What’s In Your Pocket?


Most men are superstitious to some extent. We have our lucky shirt or favorite pair of shoes, a certain tie; maybe even a particular driving route to the office. Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain has a host of lucky objects that travel with him on the campaign trail, one of which is a favorite coin.

This, I can relate to. I have a lucky coin as well – or, to be more precise, some lucky coins. I carry at least one of them wherever I go. It’s not like I must have it with me to leave the house, it’s just that I’m used to carrying one. Usually, it’s a large 50 Franc piece; a memento brought back by my brother from a trip across Europe in the 1970s.

Apart from the coin, I may carry some cash in a lovely sterling silver money clip that was a gift from my wife; otherwise I like to keep my pockets fairly empty. It’s a personal thing – I just don’t like the bulk of having keys or a cell phone jammed into my pockets. If I actually have to take stuff out to comfortably sit down, it’s too much.

What a man carries around in his pockets everyday is definitely telling. Is he a hoarder or a minimalist? What does he consider the necessities of life? This ties in of course with my own penchant for bags, a more logical way of carrying things around.

With dress pants in particular having more than a few small items in your pockets just looks bad. The line of the trousers is thrown off and an odd bulkiness of stretched fabric ensues. Key chains are a big offender. Why on earth someone would feel the need to lug around a ring of sharp, heavy keys in their front pocket escapes me. How is that comfortable?

Some men like to carry a small pocketknife, which can be very handy as long as you’re not rushing to catch a plane. A nice little monogrammed pen knife is a wonderful accessory and a nice heirloom to boot.

A pocket full of change is to me one of those annoying things – as are the people who feel the need to jingle said coins incessantly. Here’s a better idea: get a nice handmade English change case and throw it in your bag.

When it comes to pants pockets, wallets are a major issue. I have no problem carrying mine in a back pocket when it makes more sense than lugging a bag around. Sturdier pants like jeans, khakis and cords are best suited for wallets.

Some men like to keep their wallet in a front pocket. Whether for security or comfort – sitting with a wallet in your back pocket can cause all sorts of spinal issues – just make sure it is a small, thin one. Card cases can be a good alternative to the bulk of a traditional wallet. Dress and suit pants are often not constructed for overstuffed or bulky wallets – let alone a heavy key ring. So give your pants a break.

When getting dressed up, pare down your pocket accessories to a minimum. For example, I have a very nice slim calfskin wallet that I use for formal events. I’ll take my license, credit and bank cards and some business cards; leaving everything else in the main wallet. The lucky coin goes up front and that’s pretty much it. If I’m wearing a jacket, the cell phone goes in an inside pocket. So does the wallet.


Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at OffTheCuffDC.com. A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice


  1. Sir Richard Lim says:

    I have the new gold dollar coin of James Madison that is in my wallet!