Inspired by a request posted to my tumblr ‘lookbook’ blog, I present a guide to all the different ways in which men can carry their keys around without the usual fuss and bother.

For those who don’t regularly look at my tumblr (and why not?) the request I received from staysharpstaycool went something along the following lines:

“What’s a good way to carry keys? I have a carabiner right now, but I find it more annoying than helpful. Any suggestions?”

Okay, so let’s see if we can’t find a potential solution. Let’s start off with…


Alright, it seems like a bit of a cop-out, but don’t neglect the power of the pocket. You can stow an awful lot of minutiae in there without much hassle. Just remember the golden rule: don’t overstuff! Bulging pockets are most ungainly, ruin the slender line of your clothing and, in extreme instances, distort the weave of the material permanently.

Also, if you don’t like the idea of your car keys rubbing up against your mobile phone, scratching the screen as you walk, you may want to consider a protective shield; these can be purchased for a range of vehicle types all over the internet.

Keys Fob Protector

Man bags

Don’t shoot the messenger (pun intended), but a bag is an ideal place to stow your keys. Not only do you have copious room inside your bag, but briefcases and other man bags are often designed with a special pocket/sleeve specifically for your keys.

The only real disadvantage involved with a bag is the heavy lifting – it’s a rather cumbersome way of transporting a relatively small set of items. Still, for day-to-day travel it should be ideal.

Key Wallets

Key Wallet

As with keyfob protectors, key wallets are an ideal solution if you don’t want your keys coming into contact with your expensive smartphone’s delicate touch screen. Key wallets usually consist of half a dozen links on which you can attach individual keys; these are then folded up inside the leather pouch and kept closed with a clip popper, button or magnetic toggle.

Key wallets are great for men who hate to scrabble around finding keys at the front door. An elegant and relatively cheap solution all round.

Neck chains

Neck Chain Keys

Something for the hardcore perhaps, but if you only need to carry a single key, a neck-chain might be the solution for you. Having cool metal sat against your pecs all day may feel pretty uncomfortable, especially with jagged key notches snagging your chest hair; but if you can’t stand the thought of key hunting every time you want to get back in-doors, nothing beats the speed and convenience of a chain.

Obviously, you needn’t select the single-most unattractive bike-chain you can find. There are a small number of relatively thin precious-metal varieties that may be suitable if you look hard enough. Finally, remember it’s a one-key deal with neck-chains – if you want something sturdier and more robust you should consider…


If you’re after something a little more ‘librarian’ than the previous option, a lanyard will probably suffice. Again, being hung around the neck, you’re unlikely to lose your keys under a pile of paperwork; tragically unhip? Probably, but it’s better to throw the option out there than not suggest it at all…

If you do set your heart on a lanyard, remember the golden clothing rules: No logos, no camo-print or wacky patterns, keep to a neutral colour like navy or black, and finally ensure you don’t overload your lanyard with too many keys.


Once again, not the greatest of solutions – carabiners will hang heavy from belt loops and distort your jeans, plus nobody likes to advertise the whereabouts of their keys with a jingle-jangle, sleigh bell gait.


Still, for some it’s the only practical option available. If you do insist on going down this route, make sure to keep things simple, lightweight and in a neutral tone: given the option, a brushed aluminium finish will look less garish (and less like a ‘thief beacon’) than a sparkling stainless steel variety.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

3 Responses

  1. Ryan

    This is great to read but I wish you had links to some examples.

  2. Benjamin

    The problem with the three solutions here I would consider, the briefcase, key protector and key wallet. My wrangler key has a huge piece of plastic on it, my wife’s Audi key is even worse, gigantic. The briefcase isn’t always with me. I suppose I could get a new Jeep key made without the plastic an make it work.

  3. John

    Lanyards aren’t so bad as long as you just have them attached to your keys and have it hanging out of your pocket. It’s a great way to insure you’ll never lose your keys (if they fall out you’ll notice a big lanyard if your shiny keys don’t quite grab your attention).