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Is it a Purse or a Wallet? We Dissect the Differences

The real difference between wallets and purses is capacity. Purses can hold more and are easier to carry in some cases. Wallets, on the other hand, are made to be your go-to when you need only the essentials.

In what seems like forever, women have struggled to find the right way to carry their belongings on a daily basis.

  • Do we carry just the essentials?
  • A card and keys?
  • Do we need a giant tote bag that allows us to carry snacks, makeup, and a change of clothes?
  • What is the right way to carry our items?

A nice wallet can offer everything that you need as long as what you need is the bare minimum, which has caused many modern wallets to verge dangerously into purse territory over the years.

Conversely, some purses have shirked their large and obnoxious siblings and shrunk themselves down to mirror their wallet counterparts.

So, what is the difference between a purse and a wallet? Here’s my take.

What is a Purse?

A purse is the closest thing that you will ever find to Hermione’s enchanted bag in Harry Potter. These mythical containers come in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately still find a way to have a few loose mints at the bottom.

Collection of mostly purses on chair.
One of these sure to haul everything but the kitchen sink.

Purses are bags that can hold anything from a simple cell phone and wallet all the way to a laptop and approximately three smoothies. They are generally the right choice if you plan on spending the day on the move or planning to run away to another country.

At the end of the day, what separates them from wallets is their capacity.

What is a Wallet?

Inside a wallet, you will find different things depending on the person. You might be the straight-laced kind of no-nonsense person who only has their debit card and ID inside of their wallet. Or you might be carrying a graveyard of half-used rewards cards and a picture of your childhood dog.

We all get to decide what is in our wallet, but not everything will fit in such a small space. You might have cash, cards, identification, or coins. Some wallets even have space for chapstick and other lovely little additions. It varies from one wallet to the next.

collection of wallets and purses on chair
Wallets of all shapes and sizes, from a coin purse to a phone wallet to the tiniest and slimmest of card holders.

In some cases, wallets can be limited. They tend to only hold a few cards or perhaps some cash. Still, modern wallets have adapted to suit modern needs.

Now, a wallet can protect your credit card from being scanned or pull apart to reveal a full collection of approximately twenty cards, and they don’t stop there.

In this day and age, we have wallets that are known as wristlets. These wallet-purse hybrids can hold all your cards and a cell phone too if you are lucky. Some even have a second pocket that can hold a bit of lip gloss if you don’t mind it rattling around with your loose change.

The modern wallet has grown to suit our needs, making it easier than ever to reach for before we head out.

The Difference

In the end, the real difference between wallets and purses is capacity. Purses can hold more and are easier to carry in some cases. Wallets, on the other hand, are made to be your go-to when you need only the essentials.

Both kinds of products have a place in our lives, but the good news is that we don’t need to choose. In fact, your wallet might just enjoy taking a ride inside your purse sometimes too!

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