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I purchased this Bellroy Sleeve Wallet four years ago. It’s a true minimalist wallet that is slim, attractive and has great craftsmanship. But it’s not for everyone.
If you’re interested in downsizing your current wallet (and life) here are my thoughts.
TRULY MINIMALISTIC. When I first decided to buy a smaller wallet I was a little worried because I wondered if I would have enough room for what I ‘needed’?
The problem is most men – me included – don’t ‘need’ all the stuff we thought we did. So I sat down and thought about the cards I used the most in my life – I was really trying to look at it from an 80/20 perspective.
I ended up paring it down to:
- 1 credit card (which is all you should ever have)
- 1 debit card (for withdrawing cash if needed)
- Drivers license
- Health insurance
That’s it. I think you could comfortably fit one more card if needed – but this is truly a minimal wallet.
I haven’t had any issues over the last four years of not having the old cards I got rid of.
In short – the Bellroy is the anti-George Costanza wallet. Less than half a penny thick. Roughly 3 7/8 inch long by 2 1/2 inches wide.
LOOKS GREAT. The fact that it’s a minimal wallet also makes it look great. You can’t carry a lot so there’s no bulkiness or lumpiness to it.
DEVELOPS PATINA AND ELASTICITY. Over time the leather has definitely taken on a patina. Which has made it look great.
It’s the only wallet that I’ve gotten compliments on when I’ve pulled it out to pay for things.
One of my concerns when I bought it was that the leather might be a bit too tight to comfortably fit my cards in and pull them out. So, early on the pull tab was a great option that I used. But over time the leather became more elastic to the point that I can simply reach in the top to pull out any card I need without any trouble.
GREAT CRAFTSMANSHIP. If you look at the wallet you’ll notice it’s made from one piece of leather. It’s essentially folded over and stitched on two sides. I figured that if the wallet had any weak points it would be with the stitching. But I haven’t had any issues at all and am really happy with the overall craftsmanship of the wallet.
SLIM ALL THE WAY AROUND. I had looked at other slim wallets before purchasing the Bellroy. One of the things that always turned me off (other than the obvious decrease in quality and craftsmanship) was that they tried to include ‘money clips’ or some such on one side of the wallet.
Most of the time the clips were metal making them bulky and uncomfortable to have in your pocket.
I wanted something slim and smooth and the Bellroy fits the bill perfectly.
MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER SLIM WALLETS. You can absolutely buy cheaper wallets. At $54.95 it may scare some people off. But, read The Good above. Like a lot of things in life you get what you pay for.
PULL TAB NEVER USED. I think the pull tab is a nice option to have and I did use it when I first had the wallet because the leather was a bit more taut which made getting my cards out with my fingers a bit more difficult (but still doable). But I haven’t used it in years.
Personally, I could do without it.
CAN GET CUMBERSOME FOLDING BILLS. If you’re the type of guy that’s wants to carry a lot of cash then you’ll want to carry it separately. The Bellroy is a true minimalist.
You can carry cash (as you can see from the picture) – but not a lot. If you do – and I have for short periods of time – it will start making the wallet lumpier (which I don’t like) and will also stretch out the leather in one spot (which I don’t want).
How much cash can you carry? I’ve never measured. But I prefer – based on the comfort and looks factor – to keep it to no more than five individual bills folded in quarters and stuck in one of the outside pockets.
Also, when you pull your cash out to make a purchase you do have to take the time to fold it in quarters to get it back in the billfold.
My Overall Thoughts
I would never go back to even a mid-sized wallet.
This Bellroy wallet has been great on every front for what I needed – which was a nice, slim, sleek wallet that is designed to hold a bit of cash and a few cards. The craftsmanship is top notch – great leather and stitching.
I could do without the pull tab personally – but maybe some owners find it helpful.
Bottom Line: if my wallet were ever stolen the first thing I’d do (after cancelling my credit and debit cards) is buy another Bellroy.