It’s that time of year again: holiday shopping. Some gift options are tried, true and beloved, if not downright traditional: socks, ties, and tech gear for men, a piece of jewelry, a scarf or bag for women, perhaps flight or concert tickets, or something-of-the-month club for anyone. Often you will see a wallet as a suggestion on one of those holiday gift guides (hey, I’ve done that). It’s a great idea, as it’s often one of the items people need but either don’t splurge on for themself or they’ve been using the one they have for too long and don’t recognize that they need a new one (I’ve done that, too!).
On purchasing one particular Hermès wallet several years back, I was going back and forth on it, and a complete stranger finally told me: “Get this wallet. I promise you will not regret it.” Not only was she right, but I also enjoyed it so much I became one of those people who used it for way too long and didn’t realize the time had come (and gone!) for it to be replaced.
The Wallet Is A Perfect Gift
Wallets are a good investment: we use and handle them every day. Their functionality – or lack thereof – makes running our daily lives more or less smooth. A design point can bring ease or aesthetic delight, or…frustration.
However, I’ve been using wallets long enough to know that what may have worked for me or brought me joy years ago may not be necessary now. People’s needs change over time. Over the last few years, many people have downsized a lot of their daily bags, while others have always carried big bags, and yet some carry a mix of both. Personally, I like options that will work in whatever I am carrying, whether it’s a mini bag to an event or thrown in a backpack to the nail salon. My husband – to my eternal chagrin – eschews the need for a wallet entirely and insists upon (I. Kid. You. Not.) a rubber band hold his things together (Mr. Pink is – sigh – a perennial minimalist).
That kind of personal quirk aside, a new wallet is always a good idea. So, here are a few basic suggestions to consider, depending on your needs.
The “Classic” Hermès Wallets
There is a basic layout that several Hermès wallets have, which has proven to be extremely functional: this consists of a simple long fold, bearing card slots on either side (12 total) plus either one (leather) or two (Silk’In) long pockets on the interior behind the card slots, and a zippered middle section. The space between the card slots and the zippered center section will hold small items like lip gloss, a key, or even a small iPhone.
The differences between these wallets are basically cosmetic: a Kelly or Constance closure or a plain exterior with a zip-around closure. The Silk’In has a silk-lined interior and extra pair of pockets but is the same as the Azap. Dimensions for these are about 7.8″ long x 4.5″ high x 0.6″ deep (the Constance is a bit bigger; the Azap is a bit smaller).
Great Everyday Basic Hermès Wallet: Silk’In Compact
The Silk’In Compact is the wallet I dithered on purchasing and wound up carrying until it was unsightly. It’s small but big enough to not easily be lost in a large bag. The plain exterior showcases the color, and the zip-around closure holds everything in.
Essentially a compact version of the classic design showcased above, it has six card slots and a zippered center pocket. The spaces between the card slots and the center pocket can also be used for further storage, such as bills and receipts. The dimensions are about 3.7″ long x 4.5″ high x 0.4″ deep.
Elegant and Functional: Hermès Bearn Wallet
The Bearn epitomizes the elegant and classic Hermès wallet: both elegant and functional, like the grown-up ladies’ wallets our moms used to carry, just taken up a notch. Just a bit smaller than the “Classique Wallet” design above, this is a simple bifold design, with 5 credit card slots, 2 pockets, and a gusset on one side, a zippered change purse and another pocket on the other side (there is a version without the gusset and left side pocket as well). The closure is a simple ‘H’ tab closure, which is easy to open and close, if not quite as secure as some of the other options. Dimensions are about 6.9″ long x 3.5″ high x 0.2″ deep.
The Bag Alternatives: The Hermès Constance or Kelly To Go Wallets
The Constance and Kelly To Go Wallets are versions of the Constance and Kelly Wallets; they are not the same wallet with a removable, cross-body strap added. While the addition of the strap certainly makes these wallet mini-bags, they lose some of the functionality of the original version of the wallet. For the Kelly To Go (7.8″ long x 4.5″ high x 0.6″ deep), instead of the 12 card slots and two pockets on either side of the center zipper section, there are just 4 card slots and no pockets. For the Constance To Go (8.1″ long x 5.1″ high x 0.8″ deep), there are also just 4 card slots. Still, the two interior and one exterior pocket remain.
A Happy Medium: Dogon Duo
The Dogon Duo wallet is another easy-access, classic Hermès design with an added zip-pouch for the more secure items you want to keep. While the dimensions are similar to the Classic wallets at the top (7.9″ long x 4.9″ high x 0.2″ deep), this wallet is soft-sided, not rigid. It has 5 credit card slots and 3 pockets in addition to the removable pouch, so while it has a loop Clou de Selle closure (similar to the Bearn), you have more security.
Tag Team: Calvi and Calvi Duo (+ Bastia) Walets
This is a function of my own quirks: I keep all my cards in differently-colored RFID-blocking sleeves, so I don’t have a problem finding whichever card I need, and I won’t keep change in any of the Hermès change sections and will only use a change-dedicated item like my Bastia, which also keeps a pair of earbuds and a few other small items, like a mini scarf ring, a paperclip, and a tiny emery board. However, this is as minimalist as it gets (short of – sigh – a rubber band).
Mini Hermès Wallets
I would be remiss if I neglected to include a variety of other mini and compact wallets. Most of these are variations of the layout described above.
Bearn Mini and Bearn Compact Wallets
These are two variations on a smaller Bearn with different layouts (there is a third variation just for cards). Both have a tab closure. The Bearn Mini has 2 card slots and a small snap section (4.3″ long x 3″ high x 0.2″ deep). The Bearn Compact is a touch larger and more similar to the regular Bearn, with 4 card slots, 4 pockets, a small zipped section, and one long pocket (4.7″ long x 3.7″ high x 0.2″ deep).
Azap Mini Wallet
The Azap Mini has a completely different layout than the Azap, with the sides bearing the organizing with 2 card slots and 2 pockets, and the interior being open for cash, change, and receipts, with a secure zip closure (3.2″ long x 4.1″ high x 0.4″ deep).
The Constance Slim also has a different layout than the full size; the interior has 2 card slots and a removable zippered pouch, and on the back is a belt loop (4.9″ long x 4″ high x 1.2″ deep).
Kelly Pocket Compact Wallet
The Kelly Pocket Compact Wallet is another utter-minimalist option. Perhaps stretching the definition of a “wallet” just a bit, it’s essentially a turn-lock-closed pocket with a zippered section on the back (5.2″ long x 3.9″ high).
Clic 12 Wallet
Finally, there is the Clic 12. The layout is similar to the Bearn, but with the sections switched a bit. It has 5 credit card slots, a zipped pocket, and a more secure lock closure (4.7″ long x 4.7″ high x 0.4″ deep).