Broke and Bespoke

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Chester Mox Wallets are 20% off until March 26th (code: MAR20DISC)
I had quite a scare yesterday when I was on my way out the door to work and realized my wallet wasn’t in my pocket. I’m not one who usually removes his wallet each day, and since I’ve been wearing the same Red Cotton Denim jeans every day for I-don’t-know-how-long (though I did just wash them), it was a shock to find it missing.
I looked around the house, and the usual places I might leave it on those rare occasions when it does come out of my pocket for reasons other than to access its contents, turned up nothing. I thought back to the last place I’d used it, and gave them a call to see if it was in their possession. No one answered, so I left a message. A sense of panic ensued.
After the initial terror of identities theft-ed, dollars spent-ed, and uncashed checks cashed-ed (I’ve never lost a wallet before—it’s very unlike me…) had subsided, I checked to make sure there had been no bizarre purchases made using my credit and debit cards. There weren’t. After ensuring that my beleaguered finances were safe, the first thought that popped into my head was “damn…now I have to replace my Chester Mox wallet, and you can’t just buy the patina on some Ilcea ‘Antique’ (read museum) calf that comes from over a year of daily use…” I jest, since the patina is quite subtle, but it is true that my mind turned quite quickly to the dilemma (opportunity?) of replacing my then-missing wallet.
Having cycled quickly through panic, followed by the crassest sort of materialism, disgust was the next stage in my off-beat grief cycle. That, too, was soon overcome as I pulled up the Chester Mox website to see what I might buy to replace my missing wallet. I was delighted to see that everything at Chester Mox was on sale for 20% off, and was deciding between buying this Forest Green Horween Chromexcel ‘Dual Side Wallet’ or this Forest Green Horween Chromexcel ‘Slim Wallet’ when my phone rang. To my relief (though I admit it was tinged with some regret, since the green wallets looked so tempting…), it was the store where I’d last used my wallet letting me know that someone had turned it in (I owe the world a good deed), with all contents intact, to their lost and found, and it was sitting in their safe for me to come pick up.
Ironically, I think the mechanical gesture of pocketing my wallet after each use was interrupted yesterday when the person in front of me in line had left their debit card behind. I ran after him to return it, and must have left my own wallet near the register while doing so. Needless to say, I’m really happy to have my wallet back, but may now be forced to take advantage of Chester Mox’s sale and get myself one of those nice green Chromexcel numbers. I guess I can justify it by telling myself that 20% off of $70 is a small price to pay for a lost wallet being returned with nothing missing. Oh, how a passion for menswear is corrupting… 

Chester Mox Wallets are 20% off until March 26th (code: MAR20DISC)

I had quite a scare yesterday when I was on my way out the door to work and realized my wallet wasn’t in my pocket. I’m not one who usually removes his wallet each day, and since I’ve been wearing the same Red Cotton Denim jeans every day for I-don’t-know-how-long (though I did just wash them), it was a shock to find it missing.

I looked around the house, and the usual places I might leave it on those rare occasions when it does come out of my pocket for reasons other than to access its contents, turned up nothing. I thought back to the last place I’d used it, and gave them a call to see if it was in their possession. No one answered, so I left a message. A sense of panic ensued.

After the initial terror of identities theft-ed, dollars spent-ed, and uncashed checks cashed-ed (I’ve never lost a wallet before—it’s very unlike me…) had subsided, I checked to make sure there had been no bizarre purchases made using my credit and debit cards. There weren’t. After ensuring that my beleaguered finances were safe, the first thought that popped into my head was “damn…now I have to replace my Chester Mox wallet, and you can’t just buy the patina on some Ilcea ‘Antique’ (read museum) calf that comes from over a year of daily use…” I jest, since the patina is quite subtle, but it is true that my mind turned quite quickly to the dilemma (opportunity?) of replacing my then-missing wallet.

Having cycled quickly through panic, followed by the crassest sort of materialism, disgust was the next stage in my off-beat grief cycle. That, too, was soon overcome as I pulled up the Chester Mox website to see what I might buy to replace my missing wallet. I was delighted to see that everything at Chester Mox was on sale for 20% off, and was deciding between buying this Forest Green Horween Chromexcel ‘Dual Side Wallet’ or this Forest Green Horween Chromexcel ‘Slim Wallet’ when my phone rang. To my relief (though I admit it was tinged with some regret, since the green wallets looked so tempting…), it was the store where I’d last used my wallet letting me know that someone had turned it in (I owe the world a good deed), with all contents intact, to their lost and found, and it was sitting in their safe for me to come pick up.

