It’s Kind of on Sale? Elsa Peretti Money Clips

Over the weekend, Tiffany & Co. quietly lowered the price of their Elsa Peretti money clips from $195 to $150. Kind of surprising since the company has a strict policy of never doing sales or giving discounts, and they generally only raise prices over time, not lower them. They do sometimes adjust for the price metals, but going from $195 to $150 is a big jump. There’s even a model now for $125, for people who want something a bit more affordable (it’s just not made from sterling silver).

Elsa Peretti, for those who may not know, is an Italian jewelry designer who has made some of Tiffany’s most popular pieces. Most of her work is targeted at women, though she’s done things for men from time to time. In addition to money clips, she’s designed things such as cufflinks and lighters using those fluid, simple lines that she’s most famous for. I’m a big fan of her money clips, personally, and whenever I’m wearing a sport coat  or any non-rugged outerwear, I carry all my cash and cards using her bean-shaped clip and a Chester Mox card case.

The upside to a money clip is that they look dang classy, and when combined with a nice leather card case, you can carry everything you need without having the bulk of a traditional bi-fold. The downsides are that they can be a little flashy and, at times, cumbersome to use. I dislike having to pull out a wad of cash, thumb through a bunch of bills, and pick out two dollars to just pay for something small. It makes buying something like a bag of chips feel like a drug deal, though I suppose that can be either a good or bad thing depending on your disposition. 

For other nice money clips, you can turn to Paul Stuart, Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Ralph Lauren, and our advertiser Frank Clegg Leatherworks. Tiffany also has some nice models outside of their Elsa Peretti collections. In addition, you can always try eBay, but be warned:  I’ve bought about half a dozen clips from there and all have been fake (i.e. not made of sterling silver, or were rip offs of name brands). Jesse is right that counterfeiting in traditional men’s clothing isn’t big enough to worry about, but you can get into slightly more dangerous territory with famous jewelry brands. Caveat emptor.

It’s On Sale: Chester Mox Wallets

Chester Mox is having a number of promotions this week. First, personalization is free. That means you can have a monogram or message etched into any of their products without being charged. Second, shipping within the United States is also free. And third, their shell cordovan wiry flap wallets have been discounted from $190 to $125. No discount codes are necessary, and all adjustments will be made at check out.

I’m a big fan of Chester Mox, as I think they’re one of the few companies selling quality, handmade leather goods at an affordable price. My own daily wallet from them costs $39. They make everything themselves from their Los Angeles workshop. The leathers they use are sourced from world class tanneries such as Horween and Ilcea, the second of which supplies them the beautiful, slightly mottled, antique calf leather you see above. Once the leathers arrive, they’re handout and then handsewn, and the resulting products then have their edges handpainted and burnished. Each order is also made-on-request. That means if you like the shape of one wallet, but prefer them to use the leather from another, they can accommodate. When they made my wallet, I asked them if they could not put their company logo on it (as I personally dislike visible logos). Instead, I just had them place my monogram where their company name would normally go. The results were great. 

Note, the promotion for free personalization and shipping ends next Monday, the 25th, and the shell cordovan flap wallet discount ends this Friday, the 22nd

We Got It For Free: First & Company Coat Wallet

A few months ago, I received a coat wallet from First & Company, a relatively new leather goods upstart based in Southern California. I’ve wanted a coat wallet for some time now. My usual card case and money clip combination feels too dinky with a proper coat, so I’ve used this on occasions when I’ve worn a dress coat out. Not to say that coat wallets can only be worn with dress coats, but they do have a dressier sensibility to me that makes them better suited with tailored clothing.

I admit my first impressions were a bit mixed. On the one hand, the wallet feels great. The Italian nubuck leather is very soft and lush, and the wallet is a pleasure to handle between the fingers. I also like the simple and attractive design. There are six slots for credit cards, a flap sleeve for paper currency, and two internal pockets for miscellanea. I’ve been using this on trips abroad and have found the multiple slots useful for organizing paper money, jotted down notes, and folded up receipts.

I also like that the construction itself looks very clean. The leather is hand cut, but the pieces themselves are machine stitched. That might seem like a downside to people who think everything in the world must be handmade, but really each technique can lend different benefits. A hand-sewn saddle stitch can be more durable than machine-made stitches, but hand-sewn leather goods can look a bit rough-hewn if they’re not done well. I like that First & Company’s machine-sewn wallet looks very clean and elegant. You may also notice that the leather on the edges have been turned inward. This yields a more attractive and durable edge, since you won’t get the two leathers’ edges separating over time.

