You guessed it! The wallet! For real, you can get through life without many things, but a wallet is not one of them. That is, unless you live in some fabulous utopian society where there is no need for currency or identification. Or if you’ve sworn off materialism and individuality, thus releasing you from the bonds of coin and credit. But, otherwise, most of us find that we need to carry our cash, cards and licenses in order to get through an ordinary day’s business. Even the ‘Dude’ had a wallet for his club card.
Historically, wallets were the domain of men (because what wasn’t?). They used them as auxiliary pockets to carry coins and whatnot. Early wallets resembled pouches, as there was not yet a need for credit card slots or paper money compartment. When paper currency became a thing, in the late 17th century, the wallet evolved. It was still a men’s accessory, however, as women carried a handbag or purse instead. The modern wallet, as we know it, came on the scene in the mid 20th century, to hold the newest form of payment, the credit card. By this time, women had started carrying coin purses or wallets inside their purses, as a way to keep cash, checkbooks, and finally credit cards, organized and separate from the many other items found in a handbag.
Men’s wallets are pretty basic. But women’s wallets come in a rainbow of colors, and just as many materials. Leather wallets are popular because of their timelessness and durability. Not to mention that they can do double duty as a clutch if you don’t want to carry a purse. Women’s wallets are generally larger than men’s wallets, to hold credit cards, identification, membership cards, cash and coin, and perhaps even a checkbook (if you want to be that person at the grocery store holding up the line by writing a check). The most important feature of a wallet is security, which is why most styles have a zipper, clasp, snap or envelope closure to keep everything in its place. There may be additional compartments inside a wallet to further secure cash and other important items. Some wallets have a hidden strap that can be used to carry the wallet as a small purse. Many luxury wallets are studded, embossed, embroidered or otherwise embellished.