What would it be like, I wondered, not to have the same wallet as all of my peers?
I bought my first Comme des Garçons wallet at Opening Ceremony in 2009, largely because I wanted to own something (anything!) from what I’d been told was “a very cool store.” At $100, the Half Zip was the only thing they sold that I could afford. The style I bought (which they don’t make anymore) was made from a textured, cream leather, with a two-sided zipper and no room for coins. It seemed almost impractical — like a pair of shoes you buy on sale, in the wrong size, and vow to “make work.”
But this wallet did work. It worked great. So much so that when a half-bottle of red wine, carried away from a BYOB dinner, spilled in my bag and soaked it, I immediately bought another: Black, embossed, slightly more adult.
These days, the wallet is at all the fancy boutiques — not just Opening Ceremony (where it’s sold, candylike, from its own rolling cart), but at Steven Alan, Bird, and Mohawk General — and has developed something of a following. And why not? It comes in a dizzying array of colors and patterns, holds your cards and just enough cash, and has that satisfying, gold-stamped logo that identifies it as luxurious, but still a little edgy.
Recently, though, my eyes have started to wander. There’s pleasure in being “in” on a trend, but also a feeling of blind devotion (they don’t call it a “cult following” for nothing). What would it be like, I wondered, not to have the same wallet as all of my peers?
For those who want to chart their own course in the world of wallets, here’s a list of options — all under $200 — I have my eye on.
My Current Wallet
Comme des Garçons Embossed Half Zip Wallet
Sleek enough to make you feel like a grown-up (for less than you’d expect to pay for a “grown-up wallet”), this embossed, zippered version has a slot for cards and space for a little cash. Break it in, and you’ll have room for change, movie stubs, and your Walgreens card, too.
Wallets I Have My Wandering Eye On
Il Bussetto Zippered Leather Wallet
Clean lines and butter-soft Italian leather make this an instant classic.
Diane von Furstenberg Small Gingham Textured-Leather Wallet
All the quirk of a CDG wallet — picnic-table gingham! Fun blue interior! — plus that gold-stamped logo, again. (And it’s available in blue, too.)
Baggu Square Wallet
Baggu has perfected stripped-down, functional leather goods, and this wallet is no exception.
The Common Knowledge Square Wallet
If you’re feeling fickle, this wallet’s “magic hologram material” shifts from orange to green.
Kenzo Python Kurved Square Purse
Perfect for one-upping CDG devotees. This Kenzo wallet has extra slots for your most-used cards. Plus, a pop of yellow that makes it easy to fish it out of a dark bag.
Postalco Double Case Gray Nest
Like an elevated piece of origami, this sturdy Japanese paper wallet is made from mulberry-tree bark, with a pattern that “looks like the carefully assembled interior of a bird’s nest.”
Comme des Garçons Small Fringe Leather Wallet
Can’t quite let go? We understand. This utterly impractical (white, fringed) iteration is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
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