On the other hand, the threads used are pretty basic and untreated, and I was worried that they might break at some point. I told First & Company I’d review their wallet only after I put in at least three months of good use. Well, those three months have passed and this wallet shows no sign of wear or tear. I think it’s fair to say my initial skepticism might have been unfounded.

At the time I received the wallet, their price point was lower than where it is now. I was actually interested in reviewing it for readers precisely because this seemed like a potentially great deal. First & Company recently had to raise their prices, however. The wallet is now being sold at $195, which kind of expensive. If you have that kind of scratch, I think this is just as nice (if not nicer) than the house brand wallet I recently handled at Barney’s. A step up would be those made by companies such as Deakin & Francis or Valextra. There, the leather quality, stitching, and finishing are a bit better, but they cost double, if not more, than First & Company’s. For readers who want something a bit more affordable, I recommend Saddleback Leather Company, Frank Clegg Leatherworks, and Chester Mox. Not everything they sell is low-priced, but they do have some affordable wallets if you look around. The only thing is they don’t have coat wallets, for which if you have $195, First & Company sells a pretty decent option.

It’s On Sale: Chester Mox Wallets
One of my favorite leather goods companies, Chester Mox, is having a Father’s Day promotion. Until June 14th, you can get any wallet monogramed for free. On many of the wallets, this will be put in place of the company’s logo. A nice way to both get something logo free and personalize a product for someone you love (or for yourself). 
Chester Mox is a simple, one-family operation based out of Los Angeles. They make all of their products by hand, and the family has over twelve years of experience working with leathers. The construction of their wallets is very good and they use leathers from the best tanneries in the world. Two of them, Ilcea and Horween, for example, supply leathers to top footwear manufacturers such as John Lobb and Alden. All of the handwork they put into their products, from the stitching to the edge painting, is also well done. 
Since everything is made on order, you can easily put in special requests. If you see a model you like, but not in a leather you want, just contact them and ask if they can make it. Chances are they can. I’m a particularly big fan of their horse-front leather, which I find to have the luster of shell, and sightly more durability than calf (a bit more scratch and scuff resistant, though not as much as shell). It’s also just feels really rich to the touch. 
(Photo by Sean Hotchkiss)

It’s On Sale: Chester Mox Wallets

One of my favorite leather goods companies, Chester Mox, is having a Father’s Day promotion. Until June 14th, you can get any wallet monogramed for free. On many of the wallets, this will be put in place of the company’s logo. A nice way to both get something logo free and personalize a product for someone you love (or for yourself). 

Chester Mox is a simple, one-family operation based out of Los Angeles. They make all of their products by hand, and the family has over twelve years of experience working with leathers. The construction of their wallets is very good and they use leathers from the best tanneries in the world. Two of them, Ilcea and Horween, for example, supply leathers to top footwear manufacturers such as John Lobb and Alden. All of the handwork they put into their products, from the stitching to the edge painting, is also well done. 

Since everything is made on order, you can easily put in special requests. If you see a model you like, but not in a leather you want, just contact them and ask if they can make it. Chances are they can. I’m a particularly big fan of their horse-front leather, which I find to have the luster of shell, and sightly more durability than calf (a bit more scratch and scuff resistant, though not as much as shell). It’s also just feels really rich to the touch. 

(Photo by Sean Hotchkiss)

We Got It For Free: Chester Mox Wallets

Chester Mox recently got in some very interesting leathers. They asked me to review some of them, so I selected a couple of designs to be made out of their new materials. 

The first is Japanese shell cordovan. There is a very small supply of this leather in the world and only a few tanneries are able to get it. The most famous is Horween out of Chicago, but there are tanneries in Japan and Argentina as well. The difference is in the liquors they use and how thick their skins are. Japanese shells, for example, come in black and a natural tone that slowly darkens over time. They’re also slightly thinner than the Horweens I’ve handled, which means they’re a bit more pliable. Aside from that, compared alongside my Horween shell wallets, I saw no difference in quality (at least for the purposes of a wallet). Perhaps most exciting of all, Japanese shell is cheaper, which means shell cordovan products like these will be more affordable for the final consumer. 

The second new leather, called Essex, is from Horween. It’s a cowhide that has been tanned in the liquor Horween uses for shell cordovan. They’ve been developing this technique for about two or three years, and the results are pretty marvelous. The full-grained leather is very rich to the touch and has a beautiful, slightly variegated, color to it. The color was hard to capture with my camera, but it’s definitely now one of my favorite leathers from Horween.

You can get any of Chester Mox’s wallets made in these new materials. Just contact them for a price quote (shell will obviously be more expensive than calf). I should also note that I’ve found the stitching on these to be even better than before. They’re now using a slightly thinner thread, which I think makes for a cleaner appearance. And as always, they can also customize any wallet with an engraving. I usually request a simple monogram of my initials in the same font they use for their logo. 

