Just like with your wallets, a phone is something you’re probably carrying on a daily basis. So let’s make sure your case is as classy, well-designed and functional to meet your needs.
If you work in a more physically-intensive job, where utility trumps everything else, then use whatever case meets your requirements for the week and then grab one of my choices below for the off-hours or weekend. Because there’s nothing worse than seeing a guy with a big phone bulge in his front pocket, or worse-yet, a big ass phone clipped to his belt – yuck.
The goal with anything you carry, and especially your phone case, is to provide protection, while still looking sharp and being as small/minimal as possible. Believe me, I’ve tested a few hundred cases over the years and these are by far the best that my clients and I all agree about.
Quick note: Even though I’m demonstrating cases and showing pictures of cases for iPhones, I do my best to provide Android options wherever possible.
It protects the back and sides with the slimmest profile I’ve ever seen. Also, here’s a point I especially love – It doesn’t have some gaudy logo all over it.
It’s made of a flexible but hard plastic that has a rubbery matte texture, so it isn’t slippery like other cases. There’s lot of similar cases out there, but I like this one because it covers the bottom and top parts – which most others don’t. In my tests, if this type of case doesn’t cover all sides, the edges will catch on your pockets or fingers and the corners will chip off easily and become jagged, which is very annoying to hold.
The only downside to this case is it doesn’t provide any screen protection, so it’ll be sitting on the screen if you lay your phone face down. If you need screen protection, see the next two cases.
I also like that the case is still a little pliable. Most similar cases are very brittle and my clients broke a few of them trying them out for me. This one has come off and on numerous times and looks good as new and hasn’t warped yet.
Before I discovered the Veil, I recommended and used Ringke cases for years.
The Air case is made of a polyurethane material so it’s soft and flexible. The main advantage of this case is it has a little bit of a lip around the screen, so the screen is protected if you lay your phone face down or drop it. I also like the dust and lint flaps for the headphone and power plugs. They can be annoying if you use these plugs often, so definitely grab the Slim case instead, as it doesn’t have them.
The Slim case is the hard plastic version of the Air case, but, as I said above, without the dust and lint flaps.
I like the crystal clear as well as the smoke black colors for both because they show off the beauty of your phone without looking gaudy.
If you’re looking for a relatively small leather case that can hold 3 cards as well, then grab the Bellroy 3 Card Phone case.
It’s made of the same leather as their wallets and feels really nice in the hand. It’s definitely the smallest phone/card case I’ve seen. They also make a version for 1 card, but what’s the point of that? And their similar case that holds no cards is just too bulky for such a single purpose item.
The major downside to this case, aside from the somewhat bigger size, is the price. It’s quite expensive at about $65, but again, it’s the best leather style case I’ve tested.
I holding one in Blue Steel in the video above, but I also like their Charcoal, Black and Java colors. So those are the phone cases I recommend to my clients and personally use. Have any cases that you love and you’re not trying to hawk your own product? Leave a comment so myself and others can see. I’m always on the hunt for awesome products!
Like I said in the series Intro Video, the things a man carries on his person projects and influences his life and personality in ways he may not notice. And this is no more true than with the little piece of leather or fabric that he carries every single day – his wallet.
I’ve seen it all when it comes to how men carry their cards and cash. I’ve had clients with no wallets who just carry a bunch of loose or rubber-banded cards and cash in their pockets, while others carry these massive monstrosities that I wince at just thinking about how uncomfortable it must be to sit on something like that all day.
As I mentioned in my 10 Most Overlooked Style mistakes ebook, full pockets ruin perfectly good outfits. I see it all the time. The sad part, is a lot of wallet manufacturers continue to sell these massive and bulky things they call wallets. I often wonder what man would see these and think this is something they should carry everyday for the next decade.
I’m going show you the different wallets I recommend to my clients.
There’s a few things that every gentleman’s wallet should be:
Clean & classically designed
As thin or small as possible
Understated in color and material
So let’s get into the different types of wallets that are best for you and determine what to have and why.