Ironically, I think the mechanical gesture of pocketing my wallet after each use was interrupted yesterday when the person in front of me in line had left their debit card behind. I ran after him to return it, and must have left my own wallet near the register while doing so. Needless to say, I’m really happy to have my wallet back, but may now be forced to take advantage of Chester Mox’s sale and get myself one of those nice green Chromexcel numbers. I guess I can justify it by telling myself that 20% off of $70 is a small price to pay for a lost wallet being returned with nothing missing. Oh, how a passion for menswear is corrupting… 

"Sitting  round ‘dem conference table…" —Terry Ganzie (from the soundtrack of my youth, circa 1993)

"Sitting  round ‘dem conference table…" —Terry Ganzie (from the soundtrack of my youth, circa 1993)

Chester Mox: Leather Wallets Handmade in the U.S.A.

I recently received a wallet to review from the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team that runs Chester Mox. Chester Mox offers a wide-ranging assortment of handmade leather wallets that run the gamut from eminently affordable (even by my standards) sleeve-style wallets like this $39 “dogleg” number made from Horween Chromexcel leather, cleverly designed simple multi-pocket slim wallets like this $60 Horween horsehide one, all the way up to more limited run pieces like this $240 dark green Horween shell cordovan slim bifold wallet, or this $360 American alligator bifold.

I first heard about Chester Mox about a year ago when they were written up on PutThisOn!, at which point I immediately placed an order for this $44 dogleg wallet made out of Horween Front Quarter Horsehide. I’ve been carrying it every day since I received it (until the review wallet arrived) and it is breaking in beautifully. The simple and robust construction has had no problems despite the wallet having been slipped in an out of overly-tight jeans and pants pockets thousands of times. The thick nylon stitching remains tight in the same places where it was originally stiched on by hand, and the handpainted edges of the thick leather look as good as new, though with a bit more character now. And the smooth horsehide has been tastefully darkened by the oils from my hands. 

The wallet I received from Chester Mox for review is this more refined compact bifold made out of an exceptionally fine high-grade Italian calf which Chester Mox calls “Antiqued.” It is the same leather that John Lobb and Hermes uses for their “Museum Calf” products. This wallet is absolutely stunning, and is probably the nicest leather accessory I’ve ever handled, and I’m not being hyperbolic. It has been beautifully hand burnished, and has subtle color gradations that give it a deeply luxurious look. It reminds me of what a finely bound and covered renaissance incunabula must have looked like, and I’ve no doubt it could weather the passage of centuries and only get finer with age. The wallet has been elegantly and simply designed, and has slots to hold 4 cards (you could of course stack cards if you want, and the leather would no doubt stretch to accomodate that) and two additional ‘hidden’ pockets where you can stash your cash and more cards if necessary.

The wallet is very compact, but it is not dainty, and it feels quite solid in the hand. And it slips easily into the interior chest pocket of a suit jacket without creating any kind of unsightly protuberance. Chester Mox offers a laser etching service for an additional $10, and there are numerous fonts you can choose from. The laser etching on both my Chester Mox wallets is precise, and was perfectly executed. 

What I really appreciate about Chester Mox is their wide range of products and the very reasonable pricing structure they have in place. There are some other companies around that sell very similar wallets to Chester Mox’s simpler offerings, and they charge about twice as much, and have a narrower selection of leathers to choose from and no personalization options. That makes Chester Mox a no-brainer for me. And with the holidays fast-approaching, a Chester Mox wallet would make an amazing gift for a friend, loved one, or family member.

Chester Mox: U.S.A. Designed and Crafted

I just received a beautiful wallet in the mail courtesy of the good folks at Chester Mox. Their leather goods are all handcrafted in Southern California using some of the world’s finest leathers from Horween and other famed tanneries across Europe. This wallet is made using Chester Mox’s “Antiqued Italian Calf,” which is, to my knowledge, the same leather Hermes calls Museum Calf.

I’ll be posting a full review with more pics in the near future, but my initial impression is highly favorable. I’ve owned this Chester Mox wallet for almost a year now (which I would gladly pay the full retail price for anyday—a steal at $40), and it’s been my favorite wallet ever…until now.

Taken with instagram
Friday’s ‘necessities’…The pen is a 1937 Parker Vacumatic.

Taken with instagram

Friday’s ‘necessities’…The pen is a 1937 Parker Vacumatic.

I picked up a new wallet this weekend. I was browsing in an expensive stationary store, but found it to be reasonably priced ($18), especially relative to other things in the same store—$20 soft-bound notebooks, etc. I think it’s meant to hold cards, but that works well for my needs. It’s a little bulkier than my Chester Mox wallet, and is clearly a little more onerous to use, but it’ll be nice to have it to carry when the mood strikes.