This wallet, from Duluth Pack, was featured in our wallet roundup in January. It’s good-looking, high-quality and now… $45. A great Christmas gift for somebody.
(Thanks, Ross!)

This wallet, from Duluth Pack, was featured in our wallet roundup in January. It’s good-looking, high-quality and now… $45. A great Christmas gift for somebody.

(Thanks, Ross!)

The Silentist just did a round up of nearly every slim card-holder on the market, and it reminded me of the Seinfeld clip above. Most men I see carry way too much around in their wallets; it’s almost like they’re lugging around mini-briefcases in their back pockets. All you really need are a few cards, which you can put in a slim card holder, and some cash, which can held with a money clip. By carrying less, you’ll be able to keep a nicer silhouette throughout the day. 

I personally keep my cards in a Chester Mox card-holder, and I absolutely love it. The company uses Horween leathers and will personalize your wallet for $10 (I got my name engraved in the same font that Chester Mox used for their logo). Of the ones The Silentist blogged about, I think they offer the best quality-to-price ratio. 

Chester Mox: My Favorite Wallet Company

I know I’ve complained about how bloggers abuse superlatives. Everything is either epic and grail, or an essential that no man should go without. I’ll try to refrain from using those terms, but I’m genuinely really excited about this announcement. 

So a while ago, I wrote about VooDoo Studios, a leather goods company that I found while searching for a cheaper version of Makr’s angle wallet. The company really impressed me. VooDoo Studios was making handcrafted wallets out of Horween leathers, and selling them for about half the price that their competitors were. The family behind the company has twelve years of professional experience working with leather, so I had faith in the workmanship. By all accounts, it was the same beautiful, high-quality wallet that their competitors were selling, but instead of charging $80, these were $35. Yes, $35 for a Horween leather wallet, completely handmade by people who have been doing it for over a decade. 

After I excitedly contacted the company about doing a story on them, they nicely offered to send me three of their wallets to try out. I’ve been meaning to rotate through them, so that I could do a fair review on each, but I admit that I’ve been so smitten with the angle wallet that it’s gotten a bit more use than the others.

I especially like the angle wallet they sent me not just because of the design, but also the material: horse front leather, which is taken from the horse’s hips, just north of the horse’s rump (where shell cordovan is from). As I wrote earlier, I find horse front to be the “poor man’s shell cordovan.” It has a lot of luster and depth in the color, like shell, but to a lesser degree. It’s also very dense and a bit waxy, again like shell, but it doesn’t resist scratching or scuffing in the same way. Still, I like it much better than calf. When you touch it, you just get a sense of richness in the leather (though, of course, Horween’s calf leather is pretty damn amazing as well). The wallet has been wearing beautifully and I’m very happy with it. Of the various “menswear items” I own, this is one of my favorites. 

There was one thing that I didn’t care for though - the name of the company and logo on my wallet. For the amazing price point, however, I was willing to live with it. Still, I decided to give some constructive feedback to the company, and to my absolute surprise, they’ve been very open to my suggestions. 

So … I have some announcements. 

  • First, the company’s name has been changed to Chester Mox. It’s a name they choose, and I think it’s much better than the old name. Chester is the name of one of the family’s grandfathers, and Mox is a fuel that one of owners has been fascinated by. 
  • Second, there is a new logo. I think it’s much more handsome than the old one. This is the logo that will be used for any wallets sold from now on. Some of the pictures on the website still have the old VooDoo Studios logo, but those pictures will be updated shortly to reflect the change. 
  • Third, if a customer requests it, a completely logoless wallet can be made. Kind of nice for those who don’t like branding on their items. 
  • Fourth (here’s the part I’m really excited about), the company has a new personalization service for all items. Thus, instead of their logo, you can choose to have your wallet etched with anything you want - your name, initials, a short message, anything - for $10. You can choose the font and size of the etching, and have it be placed anywhere you want. I’ve included a picture of a sample they made. Personally, I’ll admit, I’m not crazy about the font this particular customer choose. I would recommend just going with the font and size of their Chester Mox text, but request that it be your initials or something. However, it’s your wallet, so it’s your choice. 
  • Fifth, they have some new customization options for the thread. Black nylon is the default, but you can also choose cream nylon or cream waxed linen. The personalized wallet I’ve shown above has cream waxed linen thread.

