Until Apple fully succeeds in replacing our wallet, we are all burdened with that annoying privilege of carrying our big clunky fold of bills, plastic membership or credit cards, and other miscellany like business cards, loyalty punch cards or – gasp – maybe there are even a few among us who still carry printed pictures of our loved ones around. Fortunately, a bevy of stylishly slimmed down, genuinely smart solutions have emerged over the last few years. These products are evolutions of the age-old wallet that slim down that pocket bulge in two ways – one, by packing contents more efficiently; and two, by limiting the amount of space they offer from the beginning, forcing us to consider how important it is to carry around that credit card we signed up for ten years ago in college just for the free t-shirt.
I began my foray into the slimmed down pocket revolution a few years ago by moving my wares into the J. Crew Factory Outlet version of the magic wallet. The J. Crew wallet replaced a traditional Fossil bi-fold wallet that held up remarkably well despite enabling years of overstuffing abuse. Receipts, credit cards I rarely used, loyalty reward punch cards for places I rarely visited – it was a cluttered mess. The magic wallet imposed physical limitations on what could actually fit and I had to make tough decisions about what I must carry and what I could leave at home. I even returned to pre-adulthood days by moving my wallet out of my rear pocket and back into my front pocket, no longer fearing the ridiculous pocket bulge.
It was fun while it lasted, but I ultimately grew tired of the flip-flop-flap of the magic wallet. I wanted to return to a more traditional style of wallet, but without delving back into a life of overstuffing. I started looking around and I ultimately decided on the Bellroy Slim Sleeve. The downfall of the magic wallet began when I started disobeying the physical limitations of the wallet and it became an unruly mess too difficult to manage. Cards started dropping out when I would go to pay for things, the “magic” bands would get twisted or hung up on something rigid. Looking at the images of the Bellroy, I knew I could fit everything that I needed in the wallet, but still maintain some semblance of a trimmed-down wallet. The Slim Sleeve is not going to win the Slim Clip Award for simplicity or slimness. It is, however, a very stylish and sensible solution for those of us who want to slim down, but still carry around just a bit more. Here’s my currently Slim Sleeve inventory: (4) cards with embossed account numbers; (5) other plastic cards, including my drivers license; my health insurance card; (4) cardstock loyalty cards; and (3) dollar bills. The Slim Sleeve handles all of these items without issue and yet the design itself is inspiring enough to have me consider removing one or two additional items that I rarely use.
Beyond the slimming design aspects of the Bellroy Slim Sleeve, I love the aesthetics and functional design as well. I have the cocoa color, which has standout orange accent stitching. One of the interior card pockets has a pull-out tab to provide easy access to tucked away cards. I love the premium feel of the leather and after a year of everyday use, my Bellroy shows few signs of wear and tear other than an impression of the pull-tab on the exterior side of the wallet, a subtle hint that I might need to take another look at my priorities there.