The Essentials: The Card Case

For all the times when you don't need to carry 2 debit cards, 3 credit cards, a library card, or a free 6 inch Subway coupon we present a slimmer alternative: The card case.

Have you ever noticed how women will carry a different purse depending on where they're going? Sometimes they'll choose a giant leather sack with a designer's name on it, and other times they'll opt for a small “clutch” that only carries the bare essentials.

This actually makes a shit-ton of sense, but for some reason us guys haven't picked up on it yet with regards to our wallets. If you're going out for a drink, you don't need to carry your three grocery store club cards, gym membership, your Quiznos card, student ID from college or that credit card for that account you closed two years ago. No, you only need your ID, a credit card, and some cash.

If you're going on a day trip, or going grocery shopping, understandably you're going to need to carry more things in your wallet.

Believe it or not, sitting on a fat wallet all the time can lead to health problems. Piriformis syndrome also known as “fat wallet syndrome” can cause numbness and pain along the sciatic nerve, which makes sense, since if your wallet is two inches thick, one side of your butt is sitting two inches higher. That differential has to be made up somewhere, notably your spine.

But I'm not here to give you a health lesson. We're here to talk about smart style, and having a slim second wallet just makes sense. Have you ever tried stuffing your fat wallet into your pants while wearing a suit? The thin suit material causes the fat wallet to stick way out; not only is it unsightly, it's uncomfortable. You can't carry it in your jacket pocket because of its weight, it pulls down on your coat.

That's where the Flat Wallet from Tagsmith comes in. While there are a lot of options for card case style wallets, Tagsmith's version has the others beat easily.

Tagsmith's Flat Wallet is made of 100% full grain vegetable tanned leather, proudly made in America. In fact, Tagsmiths goods are handcrafted right in Los Angeles.

The Tagsmith workshop, creating a luggage tag.

The Flat Wallet is perfect for a night out, carrying with a suit, or even to just haul the bare essentials while working out. Because it's thin, it easily slides into a front pocket to keep your cash and cards safe if you're in a busy place. It has two compartments: a full size back compartment ideal for a small stack of folded bills, and a front compartment for a couple cards and your ID.

I opted for the natural leather. All of Tagsmith's products, which also include full-sized wallets, iPhone cases, and luggage tags, are available in a variety of colors. But what I like about the natural leather is the development of a patina over time. And if you're like me, you've been carrying the same wallet for six years. This card case is going to look incredible in six years. The patina will make the wallet get darker with a shine that can't be manufactured, only earned.

The best part is they're only $34. Tagsmith has priced these competitively, at what major brands price their card cases at – except those aren't made by hand in LA, they're made by a machine somewhere in Indonesia.

Check out more on Tagsmith's site.

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply December 26, 2011


    I’m a big fan of slim, front pocket wallets. What I like to do is buy a regular back pocket wallets and use the insert that is meant to carry photos. It usually has two visible parts where you can store a drivers license for easy access. I have a license, two debit cards, two credit cards, a Costco card, a student ID and my health insurance card. When I fold it up it’s less than half an inch thick and I can keep cash in the fold. It’s the perfect system for me and has yet to let me down.

  • Reply December 27, 2011


    I actually know a guy who uses a steel brushed business card case as his wallet. It actually looks pretty classy.

  • Reply December 27, 2011


    A few years ago I switched to a slim leather card case that I keep in my front pocket and never looked back. I still manage to carry 2 credit cards, a few business cards, 1 debit card, license, health insurance card, and cash. What else do you really need to carry?

  • Reply December 29, 2011


    I haven’t carried a wallet for years. I prefer carrying my cards and cash in my front pocket. Those 3 inch thick leather monstrosities will throw off your hips and cause back pain when you sit on them for years. At least, that’s what my chiropractor says.

    Plus, a pickpocket is going to have a hell of a time getting in my front pocket without me noticing. 🙂

  • Reply December 30, 2011


    I just got a cool/similar product that has a money clip

    No pocket bulge and fits my license, a credit card, and cash easily
    the downside is that I keep thinking I lost my wallet since it is so small

  • Reply December 30, 2011


    I just got a cool/similar product that has a money clip

    No pocket bulge and fits my license, a credit card, and cash easily
    the downside is that I keep thinking I lost my wallet since it is so small

  • Reply January 1, 2012

    Steve Jones

    I, like the others who have posted, went slim a few years ago and have never looked back. I get mine from the Coach factory store for $15 with the 30% coupons the regularly give out. They have 4 side pockets – 2 on each side – (2 credit cards incase a store doesn’t take Discover, a debit card, and my license) and a center pocket (cash and insurance card). They come in two shades of Brown and black. Perfect for me.

  • Reply January 13, 2012


    I’ve always been a fan of a slim, front pocket wallet. Do you think I could fit 5 or 6 cards in the front pocket of the flat wallet?

  • Reply January 23, 2012


    I use and love my Alden Horween Shell Cordovan slim card wallet. I carry my ID,metro card,Starbucks card,bank card and my insurance card..

  • Reply February 5, 2012


    Let me put in a good word for saddleback’s Leather ID wallet:

    I just bought one and I’m quite satisfied. Thin, durable and well made (full grain leather, garanteed 100 years). I can carry 6 cards (ID included) easily. Only 29$ too.

  • Reply May 14, 2012


    Just received my flat wallet and it looks great, can’t wait to use it for many years. For people looking to buy the wallet it went up in price. It’s now $40

  • […] is not included. Find a sale on a conservative leather tri-fold or a flat card case wallet like the one I have from Tagsmith. Saddleback Leather also makes some nice wallets, and they’re pretty […]

  • Reply October 22, 2013


    Looks like I wasted $20 on a Vans velcro wallet……..

  • Reply May 14, 2015


    The alternative I discovered sometime back is Hursy’s Carbon Fiber Money Clip. Loving it….

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