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Guide for wearing 1950’s chain wallets– back in trend

If you travel back to 1950's, you will see that wallet chains were an extremely popular accessory. Being functional and at the same time stylish, they helped to secure billfolds in place. These items were especially widespread among bikers. When going for a ride, a biker can easily lose his wallet without even noticing it. However, a wallet chain is able to provide the desired peace of mind ensuring that your wallet is safely fastened to your belt and it is not going to get lost.

wallet chain

The main feature of biker wallets is a massive chain that is attached to a belt loop. The other side of the chain clips on to a wallet, which is equipped with a special grommet. Such a simple system will help secure your wallet and prevent it from falling out of pocket. Have you ever noticed that when you hold a wallet in your back pocket, it slips out when you sit down? If you are not paranoid enough to check your wallet every 5 minutes, you can easily lose it somewhere - in the bar, at the gas station, in an eatery, at a store, etc. However, this will not happen if you have a chain. Even if a wallet slips out of your pocket, it will just hang out at your feet and you will definitely notice it.

In the Victorian era, an owner of a pocket watch wore it on a chain to prevent losing or stealing. Even back then, people understood that valuable items should be attached to the body so that they will not accidentally fall out of their pockets and get lost. Today, the most valuable thing that a person has is his wallet. Indeed, this small case contains everything we need - credit cards, ID, driver's license, money, and other essentials. Losing a wallet is a disaster, especially for a biker touring across the country. Therefore, a wallet chain is not just an ornament, it is a must.

The history of wallet chains

The prototypes of modern wallets were, most likely, bags of animal skin, in which cavemen kept the most valuable items. As you might guess, food was the most important thing for ancient people. So they hanged a small beg with replenishable supplies around their necks, which they constantly carried with them. As you can see, even the ancient people knew that the most valuable items must be kept closer to the body.

The residents of Lydia (the territory of modern Turkey), who learned to mint round silver and gold coins around 640-630 BC, were the first to keep money in special bags. In a more or less modern form, wallets appeared rather late, in the Renaissance. Young English merchants, as described by John Frampton, who lived in the 16th century, looked like this: decently dressed, a sword at his side, and a leather bowgett bag attached to his belt (this is where the word budget came from!). The bag contained coins, receipts and small things for every day.

American men in the 19th century also liked to fasten a wallet to a belt. This was most convenient, especially for cowboys who spent half of their lives in a saddle. Modern cowboys, bikers, also understood that chains are able to keep their wallets in place. In the 1950s, this accessory spread among the steel horse riders across the USA, and from there, it became popular in rest of the world.

In the beginning, wallet chains were purely utilitarian and their main function was to secure a wallet in a pocket. However, in the 1970s, the biker and rock cultures blended in and a wallet chain acquired a new role.

It is no secret that rockers and punks gravitate towards metal ornaments in the form of various jewelry items, accessories, rivets, spikes, studs, and so on. They could not pass by eye-catching metal chains. These rockers have adopted wallet chains from bikers and slightly modified them. While the original biker wallet chains are created for convenience, punks used them as a means of self-expression. To look even more imposing and cool, punks have significantly increased the size of the chains, their length, and massiveness. Sometimes such a chain hanging from a belt reached the knee or even lower. And what a sound it made when walking! The louder the chain jiggled hitting the thigh, the cooler. To enhance the effect, punks began to wear double and even triple chains of different lengths.

In 1980-90, the fashion for wallet chains was picked up by grunge musicians and fans of this musical style. In the early 2000s, when Emo kids poured into the streets, we could also observe a multitude of chains attached to their belts. However, when this subculture gradually faded away, the chains also disappeared from street fashion. The only people who still use wallet chains are bikers. Their style is not subject to the influence of fashion trends. Regardless of whether chains are in vogue among mass audiences or not, this accessory will remain in the biker's fashion arsenal forever.

How do you wear a wallet chain?

