch, although that's not something I would do). I have essentially one tie and no suit (I have two, but I almost never wear them). One pair of sunglasses in just fine (two is also OK). There's a lot to be said for lightweighting a life. You rediscover speed and freedom. Everyone has burdens. Your wallet shouldn't be one of them, gentlemen!
Now when I take out my wallet, I am reminded of a successful shift to discipline. OK, sure, I don't have my US Chess Federation membership card handy. at all times, just in case a wandering grandmaster demands my credentials. I have no place to stash receipts. I can't carry stamps around anymore. It's hard to keep a hundred in cash on hand.
But the discipline I describe is that of thinking ahead. If I need any of those things, I can get them. But I'm not going to pack them at all times.
I highly recommend doing what I did. Not exactly life-changing. But you will feel better. And you won't be sitting on a big old uncomfortable wallet anymore! Your lower back will thank you.
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