Dandy & Dapper
A sartorial query for you. As I imagine might be the case with a number of your readers, I am required to keep receipts for business lunches and taxis and these tend to pile up over the month. I carry a slim credit-card holder rather than a wallet, which doesn't accommodate a large quantity of paper detritus and consequently at month's end I find myself staring at a mountain of crumpled and torn pieces of paper and illegible taxi receipts. Is there a convenient solution? I have well-made suits and do not wish to carry around bulking items, which may detract from the silhouette, but I can't continue to use my pockets as dumping ground for the offal of my expenses.
Mr Dapper: It's not a sartorial issue so much as a personal administration problem. The only way to rid yourself of a receipt pile-up is to empty your wallet and pockets more regularly than once a month. In fact, you should get into a habit of sorting through your receipts when you arrive at your desk each morning, or after lunch, or do it as the last task of each work day. Once you fall into a routine, it will be less of a daunting chore. Alternatively, make it a Saturday morning ritual, especially for those weekends when you're otherwise hungover and useless from the previous night's excesses. To aid the process, you don't need a new wallet, you need a file or folder (available from any stationery shop, or the supplies cupboard down the hall). As you become more organised, I would also ask you to consider how much you really need to keep. If you find yourself collecting then throwing away, say, 7-Eleven receipts without ever looking at them, then don't take them at the point of sale at all.
Mr Dandy: You're not alone, dear reader. Receipts are second only to coins when it comes to suit-ruining junk. The truth is there is no actual magic wallet that will swallow up the bulk of bits of paper, so dumping early and regularly is the best solution. However, there are some accessories that will serve you better than a) what you have at the moment; and b) Dapper's rant. There's a key word in there; so-called 'magic' wallets are like cardholders but with a nifty contraption of criss-crossing elastic that makes it easy to, magically, slip receipts (and cards) into an expandable section. It's also cool for party tricks. They're not easy to find, so I've sourced a few locally for you. For cheap and funky, head to American Eagle Outfitters for its Plaid Leather Flip wallet (HK$160; Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2730 6939). For no-nonsense black leather, get yourself the Expenses wallet by Links of London (HK$750; Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, tel: 2317 1613). For another solution, shall we take this outside? Carrying a nice leather portfolio or briefcase (no, not a 1970s man bag, thank you), could help some of the time. You don't even need to spend a fortune on a brand name what with the logo-free leather accessories shops around Hong Kong these days, such as Campo Marzio Design (HK$130 to HK$450; Gateway Arcade, tel: 3579 2030). I find there's something aesthetically pleasing in having a matching set for my office desk, too. Or use technology to solve the problem with awesome digital document managing programmes, such as Paperless (formerly known as ReceiptWallet) from www.marinersoftware.com or www.macupdate.com. One other correction, Dapper, is that there is a temporary sartorial solution in the form of the old ticket pocket on sports coats. I often use this to collect change and receipts while out and about.