There are several items in existence that are universally used and carried, the wallet and mobile telephone being two obvious examples. Having such items on your person will allow you deal with any communications and financial needs that may arrive, but they cannot do very much else.
It is wise for a gent to consider carrying with him certain items that will form part of a ‘Gentleman’s Toolkit’. Such a tool kit comprises of a selection of useful items that will help you deal with unexpected situations or emergencies.
Pen Knife - A pen knife can be used for all sorts of things, from cutting and peeling fruit through to trimming loose threads from clothing. My own preference is to carry a Swiss Army type knife with not only a blade, but also a pair of screwdriver heads (oddly, I fix a lot of door handles with mine) and maybe a corkscrew, but a regular single bladed pen knife is just as handy. See my post about pen knives for further detail.
Handkerchief – Not be confused with the pocket square which is for decorative purposes only. Paper handkerchiefs just don’t cut it. They look cheap and get fluff all over your clothing. A proper cotton or linen handkerchief is much more practical. You probably know the reasons why you might use it (gooey ones, mainly), but you can (and should) offer to others if need they need to make use of it too – only so long as it is clean and unused! Offering your handkerchief to someone who needs it will be a highly appreciated gesture. Remember, a gentleman will never ask for his handkerchief to be returned after he has loaned it to someone.
Change - Specifically the cost of one bus/train journey home. This will allow you to get home should you lose your wallet.
Stamps - It’s always useful to have a book of stamps in your wallet, particularly if you are the type (like me) who writes a letter and never gets round to posting it. Having a supply of stamps on hand solves this problem.
Notebook - A small pocket sized notebook to take down notes, addresses and phone numbers is always useful. I have a preference for Moleskine notebooks. They come in a variety of sizes and are incredibly hard wearing. They may be more expensive than supermarket notebooks, but they are worth it and are quite stylish (as notebooks go).
Pen - A good pen, like a good watch can do wonders for your image and will make writing more pleasurable. A decent pen is not that expensive. For example, you can buy a quality Parker or Shaefer pen for as little as â‚¬20. You could spend more and get a fountain pen, but they require more maintenance and you run the risk of the ink leaking and damaging your clothing. A decent refillable roller ball pen is all you need.
Breath Fresheners – A small pocket sized pack of breath mints should be an essential part of every gents pocket tool kit. A hearty lunch could impart a nasty aroma to your breath, particularly if you’ve been eating garlic or onions. Having breath fresheners to hand will help alleviate such oral assaults.
Torch – You can buy tiny L.E.D. torches that fit on your key ring for a few Euros (see image above). Despite their small size they are surprisingly powerful. These torches are amazingly useful, they can be used to locate things in dark corners or provide illumination during an unexpected power cut.
Visiting Cards - Not to be confused with its more modern cousin the business card, the visiting card (a.k.a. the calling card) is simply a card with your name on it. In times gone by the visiting card would be used a tool of etiquette, something used by a servant to announce their masters arrival. As time progressed they became a way for gentlemen to exchange details. If you were to pass one to someone, at the very least they would like to know your name, it is up to you to volunteer further details. You could provide such details such as your address or phone number by writing on the reverse of the card. There is something so very old fashioned yet undeniable appealing about visiting cards. if you pass out visiting cards to new acquaintances you will certainly be remembered.
Visiting cards are surprisingly cheap to produce, most on-line printing services can produce a few hundred for around â‚¬20. To order some just ask for a business card, that has only your name on it. Harder to find are cases for you r visiting cards, business card cases are the same and will work, but they are hard to get. The best place to look for such and item is your local jeweller or maybe on eBay.
Of course, when choosing what to carry you can pick and choose those items which suit your circumstances the best. To carry all these items may upset the line of your suit, so try to anticipate that what you feel you may need and prepare accordingly.
Do you carry any items with you on a regular basis that help you solve unexpected problems? If so please leave a comment and share your experiences.