Bi-fold or Bill Fold wallets
These are the ones you probably envision when thinking about wallets. These typically go in the back pocket, but some men carry them in their front pockets. I don’t advise this, though, because it’ll leave a very noticeable buldge and, depending on the pants, a very odd square fading on the leg.
The only word that comes to mind when I hold this wallet is luxury. The textured leather and construction feels, pardon my french, so [email protected]#$ing good. I really love the classic design.
This wallet is the thinnest of all the billfolds I’ve seen, which is important because if a wallet is thick while it’s empty, imagine what happens when you start filling it?
The thinness is made possible by nixing the bill slot and using a spring-loaded money clip in the middle. There’s other wallets similar to this by other designers, but they were either not great quality, had a logo all over them, or just had an odd pattern or design.
If you want something almost as thin as a card wallet, but with the ability to hold cash, this wallet is the best I’ve ever seen. That’s on top of it’s impeccable attention to detail, like the hand lacquered piping along the edges that’ll keep this wallet looking new for a long time. If you can’t tell, I love this wallet.
In the video, I have a special edition Petroleum blue, but I also love their dark blue, black and gray colors, as well.
If the Valextra wallet isn’t your speed then definitely go for the Low Down.
I’ve recommended this wallet to a few friends and clients and they’ve held up amazingly well, even after a year of daily use.
The tapered corners and shorter height help make it feel less chunky and big. And the leather is sturdy yet supple without a hint of shiny or glossy-ness which plagues a lot of wallets.
There’s one thing that bothers me a little and it’s the contrast stitching. I wish it was the same color as the rest of the wallet, but it’s an admittedly small quibble since it’s close enough in color that most people would never notice.
The black and charcoal are the colors you should go for. I normally like brown, as well, but their brown and blue colors were too loud.
The Purist is constructed of thin, high-quality leather and features a simple but efficient design.
I love the angled slots, which diminish bulkiness and make it easier to access the cards. Even when full, this wallet is still quite slim.
I’m not the biggest fan of the two-toned leather lining, but it’s not enough to sway my recommendation.
My only concern with this wallet is the outter leather. Shiny leathers, like this, tend to show every little mark or stain on them. If you’re a little rougher on your wallets, I’d probably go with the Bellroy.
I didn’t include these in the video because they’re a little more niche than a bi-fold wallet or regular card case since they fold like a wallet, but can’t hold much cash. I still like them a lot and some clients prefer them over the non-folding card cases, so I thought best to include them.
With smooth, coated edges and the different interior pockets, my clients really love this wallet. I’ve even given them as gifts a few times. I think the design, pocket placement and textured leather really stands out and feels great in the hand. Just a warning, it’s a little thicker than the other card cases, so if you’re looking for super small and thin, you won’t get it with this one. It feels more like a wallet than a card case.
Just like with their bi-fold wallet and regular card case (below), the leather is awesome and the design so classic and thin that it’s hard not to love it. I especially like how they keep the logo very small and out of the way, unlike some other brands…
If the other options are a little pricey, you will love this one. I love the textured leather and the construction is quite good. A lot of times, Coach misses the mark, but they nailed it with this card wallet.
Just like their bi-fold wallet. This card case is super luxurious, thin and well-constructed. There’s not much else to say, I actually like this one because it has 6 slots, so you won’t have to stack a lot of cards in it. Most other card cases have 3 or 4 slots so you’ll have to dig through your cards to find the right one.
If the Valextra isn’t your thing, this is a great alternative. Just like their bi-fold wallet, it’s a super durable, thin and features a unique and logical design.
The card slots with different orientations, make it’ easier to pull out your cards and squeeze the sides to expose the center pocket’s contents. I also love the curved edges since it’s easier to slip in and out of your pocket and not catch or snag on anything.
Just like with their Low Down wallet, though, I wish the stitching wasn’t so contrasting. I only like the black or blue steel colors because the other options are either two-toned or really loud.
