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.
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.
Clean lines and butter-soft Italian leather make this an instant classic.
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 has perfected stripped-down, functional leather goods, and this wallet is no exception.
If you’re feeling fickle, this wallet’s “magic hologram material” shifts from orange to green.
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.
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.”
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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