If you’re a millennial or Gen Xer, you might look back on your late 90s and early 2000s self with a sense of pity at how little you knew. So many of us were convinced that George W. Bush was the worst president we could ever possibly have. And, less consequentially but nonetheless significant, the bizarre fashion choices that ruled the aughts are indelibly linked to our memories of that time. But Gen Z, too young to remember Al Gore or the dial-up noise, has taken one FILA-clad foot back into the past and dragged 2000s fashion trends into 2020. That includes chain wallets.
While we can’t defend newsboy caps and weird vests, a chain wallet is actually one of the most wearable aughts trends. If you’re unfamiliar, a chain wallet is a wallet that’s attached to a metal chain with a buckle on the end. Typically, you tuck the wallet into your back pocket and clip the buckle to your front belt loop. Make no mistake, the wallet chain is back — Vogue and Highsnobiety alike have cautiously sung the praises of this controversial accessory. Part of the enduring appeal of a wallet chain is that it’s not strictly a 90s/2000s trend. Whether it’s zoot suits wearers in the 40s, bikers in the 50s or punks in the 70s, the chain wallet has often been adopted by those seeking to project a sense of rebelliousness.
Besides being a style statement, chain wallets are practical. They make your wallet simultaneously easier to access but harder to steal. If the wallet falls out of your pocket, you can easily pull it back up. Many chain wallets also have zippers or buckles, keeping your cash and cards even more secure. Some of our favorite options take their styling from the crossbody bag trend (yet another aughts revival); these wallets are designed to be worn over one shoulder near the waist. And if you prefer something classic and biker-inspired, brands like Dickies make hardwearing takes on the style. From fashion-forward chain wallets to vintage and rugged, these are the best chain wallets to get.
1. OFF-WHITE Black Logo Chain Wallet
For a subtle streetwear flex, consider this chain wallet from OFF-WHITE. The typically pronounced quote text of OFF-WHITE’s branding is replaced by a small white logo against the black leather background. The zippered wallet has two card pockets, and the metal chain has a leather buckle clasp for fastening to your belt loops. The chain is attached to the wallet itself with a buckle through a loop, meaning it can be removed if you’d rather carry it without the chain.
2. Dickies Men’s Bifold Chain Wallet
In terms of classic, affordable and durable, it’s hard to go wrong with Dickies. This wallet is made from genuine leather and has a metal Dickies logo stamped on the bottom. The metal chain adds a rugged look and has a buckle that clips onto belt loops. The wallet itself has a transparent ID slot and multiple card pockets, but its slim profile won’t add too much bulk to your back pocket.
3. MAISON KITSUNÉ Leather Card Holder
BEST CARD SLEEVE
Card sleeves, also called card cases or cardholders, have become increasingly popular alternatives to traditional bi-folds. This versatile option from Maison Kitsune combines the best features of a card case, a zip wallet and a chain wallet. There are four card sleeves on the outside of the wallet, a zippered compartment on top for bills and a chain with a buckle. The tan and black two-tone color makes this wallet more interesting than the standard black or brown.
4. Coach Turnlock Pouch 10
BEST HYBRID WALLET
This leather pouch from Coach is a unique option that sits somewhere between a wallet and a crossbody bag. It can accommodate daily essentials, but it’s small enough to be tucked into another bag or into a jacket pocket. The nylon cord gives it a utilitarian look which contrasts nicely with the classic leather look. The turn-lock fastener provides secure storage for your cards and cash.
5. Harley-Davidson Trucker Wallet
BEST BIKER WALLET
There’s no chopper brand more iconic than Harley Davidson, and this biker wallet is a great way to embrace the biker look. This wallet has traditional biker details like a metal chain and snap buttons for added security. The cherry on top is Harley’s classic orange and white logo embroidered onto the wallet.
6. Acne Studios Strap Wallet
BEST LANYARD WALLET
An alternative to the chain wallet is the lanyard wallet, which allows you to wear the wallet around your neck or carry it in your hand. This option from Acne Studios is made from ripstop polyester in an olive color, giving it a distinctly military-inspired look. Acne’s square-face logo is featured on the front.
7. Pacsafe RFID blocking Bi-fold Wallet
This wallet is made from polyester, making it more flexible than leather. It has five card slots on the inside, including one ID slot. Instead of the traditional shiny silver color used on most wallet chains, this wallet has a more muted matte-black chain.
8. NEIL BARRETT Black Mini Chain Bolt Wallet
BEST MINI WALLET
This small wallet from Neil Barrett has biker-inspired details like snap-closure buttons and a shiny metal chain. The chain has a carabiner-style clip, making it easier to take off than traditional buckles. It has a subtle lightning bolt logo embossed on the front.
9. LOEWE Tan & Green Card Wallet
If you like the functionality of a chain wallet but don’t like the metal look, consider this luxurious option from Loewe. It features a leather lanyard that you can attach to your belt loop, and the small wallet has a zipper for security and multiple slots for storing cards and cash. The tan/olive color and textured surface make it an eye-catching option as well.