Soft, supple leather and classy as hell. Unlike with their bi-fold wallet, I actually like the two-tone top pocket because it’s just a little nice surprise and doesn’t scream at you.
Black is the best color for this wallet, and just like with their bi-fold wallet, I question the durability of the leather if you’re rougher on your wallets, but I really, really like the clean and simple design.
If you’re looking for a wallet that holds you cards, cash and phone, these are for you. Let me warn you, though, they’re the opposite of slim wallets. If you wear suits, carry a bag often, or don’t mind carrying your wallet in your hand, these are right up your alley.
I’ve had clients explain to me the joy of carrying their phone in their wallets – where it takes a little more effort and time to get to their phones. They say it makes their actions more deliberate and less reactive and schizophrenic. It’s almost like an excuse to take their time. One client explained the opening/unzipping his phone wallet like a sort of ritual. Like rolling up your shirt sleeves or doing something methodically.
I looked long and hard for good ones and even though there’s a lot out there, I found most of them to be lacking in one major area or another.
Like Bellroy’s bi-fold wallet and card case (above), the phone pocket is made from the same leather that is very scratch and blemish resistant with a buttery smooth zipper and an equally logical and well-thought out design. My clients who use this wallet really love it.
I love the pocket layout, where the phone fits in the main compartment and your cards fit in a bit of a floating divider, making everything easily accessible. It also has slots for extra SIM cards, small pens and a place to put your house key. They literally thought of everything.
They make two sizes – for larger and smaller phones. I only like the black, though, as the other colors have odd-colored zippers and pull tabs, and/or the color is just too loud and not befitting a proper gentleman.
After scouring the web for months trying to find other great phone wallets, I was so happy to find This Is Ground. Turns out that they’re located less than 5 miles away from my office! I got to visit them and they showed me all their goods and I was very impressed.
If you don’t like the Bellroy Phone Pocket, then go for this one. It cuts out all the extra frills and gives you just the essentials. Which is not a bad thing at all. Some clients noted how they preferred how this one opens flat over the taco-style opening of the Bellroy.
The leather is so supple and nice to hold that it really sets itself apart. It’s not as scratch/blemish resistant as the Bellroy, but this wallet will age and mature with you and have a much nicer patina.
The only downside is that the zipper tends to stick a little for the first week or two. My clients were definitely spoiled after using the Bellroy, but they all said it smoothed out after “working it in”, so it’s a minor quibble.
I love the Smoke (black) and Cognac colors the most. The Cognac looks amazing in person. The Stash comes in small and large phone sizes, as well.
For my clients, I normally recommend they get a bi-fold or phone wallet and then a card case for when they don’t need to carry as much – like when they’re going out for the night or to a premiere or after-party, where seeing pocket bulges is a big no-no.
For a guy that likes his phone and wallet separate and needs to carry a decent amount of cards/cash with him, I’d say get a bi-fold and get a card case for when you’re going out for the night or just don’t need to carry all your stuff with you.
If you want to carry as little with you as possible and hate added bulk, get a card case. But don’t delude yourself and cram 15 cards into a card case and still think it’ll be slim. If that’s the case, you should just get a bi-fold, as it’ll do a better job of distributing that bulk in your pocket.
If you’re a guy who likes to carry everything all together, or doesn’t want to sit on a chunk of leather and cards, then the phone wallets are for you.
I think a man should have a regular, everyday wallet that can be placed into a breast pocket in your blazer or suit jacket and some form of a slim wallet that can slide into a front or back pants pocket when you don’t need everything – like when you’re going out for the evening, etc.
Just like with keys, you don’t need to and shouldn’t have to carry everything with you at all times. Most men/my clients love to say “But what if I need something in the wallet?”
The argument quickly crumbles when I ask them: “So you’re going out for drinks with your friends, and need your gym, library, membership cards in case you need to go work out while reading a book at 2am?”
