You’ve seen him here, you’ve seen him there – that Chap who flows through life like a shark in the water. with barely a ripple. The embodiment of sartorial elegance and purposeful intelligence, an individual so elevated as to be almost beyond envy and beyond desire. To observe him is to sit in the silence of non-description, a drifting veil of unrelieved despair, marked only by a rending within, and the knowledge, the certainty, that you will never be him.
And then it happens, an act so everyday as barely to deserve mention, and yet you know that in this one gesture that he will be remembered until your terminal breath, for this Chap, this paragon, draws from his pocket a wallet like a blighted tuber. This is not an article that carries the patina of age, the marks of life well lived, it is something that has been clumsily chewed and discarded – and in this revelatory instant his house of cards is dashed upon the sartorial rocks, leaving nothing but his faulty truth, and the maxim ‘Details maketh the Man’.
Like many seemingly humble elements in one’s clothing life, the wallet’s size is no reflection of its import. A Chap may trundle through the world like a shambolic elephant, but if he has his feet plugged into a pair of Trickers, totes a Fox umbrella, and suspends his trews by means of Albert Thurston braces, then his mute authenticity is laid bare. Much the same can be said by one’s choice of wallet; it is not merely a base instrument, it is a statement of intent and approach.
A simple way to avoid any malevolent faux pas is to fill your pocket with an Ettinger wallet. For they are a company of singular clarity, producing bearers of cash and cards the equal of any. There is little in the way of bells and whistles to their products. They are simple, well made, and do their duty with a quiet dignity down the years, just like the company, which first drew breath in 1934 when Gerry Ettinger established it. Although Gerry continued working until well into his 80s, this family-run business was eventually headed up by his eldest son, Robert, in 1990. And following his father’s lead, Robert has further ‘internationalised’ the company, yet without affecting the quality of the craftsmanship. In July 1999, Ettinger acquired one of Walsall’s oldest leather goods manufacturing companies, James Homer Ltd (est. 1890). The business is now at the heart of their hand-made manufacturing process, and home to some of the most skilled leather craftsmen in Britain.
And while the firm continues to stretch its legs in many design and geographical directions – an approach that has seen them receive both a Royal Warrant and Wimbledon Licence – the most important fact is that, when drawing your Ettinger wallet from your pocket, like a rabbit from a hat, your dignity will remain intact, and your truth will be plain for all to see.