Ode to my Hobo International Wallet

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I was slow to get on to the quality leather goods train. I worked for five years for Express, and so during that time I seemed to buy a new bag every month when they gave us 55% off. When I lived with my sister, our apartment's hallway was decorated with my purse collection. Cow print, red snakeskin, sequins, beading… you name it I had it. But all of them were cheap and either destroyed or dated by the end of the season.

My wallet was no exception. For YEARS I lived with a microfiber wallet from The Limited. I think I paid $9.99 for it, I remember grabbing it from the lucite sale bin on the counter while buying a few pairs of their Drew trousers. It was… fine. I liked all the pockets and compartments. When it broke, I will admit I “fixed” it with some black electrical tape that I thought matched the patent trim quite nicely.

I know. I know.

Well a couple years ago, Nordstrom had one of their lovely half-yearly sales and I saw a mustard-colored Hobo International wallet in the sale bin. It had everything I desired – change purse with two sections, a place for bills, a window for my ID, places for credit cards, and tons of space for randomness. I loved the color too – different without being gaudy, fun without being overly trendy, and easy to find at the bottom of a deep dark slouchy purse.

Since then, my Hobo International wallet has seen some hard times. It experienced leaking bottles of pumped breast milk, a tube of toothpaste that decided to commit suicide, my endless collection of medium-tipped black ball point pens that I carry in case I have the desire to write about bad fashion on the road, and some Orbit gum that melted while my bag was stuffed in the glove compartment during Bonnaroo.

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I gave all my change to a homeless dude this A.M.; usually my wallet is bulging with quarters for meters and when I am thisclose to the right fare for the Metro…

I try to clean it up, and I keep on trucking with my beloved wallet.  

Because it is perfect

And I don't think Hobo International makes this wallet any more. There are many other lovely wallets on their site, but none in the same style as my baby.

I found out that Hobo International is having a Sample Sale later this month, and their headquarters is in Annapolis, Maryland. I am totally making the trek to it. Maybe I will find a replacement wallet, maybe I will find a new bag for winter. Whatever I get, I bet it will be as well made and smartly designed as my lovely mustard wallet!


A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. MUST MAKE IT TO THE SAMPLE SALE!!! My sister and I go every time, and be sure to get there early, it’s a madhouse and there will be a line to get it because its awfully tiny! Can’t Wait!!

  2. I had a mustard yellow Hobo International wallet until a few weeks ago, when my purse was stolen while I was getting a mani/pedi. I miss it terribly (not to mention the contents)! I got it for 20 pounds at Anthropologie in London this past spring. I’m on the lookout for a new wallet, but I don’t think I’ll find that combination of cool color, high quality leather and very low price here in Paris.

  3. My best friend has this wallet and has carried it forever! I have never been a huge fan of purses but a few years ago I bought a clean, simple leather bag loved it. I realized that I only love very clean simple, understated bags made of really luxurious leather. So while I think I may only own four bags, they all fit that criteria and I love them – plus they last a long time and often the leather looks better as it ages.

  4. LOVE my hobo Lauren wallet. It was the first quality non-mom purchase I made after my daughter was born nearly 5 years ago. My purse was stolen last December and the biggest loss wasn’t my camera or flip video camera or cell phone…it was my hobo. It took until Mothers Day to get it replaced with another Lauren.

    Seriously, I would be lost without it. Good luck at the sample sale. Wish I could go too.

  5. I read your post. I love it! The subject matter is close to my heart. Not only is that my favorite wallet too, but I also work for Hobo International. You know, we make that wallet again – but to mix it up, we changed the hinge to a kiss-lock. See here: http://www.hobobags.com/Diane/pd/np/12/p/1483.html

    If you really are going to make the trek to our sample sale, and I hope you do…ask for me, Jackie. I will hook you up with a new wallet!

    Thank you for posting. I really enjoyed reading it.

    PS/ Loved the concert ticket stub in your coin purse…..you should see how many I have stuffed in mine.

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