I’ve been rolling with the same old beat-up brown two-tone Ben Sherman wallet for about 8 years. It has been a noble steed in that time, but as of 2014, it’s starting to fray around the edges, the lining is busted and the interior pockets are starting to lose their grip on cards. This year, I had to say the words that a fortunate man only has to say a handful of times in his life.
“I need a new wallet. Shit.”
There are 3 good opportunities to replace a wallet. The first is an overseas trip to an south-east Asian country: Vietnam, Thailand, Bali. All good opportunities to score a decent leather wallet on the cheap. The second is one of those Myer/David Jones stocktake sales, where wallets seem to fly out the door for 80% off. The third is a gift.
I had a birthday earlier this year. That’s where I made my move.
The Minimalist wallet was originally a Kickstarter project, raising over $100,000 in its run. It styled itself as a “re-imagined super-thin card-case style wallet crafted for the design conscious minimalist.”
Ah, the Design Conscious Minimalist. That guy.
Hey, I got a joke for you I just made up:
Q: How many Design Conscious Minimalists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Three. One to write a lengthy diatribe on the nature of design. One to organise a TED talk while his underpaid graduate screws in the bulb. One to clean up all the barf.
So I might not be the Exact Target Demographic, but hell, a nice wallet ain’t gonna discriminate. So I pointed my family at the Capsule site, and told them to have at it. The base models are US$70, and there are material variants for up to US$85.
(Holy hell, you see that Queensland driver’s license? What a piece of crap.)
Anyway, the wallet is seriously slim. It’s essentially a really nice leather card case, finely stitched, with a subtle Capsule logo debossed on the front strap. It’s got a nice slidey interior lining, so the cards come in and out fairly easily.
The cards snuggle in there very tightly, leaving just a centimetre or two of room at the top to grab them. I actually found it easier to remove the cards by slightly pinching the wallet at the sides to open the pocket a little wider.
The Translink card (for Queensland public transport) in this wallet is particularly great, because you don’t even need to take it out to use it. Just tap wallet against the side of the ticket machine, and go.
I fit four cards into the centre pocket, and one frequently-used card on the back for a total of five.
Cash is the one thing that I’ve had trouble adjusting to with the Minimalist. I’m very used to a billfold-style wallet, and this bad boy only comes with a cash strap on the front. So every bill needs to be neatly folded in half and slid under the strap.
Now, you can grab your entire cash wad, fold in half, then stuff it under. No problem there. The trick comes when you’re paying for something; you have to remove the entire wad, peel off a note and then re-fold. For this reason, I’ve started doing a little single fold on the top-most note. That way I can pull it out more easily without looking like I’m trying to Make It Rain on a cashier or bartender.
As for coins, let me say this. If you’re still trying to put coins in your wallet you have bigger problems than how to handle your cash. Get a coin jar. Use the coin pocket in pants. Remember, only you can break the cycle of dangerously-overstuffed wallets. Don’t be a Costanza.
A while ago, we had a vigorous discussion on what goes into a man’s pants and where. For me, that’s phone in the front-right pocket, keys & headphones in the front-left pocket, wallet in the back-right pocket. Always.
With a wallet this skinny, have I changed my mind? Is the wallet going in the front pocket now?
Well, I tried. The answer is still a definitive Nope. Keys, wallet and headphones all in the front left is just too crowded.
I could certainly see how with a wallet this slim—if you weren’t carrying headphones—you could certainly get away with it.
So let’s get down to brass tacks: would I recommend this wallet? Yes, I think if you can get over the cash-handling issue, and you can get away with just a couple of cards on you, then I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re a loyalty card-laden, receipt-hoarding Joe, this wallet is probably going to piss you off. But man, it feels small, it feels light, and it’s kinda freeing, you know?
So, here’s to the next 8 years going slim.