Product review: Baggallini Teenee wallet purse

One thing about women: our clothes don’t always come with pockets. Or if they do, they’re small and more for aesthetic purposes. Unless you wear cargo pants with huge pockets, chances are, you carry a purse in order to keep your wallet, phone, and other items near you. But what if you don’t want to carry around a purse all the time? The product I’ll review today is the Baggallini Teenee wallet purse.


The Baggallini Teenee wallet purse.

The Teenee is a simple flap-based wallet with multiple pockets and a detachable adjustable strap that lets you carry it as an across-the-shoulder purse or as a belt bag. As wallets go, the Teenee isn’t tiny. Unless you have really big pockets, you probably won’t be able to tuck this into a pocket easily.

This wallet is deceptively simple. Before you even open the wallet, you can see that it has a zippered pocket in the front flap. It’s not huge, but it’s big enough to hold credit cards, change, bills, and so on. So let’s take a look inside.


The Teenee when you open its main flap to reveal the inner pockets.

The flap snaps shut with a little magnetic button. There’s convenience to that, since you don’t have to fuss to get the snap parts to match exactly in order for this to shut. The down side however, is when you have your Teenee stuffed to the gills so the magnets don’t quite touch.

I told you the inside was deceptively simple, yes? Let’s take a look at the actual pockets.


The transparent ID card holder.

First, there is the transparent ID card holder on the flap itself. The holder fits a standard driver’s license or credit card. You can choose to have your ID card faced up or down depending on how you’d like to show your ID to whomever you’re showing it to. I personally prefer to keep my ID in there so that the top of the ID is near the magnet. Since I wear my Teenee with the flap side out, when I open the flap to get to my money, all I have to do is present the flap to the cashier without flipping the flap or turning it around.

You can actually fit a few cards in the transparent window, so if you have things you like to get to easily, like an ATM card, the window may be a convenient place for you.

Note the little pen holder. Most retractable pens should fit in it just fine, with a couple of caveats:

  • The elastic loop is quite loose, so if you have a very narrow pen, it may slip out.
  • The elastic loop is centered on the wallet, so if the pen’s clip is short, you will need to slide it in considerably in order to clip it to the loop.

In my case, I use a Pilot G2 mini pen, as its clip seems to be at the right place to be able to clip onto the loop. I’ve never lost a pen this way yet.

Now let’s take a look at the pockets.


The internal pockets in a Teenee.

Hopefully you can see all the layers of pockets in the photo above. The very front pocket, where my pink cell phone is, is gusseted. It means you can fit items that are thicker. Cell phones certainly work, as do MP3 players. I’ve tested an iPhone in the gusseted pocket, and it fits just fine. If you have a thin digital camera, you may even get those to fit as well.

The pocket layer right behind the cell phone, if you look carefully, is the layer where I keep my money. I fold the bills in half and they fit just fine. I normally keep my change in there as well but be aware that because that particular pocket has no zipper, you might risk occasionally losing some change. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking out my change every few days to keep the wallet light, and it’s also one way to prevent loose change. There is a zippered pocket (we’ll get there in a moment) you can use to stash your change as well.

It’s really hard to see, but behind the pocket with the bills is another unzippered pocket layer. In my case, this is where I keep a tiny notebook (if you care, it’s a Moleskine Volant Mini extra-small softcover notebook). These are perfect for jotting down notes. It’s too small that you can’t see it in the photo, but you could also use a small Post-It notepad or something similar as well.


The back zippered pocket is large enough to easily fit a passport.

Finally, there is the zippered pocket at the very back. There is a ton of room back there, and for travelers, the most relevant is the fact that you can fit a standard-sized passport in that pocket. Because you can zip it up, it provides a little extra security as you hide it away. By the way, the zipper hides pockets on both the main body and the flap. I rarely use the flap side, since I’d hate to unzip the pocket and have whatever I’ve got stashed in the flap side fall out, but it’s additional space if you need to keep important things somewhere.

If you think we’re done, you’re wrong! We haven’t looked at the back of this thing.


The back of the Teenee has its own zippered pocket.

As you can see in this photo, the back of the wallet has an additional zippered pocket. This is very convenient if you need to keep something in your wallet that you want to get to relatively easily. Maybe you can keep your change there?

Now, let’s look at the rest of the back of this thing. There’s so much going on, I’ve actually labeled the parts for you:


The back of the Teenee wallet, with parts labeled.

In addition to the zipper you see running across the back for the pocket I just mentioned, there is a super-secret unnoticeable card slot right in front of the zipper. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d assume it was just the hem for the zipper! The clever thing is that this little card slot is sized to fit a credit card. Once I realized the convenience of this little card slot pocket, I’ve used it to stash BART (train) tickets and bus tranfers. Visiting a casino? I stash my loyalty card and hotel key in there. Visiting a Disney theme park? I put my Fastpass tickets in there. The Teenee would’ve been a full-featured wallet with everything else; there was no need for Baggallini to add this little card slot, but they did, and it’s quite handy (not to mention clever)!

Finally, let’s look at how you carry this thing. Each Teenee comes with a very thin adjustable strap made of the same color and fabric as your wallet. For most people, if you wore it across the chest with the strap fully extended, it will reach your thighs. The strap is that long. If you shortened it as tight as it would go, you would wind up with a tiny over-the-shoulder purse that lands around your elbow level.