I’ll admit, before these changes, I was still hoping to maybe upgrade to a Bottega Veneta or Ettinger wallet one day.  The new changes, however, make Chester Mox my favorite wallet company. The whole idea of having my initials being handsomely put onto the wallet, instead of a company logo, is just really, really cool. And you really can’t beat the prices. I’m already thinking about getting one for a friend’s upcoming birthday. 

As a thanks to me for helping them out, the company is offering readers here a special discount. You can either get free shipping or free personalization with your order if you mention my name (Derek Guy). Just email the company after you’ve placed an order and they’ll adjust your final price. Check out their website and see which models you like. 

It’s On eBay
New & Lingwood Wallet
If you put in a little effort, you can get something wonderful for the price of something passable.
Buy It Now for £24.99 ($40)

It’s On eBay

New & Lingwood Wallet

If you put in a little effort, you can get something wonderful for the price of something passable.

Buy It Now for £24.99 ($40)

The Great Wallet Roundup

Lately the trickle of wallet inquiries we regularly receive has turned into a torrent. What precipitated this trend I cannot say, but there can be only one appropriate response: a Great Wallet Roundup.

First of all, let’s address what type of wallet you should carry.

I’m generally an advocate of the card case. Generally speaking, there’s no need to carry more than ID, a debit card and a credit card. Perhaps a health insurance card for emergencies. Anything more than this (say a store credit card or a club store card), you can grab them on your way out the door. The advantage of the card case is size. It can easily fit into a front pants pocket if you’re not wearing a coat, and will not create any visible bump if worn in a coat pocket. Cash can simply be carried in the front pocket, with or without a money clip, as you prefer.

Bi-fold wallets are a reasonable alternative for those who insist on carrying more cards with them at all times. These should nonetheless be modest in size. Jacket wallets, longer and thinner, roughly the size of a checkbook, are generally suitable only for those who always wear a jacket. Someone classier than me, in other words. Tri-fold wallets, as the Monty Pythons might say, are right out.

Wallets should be worn in the jacket pocket whenever possible. It’s better for your back, more difficult to steal, and given a reasonably-sized wallet, is the best choice aesthetically as well. In a pinch, a front pocket will do. I usually reserve the back pocket for blue jean days, and generally move my wallet to sit or (especially) drive.

As for the question of brown or black, it is a matter of personal preference. I generally wear brown shoes and so I generally wear brown wallets. On the rare occasion I wear evening clothes, I just pull out some cash and cards and use a money clip.

Wallets are available at a million price points, from Hermes to nylon-and-velcro. I’ve tried to put together a little range of possibilities, and hopefully you’ll find yourself something you like. Wallets often go on sale, and can easily be found in the vintage and second-hand market, but we’re focusing on new stuff at retail.

If I could have any wallet in the world, I’d likely have something made by April in Paris. This San Francisco-based company makes truly bespoke leathergoods. Beatrice, the owner, trained at Hermes, and welcomes you to visit your item as it is being made. Almost any design or skin is available. They’re also quite expensive. (Oh, and you could do a lot worse than the similarly expensive Hermes, who are one of the few big-name luxury companies who haven’t sacrificed quality in the pursuit of profit.)

On the inexpensive side of things, Saddleback Leather offers a bifold card case for only $15. The quality should be excellent, but if you’re looking for something with somewhat more refined aesthetics, Hartmann offers a handsome alternative for $35. I’m not nuts about ID windows, but what can you do?

Speaking of rough-hewn aesthetics, the recent Americana revival has hit the world of leather goods, as well. When I asked about wallets on Twitter, we had multiple recommendations for options from Tanner Goods (of Portland) and Billykirk. Tanner Goods’ choices tend towards “outdoorsy casual,” and Billykirk’s towards “axe-wielding.”

I’m a big fan of the leather-and-canvas choice from Duluth Pack of Minnesota, which offers a lifetime guarantee. They’ve also got a nice money clip bifold which is only $20, and a simple credit card wallet. In the past, I’ve recommended Filson wallets to those looking for something casual and durable, and, well, I still do.

If you’re looking for something “fun,” check out the selection at Jack Spade. They really get the silly trendy stuff right, with simple aesthetics and cool touches. They also come up regularly on sale and on Gilt Groupe for very reasonable prices.

My overall champion, though, is Swaine Adeney Brigg. The quality is exceptional - they are made in England and bear a royal warrant - and the prices, while high relative to the more mass-produced options, are not crazy high. Hermes may charge you $1500, but Swaine Adeney will likely be under $200. Indeed, the simple card case (the design of which is pretty much perfect) is available for $95. In fact, I’ve got myself so pumped up about it I may ask for one from my wife for my birthday.

Regardless of what brand you chose, my advice is simple: simplify. Your back will thank you, and so will the line of your clothes.