If you’re interested in how wallets came to be and the evolution they’ve gone through, this article will answer all your questions. Keep reading to learn about different wallet styles and their functionality.
A Brief History of Wallets
It seems like wallets have been around since the dawn of humanity, but they’re only a few centuries old. Wallets first came to be in the late 1600s, shortly after the invention and implementation of paper currency.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony began using paper currency in 1690 before America became its own country. Before this, people only used coins as currency and carried a coin pouch or small bags for storage.
The first wallets were made from cow or horse leather and featured small pouches to organize identification cards and currency.
After the wallet’s invention, it quickly became a must-have item that every man carried on his person. Over the past 300+ years, wallets have evolved, bringing us to the modern wallets we know today. Read about the different wallet styles and their evolution below.
Original Wallet Styles
This section will discuss the classic wallet styles that have been around since the invention of the wallet. These wallets are less common than in the 1600s and 1700s but are still around today.
Coin Pocket Wallets
As mentioned, people used to carry around coin purses so we can consider this one of the first iterations of the wallet. Coin pouch or coin pocket wallets do not have any slots for bills or cards, and all the belongings go into a tiny but spacious compartment that can be closed shut.
Document Holder Wallets
Document holder wallets are much larger than modern wallets you’re probably familiar with. They are larger than a checkbook and can hold paper money in a bill compartment along with other paperwork and important documents people used to carry around.
Checkbook wallets were the most common type of wallet in the past. They are almost exactly the size of your average checkbook and could fit paper currency, identification cards, and your checkbook! These were commonplace in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Classic Wallet Styles
Moving towards modernity, these wallets are the classic styles most people think of when discussing wallets. They’ve been popular for decades and are still very commonly used today.
The bifold wallet style was invented in the 1950s and quickly became popular among business people. When opened, they’re about the size of a checkbook wallet, but they have a center crease that allows them to be conveniently folded in half. This traditional wallet typically features card slots and is made of leather material.
Trifold wallets are similar to bifold and came to be shortly after the invention of the bifold. Instead of folding in half, trifold wallets fold into thirds.
They’re typically longer than a checkbook wallet when fully opened but fold up to be the same size as a folded bifold. They usually offer more storage and organization but are bulkier.
Modern Wallet Styles
While wallets were generally the same from 1690 to 1950, they’ve gone through a fast-paced evolution since the start of the 21st century. Below are modern wallet styles that are steadily becoming more popular than trifold and bifold wallets.
Most men carry their wallets in one of their pockets, so a thick trifold or bifold looks odd and obvious.
Slim wallets are becoming more popular because they can fit into a man’s front or back pocket without looking clunky or creating a bulge. A slim or minimalist wallet maximizes pocket space but still offers organization and protection for multiple cards.
Money Clip Wallets
Money clip wallets can be any size or shape, but they feature a clip on the outside where you can store cash and make it easily accessible.
These wallets are very popular because they’re convenient for people who often use cash but also offer storage for multiple cards and IDs.
ID Card Wallets
Identification cards have been around for a long time. But nowadays, people need to flash their license for many things, whether buying liquor, picking up a prescription, ordering a cocktail, or boarding a flight.
ID card wallets have a specific, clear pocket where you can slide in your ID and quickly show it to people without pulling it out.
RFID wallets are one of the most modern wallet options. They use RFID-blocking technology, which prevents criminals from collecting your card and identity information using digital scanners.
These criminals can point a scanner at you and get all your credit card numbers quickly, so these security wallets are very popular.
Specialized Wallet Styles
The modern wallets above are for general, everyday use. However, other modern wallet styles are a little more specialized. Below are some of the most popular specialized wallet styles.
Travel wallets are typically bigger than other modern wallets and feature a specific pocket for your passport. They often come with wrist straps or belts to help travelers keep track of their wallets better and avoid pick-pocketers.
Phone wallets can either be a small, sticky card holder that you can attach to the back of your phone or a larger wallet with a pocket for your smartphone to slip into. These wallets turn your phone and wallet into one, so you have fewer things to keep track of.
Multi-tool wallets are innovative and useful, offering unique features to help you in various situations. They may feature a bottle opener, pocket knife, keyholder, screwdriver, and other versatile accessories.
Modern Wallets Take Your Style to the Next Level
Wallets have always been useful accessories for men, but modern wallet styles go above and beyond.
Whether you want a slim front-pocket wallet, a multi-tool wallet, or an RFID-blocking security wallet, modern wallets allow men to carry their cards and money in a way that suits them.