Lil Wayne and Linking Park have been showing off this fashion accessory since time immemorial. Once you get used to extra weight at your hip and you know how to rock a wallet chain properly, you will enjoy your appearance and the vibe you emit. Even the jiggling sound won’t bother you anymore. Let’s see how you can properly sport wallet chains:

  • The first step is to attach one end of a chain to the wallet’s grommet. You need to make sure your billfold has such a metal ring for chains. Most of biker wallet designs provide grommets. A wallet chain has two spring hooks attached to both sides. Use either hook to fasten a wallet.
  • The second step is to make sure that the back pocket of your jeans is able to accommodate your wallet. That back pocket should be on the same side of your pants as a loop for a chain. This will provide more convenient access to your billfold. Also, by keeping your chain and a wallet on the same side will prevent excessive chain tension and won’t allow it to get tangled. The choice of the side to hang your wallet chain depends on your dominant hand. If you are a right-handed person, place your chain and wallet at the right. If you are a lefty, choose the opposite location.
  • The last step is to fasten a chain clasp to a belt loop. As you understand, you need a belt that features such a loop. If you don’t have such an item, you can simply attach a spring hook to one of the front loops of your jeans.

Different Styles of Wallet Chains

When we say a biker wallet chain we imply a multitude of design, styles, and models. Chain wallets are available in various sizes including long, short, and medium ones. Don’t know which one to choose? If you are a tall tough man, why don’t you flaunt a long massive chain that emphasizes your imposing physique? If you are lean and not very tall, a short chain will become a perfect match for your appearance. Such chains are also suitable for persons who don’t want o draw unnecessary attention to their wallets.

Besides being different in length, chains’ thickness may vary as well. When combining these two features, you’ll get a variety of styles: long and massive chains, short and thin, long and elegant, short and burly chains. You need to keep in mind that the longer and thinner a chain, the less durable it is. The most sturdy options are short and thick models. They have fewer links than long chains and it minimized the chances that a link may break or get deformed.

When it comes to designs, a wallet chain is more than just a dozen of links attached to each other. Of course, such chains are present and they are considered to be an evergreen classic. However, if you are looking for something more extravagant and eye-catching, you can try on many other designs. For instance, our online store offers various skull wallet chains featuring small skulls instead of links. Another excellent option for eastern mythology buffs is a chain shaped like a dragon. It has prolonged sections that look like intricately carved dragon scales. A dragon head executed with precision and great attention to detail holds a spring hook. If a lion is your totem animal, you can pick a chain with a lion head clutching a ring in its jaws. Such an item will fit a confident and fearless man who wants to emphasize his masculinity. You will also find many motifs popular in the biker culture – the ubiquitous skulls, skeletons, crosses, mythical creatures, feisty animals, tribal and Indian themes, and many others.

As for materials, biker chains are made durable so the most common metal for their production is stainless steel. It doesn’t get rusty, it is sturdy, shiny, and inexpensive. Another popular choice is silver. Such a chain will be much more extravagant but it is worth every penny you spend on it. Unlike steel, silver is a noble metal. A biker rocking a silver chain will command respect and attention. Being made of solid sterling silver, such items are sturdy and durable. They won’t tarnish with time and remain shiny even after years of utilization. Even if your silver item got darker, you can easily clean it with warm water, soap, and baking soda. Various silver treatments allow receiving astonishing designs. For example, thanks to blackening, your silver chain will acquire dimension and expressiveness. If you are looking for something more budget-friendly than silver, there are brass wallet chains as well. They are strong, easy to maintain, attractive, reasonably priced, and feature as many designs as silver and steel counterparts. If you like a cowboy vibe and natural materials, you may also consider getting leather chains. These items are made of durable high-quality cowhide leather and available in various colors – black, grey, brown, red, etc.

The reasons to get a biker wallet chain:

Let’s set things straight – not all bikers wear wallet chains but the ones who do rock them with dignity, appeal, and respect to themselves. They do not ponder on whether wallet chains are in fashion or not. They wear them because they like them. They do not worry what people may say or think because they are not seeking their approval or support. Wallet chains are their fashion choice and they don’t care if others think that they are obsolete or not trendy. The biker community does not obey fashion rules. Motorcycle riders choose their own way in life and the means of self-expression. For a biker, a wallet chain is the same fashionable and essential as massive rings, burly necklaces, and powerful two-wheelers under their saddles.

