Smythson Card Wallet
One of my best accessory purchases of all time is my black leather card wallet. I purchased it in person at the Smythson of Bond Street Madison Avenue location one day on my lunch break after stalking their goods online for several weeks. I walked around and around, picking up and examining wallet after wallet till I finally settled on the small item I am now reviewing.
Present time is now several years post-purchase and my exact model is no longer available but here is the closest thing. My pick was part of the Panama collection, meaning it was constructed with an exterior of saffiano leather. Entirely black, the interior is made with smooth leather and so in handling the item and opening it, one can appreciate the subtle differences in texture. But this construction is more than just aesthetically pleasing, it's extremely functional; saffiano-style leather is able to withstand an incredible amount of wear and tear and so my wallet looks as good today as it did when I bought it. If the smooth leather had been the exterior material, this absolutely would not be the case; smooth leather wears terribly and scuffs easily and who the hell wants that.
Not only has the leather maintained it's integrity, the decorative foil stamp branding is completely in tact. All Smythson of Bond Street items are stamped with a lovely gold foil imprint of their name/logo which is subtle and tasteful and something I wanted to preserve. If you've ever owned anything foil stamped before, you know that these things have a nasty habit of rubbing off — I'm sure with their 'legacy of high quality', the Smythson stamp probably lasts longer than most but still, there is a limited lifespan for such markings. Anyway, on this wallet, the stamp is on the INSIDE, protected from friction and the elements and it stands good as new even today. Unfortunately, this feature is not available on the alternative item I linked to, but maybe some day they have the good sense to bring it back. Another plus for the branding being on the inside is the lack of ostentation; yes this is technically a luxury item, but with the hidden logo you can be fancy incognito.
Besides being attractive, well made and durable, the wallet offers great function. The outer pocket provides immediate and easy access to my Metrocard [which I use every time I commute]; this same pocket could be used for any item you need frequently and quickly, a license or student ID perhaps. Another benefit of the outer pocket is the ability to hold the non-adhesive end of a Post It which can then be wrapped around the exterior to become an effective reminder whenever you pull out the wallet. The inside of the wallet includes two separate pockets, one gusseted and one slime. The space between the two inside pockets is just big enough to hold a single cigarette if you are an infrequent smoker and purchaser of looseys from your neighborhood bodega like me, or you've just bummed one and want to save it for later.
The price paid for both my model and that of the closest available alternative was and is $195. Believe me, I thought long and hard about paying that much for such a small item but I have never regretted the purchase. However, if you take into account the "cost per wear" formula, [CPW = total cost of the item / number of days you’ll wear it], this wallet is a wise choice. I've used it every single day for several years and it has proven its value many times over.
Smart, high-quality construction and a clever design make this wallet the shit. It fits in my pocket and has the capacity to hold everything I need throughout the day. If I should ever need to replace it, I'll buy another Smythson wallet in a second. But this time I would avoid their snotty-ass sales people and enjoy the magic and isolation of buying online.