If you want to carry this as a sling of any sort, you will want to put the strap on the D-rings on the top. If you want to shorten the strap and wear loosely around your waist, you will want to snap the straps onto the lower set of D-rings. Actually, you could really snap the strap on either set; it would be a matter of personal preference whether you want the wallet riding higher or lower on your waist.

If you are slender, you will find that the strap (even adjusted as short as it’ll go) is still too long for you to wear the Teenee straight across your waist. You will likely wind up wearing it on a slant. And if you’re very slender, you will need to make sure the strap doesn’t fall down past your hips. If this is the case, there are a couple of tricks you can use; the easiest being that you can just tie a knot into your strap to take up the extra length.

See that pair of vertical strapping you see going down the back of the wallet? Those are actually belt loops. So you can go without the strap altogether, and just loop your belt through it and wear it as a true belt bag. Obviously you won’t be able to access the back pockets easily, but wearing it this way (especially if you wear your shirt and jacket over it) would provide some added security.

Finally, since the strap is completely detachable, you could carry this wallet as a real wallet if you have a larger purse to put it in. It’s still smaller than some wallets I’ve seen, full of bulk and taking up a ton of space in the purse. If you want to switch between using it as a wallet-in-your-purse and carrying it as its own little wallet purse, I suggest you always keep the strap and wallet together. In my opinion, the best place for it is that back zippered pocket. It will add a little bulk to your wallet, but that way you will never lose the strap.

This wallet comes in a myriad of colors.


Promotional photo from Baggallini showing all the different colors available for the Teenee.

You could really have your pick of what color you want. There are some pretty neutral travel-friendly colors like black, brown, and khaki. There are some very springlike pastels, robust fall colors, as well as some fashionable colors like that bright red you see in the front. Regardless of the color you pick, all the zipper pulls, D-rings and other components use a brushed silver-toned metal, making these wallets nice enough for going out with. OK so it may not work for the most formal of parties or dinners (although you could probably easily replace the strap with your own wrist chain strap to get it “all dooded up” for a fancy event).

This particular wallet has been in the Baggallini line-up for quite some time. Periodically, they will introduce new fabrics and new colors. The ones they’ve offered in the past (and which you may still find some remaining stock online or in some travel stores) are microfiber, ripstop nylon, and an eco-labeled one that used a couple of plastic bottles each to make. The current fabric with the largest color offering is “crinkle nylon” (that’s the one you see in these photos).


Deborah wears a Teenee across the shoulder (the design is a harder-to-find giraffe print).

With all of these great pockets and features, though, I do have two very specific druthers:

#1: I am not pleased with the placement of the top set of D-rings on the back. I know why they did it. They wanted the short (quarter-inch long) strap that connects the top D-rings to be aligned with the belt loops below for aesthetic purposes. But I’ve actually taken the top D-ring straps apart (all in the name of research!), and there is no actual connection between those D-ring straps and the belt loops. The problem I have is that the top D-rings are very close together. When you wear the wallet across your chest, the straps look “cross-eyed” (for want of a better term) because they are knock-kneed and too close together. I would really prefer that they splinter off from trying to align the D-rings with the belt loops, and simply sew them at the very top of the wallet right into the exterior piping along the edges.

#2: As much as it can hold, it’s still a wallet and not a purse. I really wish they had a slightly larger size that would fit slightly larger digital cameras or a small Moleskine notebook. I’m thinking just an extra half-inch in width would do a lot to open things up, and still have it be small enough to be considered a wallet. [Hey folks at Baggallini, how’s about a slightly larger version to augment your existing model?]

All in all, this is a wonderful little wallet for women. It’s great for everyday use, you can wear it as its own wallet-purse or stick it in a larger purse. Wear it at work so you don’t have to worry about leaving your wallet in your purse as it sits unsecured under your desk. Or tuck your passport in there and head out the door for some hands-free travel.

Guys could even use this as a belt bag. After all, guys often wind up with a wallet in the back pocket, spare change in the front, and cell phone in another pocket or clipped to the belt. You could use a neutral-colored Teenee to keep all of that in one place!

Best of all, you can buy the Teenee at most places for under $20. Whether that’s a special treat splurge or cheap enough for you to buy several different colors to match your outfit, I give the Teenee a huge “way to go” for designing so much creativity and practicality into such a “Teenee” tiny package!

Baggallini Teenee online at a glance:

8 Comments

  1. Oh, I like the idea about wearing it at work. Living in earthquake country it sometimes crosses my mind what would happen with my photo ID locked in my desk on the 15th floor and me in a meeting on the 8th. :-[

    I think I’m sold, just need to decide on a color…this could take a while.

  2. I wear mine at work all the time, mostly because it allows me to keep my phone near me without having to carry it in my hand or using a phone holder. If you carry a laptop bag to work, you could just pop this in the bag while you commute, too. All in all a really nifty little bag.

  3. Jack — I guess you could say this little purse packs a bit punch. I personally tend to like multi-use/hybrid items that are clever and well-designed, and this one happens to be one of them.

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  5. Just one thought. It would be great if it had an optional waist belt if you don’t wear a belt. I actually use a DVD waist pouch to carry my phone and a few things around at work. Works about the same.

  6. Good weblog, just looking around some blogs, appears a fairly good platform you’re using. I am currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to alter one of them over to a platform comparable to yours as a trial run. Anything in specific you would recommend about it?

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