There are many reasons to get a cool wallet chain if you are a biker. As we have already emphasized, they are necessary to keep you wallet safe when riding or doing your regular routine. Such an item will also prevent pickpocketing because it is impossible to get a wallet out of a back pocket and detach a chain without notice. Those are the main functions of these items but we know many other reasons why a wallet chain can become an awesome addition to your look:

1. Get Your Piece of Mind:

Bikers are known to be tough guys riding badass motorcycles. Everything they own should be tough and cool as well. A part of this tough appearance is a relaxed attitude. Bikers are laid-back, nonchalant, and as cool as a cucumber. They live for the moment and they don’t want to think about negative things that may occur. They don’t wish to worry that something may happen with their possessing. If they can prevent losing a wallet or valuable item, they will do it. Why waste your time on trifles when there are thousands of miles of open road to conquer? So, get yourself a chain, fasten your wallet to your belt, and free yourself of stress and worries.

2. Biker Fashion is Cool:

A biker never wants to be formal or dressed up in starchy outfits. No biker in the world will go for a ride in a three-piece suit. Biker fashion is renowned for being cool and daring, and wallet chains are one of many elements allowing it to be as it is. To rock this style, you should understand where it came from, where it is going, and where your place is in it. You may not be a biker by vocation but you should be a biker at heart. Only open-minded, free from prejudice, and bold people can pull off biker wallet chains. Some people will think they are too loud and jingling, another may believe that chains are out of fashion, and others may consider this accessory not being made for them. However, if you are confident and not afraid to experiment with your look, you can try to pull off a badass biker style. Just remember that massive wallet chains are not for wusses, wimps, and mama’s boys.

    3. Your Wallet is Impossible to Lose:

      OK I get it, I have said it many times already but when it comes to security and preserving your personal belongings, you can’t really go overboard with precaution. So let’s repeat it one more time – a wallet chain is there for you to help keep your wallet where it is supposed to be, in the back pocket of your jeans. Riding a bike is a constant risk. Rushing along a night highway is always associated with risk of an accident. But even if you are not a daredevil there is always a chance that you may lose your wallet. Because of bike’s vibrations, your wallet may just slip from your pocket and you will never find it. Plus, someone may try to steal it because a billfold peeping from your back pocket is an easy target for pickpockets. Security of your belongings is in your hands and you shouldn’t underestimate all the troubles you may incur by losing your wallet and its content.

        4. Wallet Chains Come in Many Options:

          With so many options available on the market, you won’t have to struggle trying to find a chain style that matches your needs to a T. There is a robust selection of sizes, designs, and models allowing you to rock different chains for various situations or occasions. If you’re looking for an inexpensive but trendy item, you can go for a steel chain. If you desire to get something more exclusive and extravagant, check some silver chains out. If you are not a fan of metal items and you want to get an old-school piece, there are leather chains as well. What is cool about wallet chains is that you can create your own piece, customize an off the shelf product, or order a bespoke accessory.

          5. Wallet Chains are Timeless:

          Biker fashion has no trends per se so it is evolving according to its own rules. Let’s look at bikers the way they were 70 years ago. What can you see? Powerful motorcycles, leather jackets, weathered jeans, tattoos, wallet chains. Now look at modern bikes and you will understand that they look exactly the same. They still rock rugged leather jackets, still saddle mean machines, and they still pull off wallet chains. Their look has formed in the XX century and it is remained unchained in the new millennium. So, if you sport a chain as a part of your biker look, you can be sure it will ever go out of style.

          6. There are Many other Ways to Utilize a Wallet Chain:

          Just so you know, a wallet chain is not only an essential biker accessory but also a versatile item that may come in handy in many situations. For instance, if you have a thick and heavy chain and you are attacked, you may use it as a means of self-defense or even weapon. If you have spent all your money and you are looking for a way to earn a couple of bucks, you can pawn an expensive silver chain or trade if for something valuable. Find out about more ways to utilize your chain in our Unconventional ways to use a wallet chain article.

          Endnote

          Now you know that a biker wallet chain is not just an accessory. It has a very important function to keep your wallet on you all the time. You can’t be careless when it comes to your money, belongings, and personal stuff. You don’t need any intricate gimmicks to protect your wallet from stealing or losing. When having so many nice designs on the market, you can easily find a model to match your personal style and sense of fashion.

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