Why you should invest in a really great wallet

Every morning, it's the same routine.

"Have you seen my wallet?"

"No."

What follows is at least 20 minutes of frantic searching, pillow throwing and growing panic until you find the thing on the kitchen bench hidden under the receipt for last night's dinner.

A throwback to simpler times

Wallets often seem like an archaic throwback to a time before smartphones took control of our lives. Back when coins actually counted and before Apple haggled with banks to become personal ATMs.

As we move further into a cashless society (don't fight it), the traditional wallet seems destined for the accessory heap in the sky.

Or is it?

Storage space

Sophie Hunt, of luxury accessories brand Hunt Leather goods, thinks that despite the digital push we can expect wallets to be around for a little bit longer.

"Despite all the possibilities out there, we're still ruled by cards, from travel cards to the office building passcard, driver's licence and health cards," she says. "It will take a while for all of these systems to go onto your phone, so we think wallets will be here for a little while longer."

And then there's the artisinal element.

The luxury of design

A great wallet is, much like say a shoe or bag, a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. The attention to detail required in creating a quality product goes beyond just what it looks like but also how it feels in your hand.

From the stitching to the variety of skins used to create one, the shiver of pleasure you get when you whip it out is enough of a reason to invest in one even if all you carry in it is your license and your Amex Black.

Again, like a shoe, a well-made wallet will improve with age – softening up, and developing unique characteristics inherent in the leather's surface. Basically, becoming a reflection of your daily habits.

So which one is the right one for you?

Life and style

"More and more we're seeing the demand for smaller, slimmer wallets," Hunt explains.

This...is from our younger customers, whereas the older gentleman wants a classic billfold, perhaps with a pocket for coins. Frequent travellers appreciate wallets with two note pockets, whereas young men might choose a slim trifold or a simple cardholder."

Essentially, there are four basic silhouettes that that provide the basis for any wallet.

Four essential types

Card holders are the smallest, most streamlined variety and do pretty much what it says – holds cards. This is the go-to for streamlined guys who follow the less is more rule. Also great for going out so you minimise loss on the event of, ahem, misadventure.

Bi-folds are your standard folding wallet with space for cards and notes. The most common variety, this style is has plenty of space without letting you overfill. Basically your Bill Pullman of accessories.

Tri-folds offer a bit more card space and quite often include coin section for gents who like the feel of a bit of change. These can get a little bulky but if you need the extra room, this is the one for you.

Finally, long wallets – which while pretty showy and ostentatious are handy if you live off every conceivable plastic card available.

What to look for

"Of course, the quality of the leather is the most crucial element, preferably vegetable-tanned, which will just get better and better with age," explains Hunt.

"The choice thereafter will depend a little on your taste; a very refined man would look for very fine stitching, top quality lining and finely turned corners.  A more casual customer might choose a more 'rugged' look with raw edges, whereas some prefer a soft, supple, lightweight wallet. If a wallet is good quality, skip the plastic ID window – the plastic will always wear out before the leather does."

Check out the gallery above to see the best men's wallets for every lifestyle.