And for those men not ready to embrace the man bag just yet? The wallet remains an essential purchase – one that has to match up to a list of very specific needs. From the exact number of spaces for credit cards to the size of a change purse or the correct dimensions to fit snugly into a top pocket … the combination of demands are endless.
“I have yet to meet two men who agree on the perfect wallet,” says Anya Hindmarch, who has responded to demand with a bespoke wallet service dedicated to matching any man’s wish list, however ambitious. “Made-to-measure means we can size the pockets to perfectly to suit what customers need,” she says. Popular requests include everything from compartments for spare keys to pockets for guitar picks.
Hindmarch’s Bond Street store now has a whole floor devoted to the bespoke concept. In an old-fashioned workshop on the second floor craftsmen conjure up drawings and then a leather prototype based on the customer’s preferences.
“The made-to-measure service takes a minimum of three months but can take longer if the customer wishes to use their leather “toile” sample for a while before making amendments to make sure it works perfectly for them,” says Hindmarch. “We have requests for exotic skins,” she says, “and we even made a wallet out of a very strange part of a crocodile.”
But it’s not all about function. “Most of our made-to-measure wallets have secret messages written inside them,” she adds. “These items have ‘stories’ and can become heirlooms.” Prices start from £950 for a made-to-measure calf skin wallet.
Not prepared to wait three months? Some style insiders claim to have found perfection off the peg.
“My perfect wallet is one that is as slim as possible,” says Mr Hare founder Marc Hare, who favours Isaac Reina wallets (from £92). “I don’t like carrying change, I just like cards and paper cash,” he says. “My wallet needs to be super simple. That doesn’t mean it can’t still be luxurious.”
Patrick Grant, director of Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons, owns a classic bifold from Spanish label Loewe. “The men we sell to like simplicity, beautiful leather and really fine workmanship: beautiful turned corners, perfect-edge finishes and precise cutting. Loewe fits the bill.”
“The classic bifold is still the most popular wallet we sell,” says Jason Broderick, general merchandise manager of menswear at Harrods. “Brands such as Louis Vuitton [from £300], Bottega Veneta [from £240] and Prada [from £190] have seen a surge in demand. But for the more discerning customer the brand of choice is Berluti, with the finest finish in leather on the market (from £230).”
“I have a Santiago Gonzalez folding card holder [£225],” says Mr Porter’s Sam Kershaw. “It is brilliant as it’s slim enough to fit into any pocket. A wallet says a lot about its owner – it is an item that men tend to keep for years. So it should be seen as a real investment.”