BENJAMIN CHAIT ’16
Simplicity is the ultimate form of decadence when it comes to everyday style. Less is absolutely more—at least in the 21st century. These days, people are very busy, and to waste time or energy with lots of excess material is most certainty outdated. For instance, it is much more glamorous to travel freely with one large carry-on bag, rather than having to worry about keeping track of four, five, or six bags. It is much cooler to have a smaller wardrobe of greatly loved worn-in pieces than it is to have a closet full of trendy clothes that are overpriced and only worn one or two times.
There are many ways to approach style, but the best way is with ease. Fashion should always come secondary to personality and intelligence. However, clothing and accessories can be both an extension and an expression of one’s self. This is best demonstrated with wallets. What goes in a wallet is personal: driver’s licenses, insurance cards, business cards, credit cards, social security numbers, small photos, and perhaps even a small worn down love letter you like having on you at all times. The wallet that holds your precious information should be just as personal on the outside as the contents that it holds within.
When it comes to wallets, the smaller and simpler the better. Minimize what you carry around with you because no one needs a bulging wallet full of old receipts and obligatorily-taken business cards that can barley fit into a back pocket of a pair of jeans. In my opinion, cardholders are more stylish and more practically than traditional bi-fold wallets. Smathers and Branson has a great selection. Their needlepoint wallets come in a varied selection of styles and patterns, symbols of sports teams, and even favorite drinks. If needlepoint isn’t your thing, having a cardholder with your favorite image is a great way to make your wallet more personal. For example Jamie Pielock’s ’15 love of fly-fishing is reflected right on the front of his wallet.
There is however almost no better than place for a monogram than on a wallet. It’s a subtle detail that really makes something feel like it’s your own. Personally, I have my wallet monogrammed. My mother bought me a green Goyard cardholder as a present last year. Goyard is a truly unique French luxury leather goods brand. Each of their pieces is hand painted and can only be bought in a few stores around the world.
Celebrities like Nicole Richie, Diane Sawyer, Diane Kruger, Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom, and Ashley Olsen favor this brand, as well as Trinity student Nicole Soviero ’14, Caroline Melly ’14, May Woollcott ’16, and Caroline Picerne ’15. After having my cardholder for about four months I realized that I wanted to get it monogrammed. I took it to Barney’s in New York and worked with the Goyard specialist for over an hour to pick the perfect colors and size for the monogram. Though it was a bit of a process, it was totally worth it. My wallet is light, functional, from a recognizable yet underground brand, and totally and uniquely my own.
Some people may not favor a bold statement or monogram on a wallet, but there is still room to play around. Ashley Stewart ’16 has a classic zip-up clutch wallet, which looks great in her purse or by itself. Instead of traditional leather, Stewart’s wallet is ostrich skin. The exotic textile instantly references 1950’s glamour and class while being as versatile and stylish as regular leather. Ostrich skin can also work for men too. Although it’s best to keep it to natural earth tones with Ostrich leather, other leathers look great when dyed.
Many men carry classic calfskin wallets in black or brown. But why not swap out the standard—dare I say boring—option for the same wallet in a royal blue or hunter green? Even those who like to be shy and subtle when it comes fashion should take a risk when it comes to wallets—after all they remain hidden in bags and pants for most of the day. When you pull out your wallet, what do you want it to say about you? I hope you don’t see yourself as dull and cluttered, but rather as easy, light, and fantastic.