When It Comes to Father’s Day Wallets, It’s Time to Head ‘East-west’

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With Father’s Day around the corner, it may be time to give dad’s wallet an update.

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Chances are he’s been shoving the same old bifold in his back pocket for years. The square-shaped model, still the most dominant today, dates back to the 17th century when paper money took over as the leading method of financial transactions. But as the cashless economy grows and payments are increasingly made through mobile apps, the men’s small leather goods market could be headed “east-west.”

Handbags have certainly gone that direction. A glance at that market shows vertical styles are trending, with high- and low-price brands stretching their assortment to address the popular proportions.

The Fragments zip card case from Saint Laurent.
The Fragments zip card case from Saint Laurent.

Buy Now at mr. porter $450

While continental zip-around wallets have recently come back into fashion, they are generally geared toward women. An elongated zip-top card case is a gender-neutral alternative, though Dior, Berluti and Montblanc are among those targeting them exclusively to their male customers. Less bulky, this model also pairs better with a phone when flipped horizontally.

“East-west card cases are ideal for the modern, tech-savvy guy who values functionality,” said George Acher, buying manager for Mr Porter, adding this style is “a perfect fit” for those who aren’t ready to branch into handbags.

While Acher suggested the Fragments model from Saint Laurent for a classic look, options for east-west wallets range from the more traditional with logos to the downright funky (case in point: Paul Smith’s pinstripes or Balenciaga’s fruit print), meaning there’s a style to suit every dad.

If he’s overly cautious, New York-based leather goods manufacturer Royce offers one that’s protected with radio frequency identification technology to thwart identity and credit card theft.

The zippered credit card wallet from Royce.

Buy Now at royce $90

According to owner William Bauer, it has become “extremely popular” because of the easy access provided by five exterior card slots. He also touted the central zip compartment, which holds receipts, keys and the odd dollar bill while still remaining slim. Although taupe is the bestselling colorway, Bauer recommends sage or dark green as less expected neutrals.

He also recommends monogramming the grained calfskin with dad’s initials, his full name or a special date, which “further transforms it into an even more special gift,” Bauer said. “It will be a frequent reminder of the person who gave it.”

Launch Gallery: The Best East-West Card Holders for Father's Day

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