1) Step one: Find out what style wallet he has now.
A: Most Dads don’t like change unless it radically offers a solution to a wallet problem he might be experiencing. Ask him if he likes his wallet and what he would change-believe me that he has been thinking about more than he even realizes. Everyone has a strong opinion about wallets, just ask him.
2) Front pocket wallet or back pocket wallet? Or put it another way, does size matter? Imprint & surface area of the wallet…
A: Small to Big size continuum of wallets goes in order from card cases-money clips-clip wallets-trifolds-bifolds-to hipster or super skinny sizes. Most bifolds and hipster models are usually too big for the front pocket unless they have hinges that move with the body (like the super skinny model). Most trifolds fit easily in either pocket depending on how much they are overstuffed.
3) Does he carry pictures? Does he need inserts? Or has he gone digital already?
A: If he hasn’t gone digital with his photos in his cellphone or keychain photo thingy, some wallets already come with inserts or he can just use his old inserts-all inserts have a “tongue” portion that fits into a card slot-he can simply pull out his insert and put into your new gift wallet!
4) Is he a bifold or trifold kind of guy? i.e. most Dads stick to these two basic styles over the years.
A: The most popular trifolds are the regular triple foldover or the L-Shaped Trifold which coincidentally is also considered a bi-fold with a flap and is the most popular bi-fold wallet. Ahh the world of wallets and what’s in a name…Those are the top two wallet styles so you got a 50-50 chance of being on the money so to speak.
5) Find out how many plastic cards he usually carries which will help dictate the right style.
A: If he doesn’t have many plastic cards, then go for a model with very few card slots so the wallet will be thinner due to less material. If he has a lot, go for one that breaks the card deck in half just like the “super skinny model” does. Most people average about 16 thick plastic cards in their wallet, hopefully your Dad doesn’t carry everything in his wallet like George Costanza did in Seinfeld TV show-remember the exploding wallet Seinfeld episode?
6) Does color matter?
A: Most Dads opt for black although some fashion forward Dads go for brown or a lighter color that they can find easily. Black is the percentage play unless he already has a different color; then by all means take a chance! Other colors are easier to find if the wallet is bouncing around in the backpack or if it falls out of his pocket in the dark. Women have known this findability issue for years so learn from them…
7) How versatile does he want his wallet to be in a perfect world?
A: Most leather wallets are not versatile, they can’t get wet without self-destructing shortly thereafter. Nylon wallets are much more versatile especially for a sports-oriented Dad. If he is a weekend warrior then you can buy him one for the weekends and/or one for the work week-he probably never thought of having one for each part of his life or moods but heck women have been doing it for years, why can’t men have a variety of wallets for a variety of occasions?
8) Does he even need a special wallet for a certain occasions?
A: Maybe he needs a leather wallet for work reasons but a alternative material wallet for weekends and sports? A card case wallet for short jaunts to the local pub? A full on motorcycle wallet with chain if he motors around and wants the security of a chain? A travel wallet or a passport holder when he is on the road or in flight? A wallet that needs to hold a checkbook when he is running around with his best bookie. Okay, that can’t happen because your Dad doesn’t gamble right?
9) Is he a divider? Meaning: does he keep cash separate from cards in different pockets?
A: In that case, he would be better off with a card case wallet and a money clip. There are card case wallets with lots of card pockets and some with very few-depends on size preference-if your Dad is concerned with thinness, go with fewer pockets. Most people only use 4-5 plastic cards regularly anyway but if he needs to see more of them, go for the extra pockets so your Dad’s eyesight and finger dexterity stay intact.
10) Does brand matter i.e. does he care if it is a Coach wallet or Walmart wallet?
A: If so, then you are stuck but the cache of a Coach wallet or Prada wallet can go far if Dad cares about these things. If not, a lesser known brand will do but make sure the wallet is of quality construction. At least it’s easier to recognize quality by brand but heck sometimes the name isn’t worthy of the wallet and vice versa. If it says genuine leather, then run bravely away unless you just have to have the cheaper price. Go only with top-grain or full-grain leather if you go for cowhide. Other animal skin leather wallets can be hit or miss.
11) How durable does he need his wallet to be? Does he need the wallet to be fit for a construction site with lots of sweating involved?
A: If so, stay away from leather and go with a nylon material-choose either cordura which is thick and solid or a high density denier weave nylon-the higher the weave count the better the nylon will last. Buy only 200+ denier nylon.
12) How much do you want to spend on a gift wallet? Or how much should I spend on a gift wallet?
A: Wallets can be $9.95 to hundreds of dollars. Okay how much do you love or not love your Dad…kidding aside, don’t spend less than $20 on a gift wallet unless it is a card case wallet. That’s a good baseline figure for a decent enough very affordable wallet-anything beyond that and you are a great son! Lower than that, then you get what you pay for, and your Dad will probably leave you out of his will and spend more time with your brother or sister…
13) I really need more wallet details: How do I know if I am gifting a quality wallet?
A: If choosing leather: Make sure that it is top-grain or full-grain leather not the cheap genuine leather. Top-grain and Full-grain leather are the outer skin of the animal whereas anything citing genuine leather is just a fancy name for the 2nd and 3rd layers of the animal skin that have to be processed heavily to make them look good but they won’t last very long. More info than you wanted right? Bonded leather is even worse. Our apologies to the vegans/vegetarians in the wallet reading audience. If choosing an alternative material-make sure it looks like it will last and if it has a warranty.
Also, if choosing nylon, find out the weave density-anything lower than 200 denier is cheap and will fall apart sooner or later-wallets take a lot of abuse. Make sure the edges of the wallet are double-edged or covered & protected because alternative materials will mostly fray after constant use. If you see a raw edge of material, be very wary because it will tear up and fray over time unless you think your fashion-forward Dad might like that salvage look.
14) I really give up, I can’t decide, I wish my Dad would just tell me which wallet to buy him or just buy it himself and save me the wallet headache. What do I do?
A: It’s okay, we understand and perhaps your Dad will also. A Gift Certificate is the way to go. Retail Stores or most E-tailers offer gift certificates in various denominations. Of course, your Dad will now know how much you were willing to pay for his new wallet so it’s your family life call. Happy Shopping and thanks for reading.