We are unabashed fans of the wallet. An expertly crafted billfold, whether for the back pocket of one’s favorite jeans or carefully housed within a bespoke jacket, is a portable filing cabinet and easy safe-house for your currency, cards, receipts, and notes.
However, there are times when less is more and leaving your wallet at home is the right choice. Going light when headed to the beach or attending a black tie gala and seeking an unencumbered evening are but two examples of when the humble money clip plays to its minimalist strengths.
Wrangling the essentials – ID, a card or two, and some cash – is an easy task for most clips. For some devoted adherents, the money clip itself has replaced their wallet altogether. For those who seek a pared down approach to life, it’s the perfect alternative to a billfold of any kind. The options are myriad and depend only on need, taste, and material.
The classic sterling silver money clip is iconic in its own right. Engine turned, plain, or monogrammed, this timeless accessory is always appropriate and often a cherished gift. And, after a lifetime of dings and scratches have imparted a personal and worn patina, this talisman transformed into a beloved heirloom. One potential shortcoming is the loss of spring and grip, especially if it is used as a wallet alternative subject to repetitive overfilling. Regardless of your cash on hand, keep contents to a minimum to maintain its proper shape and structure.
A modern take on the classic form can be found with a carbon fiber money clip. These slick versions are lightweight yet incredibly strong and often block RF signals that could potentially snatch credit card data. Carbon fiber clips are durable, practical, and pair well with a more urban, contemporary lifestyles.
Another option is the leather money clip. Often flexible and secured with a magnet, these are best for cash only – particularly in the United States – as it may adversely affect a credit card’s magnetic strip. This style is inherently more casual and well-suited for daily use. The magnetized closure also reduces the potential concern about the clip losing its strength. Leather maker Frank Clegg, a preeminent craftsman based in Massachusetts, makes some beautiful examples.
As a rule, we don’t like the awkward hybrid wallet-money clip creations. They never seem to be particularly practical and we find them almost always to be lacking aesthetically. However, as with any personal aspect of style, it’s all about individual taste and preference. Whatever you choose, find something that speaks to your tastes and needs and hold on to it for a while.
Below are a few more examples of money clip we find particularly attractive, including a remarkable one that belonged to Marilyn Monroe’s make-up artist, Whitey Snyder.