Most men know what kind of night they’re going to have, so don’t pull that BS of needing your tactical wallet with you at all times.
Every guy only needs 4 belts in his closet, ever. Even though I always say your pantsshould fit without a belt – they’re still a must-have item because pants will shift as you wear them and belts help break up an outfit. You’d think belts would be simple and this article and video should be one sentence long. Unfortunately, I constantly see guys crapping the bed in the belt department. So let’s fix this. Here’s the best dress and casual belts for men and other tips and tricks you should know about.
Why do you need a belt?
Most guys only wear belts as utility items to keep their loose pants from falling off. Certainly, a belt is for this, but there’s other reasons to wear a belt.
You want your pants to hit a certain part of your waist, depending on whether they’re jeans or dress pants. During the course of your day, you’ll be standing, sitting, and moving around – this will tug and pull at your shirt and pants, causing them to move around. A belt ensures they stay in their proper place.
A belt is necessary to break up some of your outfits, especially with non-suit outfits. Let’s say you’re wearing a sport coat/blazer with a dress shirt, dark wash jeans, and some oxford dress shoes, you’ll definitely need a belt to help break up the outfit in your midsection. People who go belt-less in these outfits… ugh.
I have family from Texas (these are actually my relatives) and they take belt buckles very seriously – which is what every guy should do! All you’ll ever need is some variation of the standard belt buckle with a single square frame and prong – no matter if they’re casual or dress belts. There’s absolutely no reason for having anything else – EVER.
If you have any other type of belt buckle, and you’re not a cowboy, sheriff, rodeo rider or douchebag, replace them immediately. I throw up a little in my mouth when I see guys wearing those horrible box-frame style belt buckles like the guy below. Whatever you do, please, don’t be that guy!
You need a dark brown and black leather belt with a simple, thin and silver belt buckle. Also, is should absolutely be shiny. A matte belt as a dress belt is a no-no. Look how terrible a matte-finished belt looks as a dress belt in my image below!
You want the width to stay as near to 1.5″ as possible. Anything wider will be more bulky and is considered more casual. Anything slimmer than that is a woman’s or a fashion belt and that’s not what we’re going for here. Even though the width is only slightly smaller than a casual belt, it makes a huge difference in appearance. Compare this picture of a guy wearing a wider belt as a dress belt compared to the image of my model. Night and day, in my eyes even though it’s only about half an inch difference.
You only want leather, but if you’re averse to leather, then get a leather substitute belt. You want the luxurious look of leather to match your dressy outfits.
2. Casual belt
Just like the dress belt, you’ll want a black and brown casual leather belt, each with silver buckle. This is where the buckles can be slightly thicker, but not by much. Gold buckles may be allowed if you really, really must have gold, but it may clash with some of your outfits or accessories, so I like to keep it simple and avoid gold all together. Also, in regards to the texture or finish of the belt, you want to avoid super shiny belts. Shiny/Polished-looking belts = dress belts. Most casual leather belts will be pebbled or have a texture or be matte-finished. That and the width of the belt is how you determine whether a belt is dressy or casual.
Have your casual belt somewhere between 1 3/4 – 2″ wide. Anything more than that is too wide and will look out of place. Slimmer than that looks more like a dress belt.
You can go with leather, cloth, or webbed belts. I personally think you should stick to leather until you’re ready to step out and get more adventurous with your belts. That way, your casual belts will work no matter the time of year or outfit.
Be careful not to get a belt that’s too shiny – like a dress belt. They should be more matte-finished. I see guys making this mistake a lot. Look at the differences between my dress and casual belt recommendations below to see the difference between shiny and matte.
What Size Belt to buy?
This is a question more men should be asking! Please check out my fit guide for details about how to choose your belt size.
The Best Dress Belts for Men
A quick note: Allen Edmonds are my absolute favorites because they’re high quality and they match their colors to their dress shoes. A lot of companies don’t do this, but it’s very important to match your belts with your shoes and AE takes the guesswork out of matching them.