These days, 90 percent of what you need on a given day exists on a thin piece of plastic and glass, and the ubiquitous and all-knowing Cloud. But the remaining 10 percent can go a long way in helping define and express your identity.
So don’t limit personal branding to your phone's wallpaper – have some things you carry in the real world, that you can touch and feel in your pockets, to remind yourself who you are, where you came from, and where you’re headed. Of course, different kinds of guys will find value in different kinds of things – which is where our EDC Extras series comes in.
Where you call home isn’t just a location – it's a part of your identity. And the guys who have fully immersed themselves into a big city need an everyday carry that complements that lifestyle. So these picks are tailored towards long days, long commutes, and an air of infinite possibility. If you're hopping between boroughs or navigating downtown streets, they'll come in handy.
Good Quality Headphones
Getting away from it all on a packed subway car takes a special kind of zen, and a special kind of headphone. Whether over-the-ear headphones or in-ear buds are your style, let your music or the honeyed voice of a favorite podcaster shield you from that jackass playing his PSP with the sound all the way up.
A pair that's especially isolating, like earbuds with a good seal or full-size headphones that dampen ambient noise (bonus points if they're wireless, so that there's no cable to get caught on the passing scenery) will make navigating the city a lot more manageable. Plug in and you can tune out the din of car horns, loud conversation, rattling train cars, and anyone trying to get in your face.
A Money Clip with Cash
Cash is a necessity in the city. Food trucks, street meat stands, dive bars, sidewalk vendors – they all have their allures, but most don't take cards. Keep a few bucks on hand at all times, and you'll be able to pick up a mid-afternoon hot dog or stop into that neighborhood hole-in-the-wall for an impromptu beer without needing to worry about the closest ATM location.
And while a bifold works just fine, a money clip to hold your cash and your essential cards in a separate card holder works especially well for the city. It's a compact setup that encourages carrying just the essentials – no months-old receipts or coffee shop loyalty cards you never use – so that you're not lugging around excess junk around as you hop around the city, and is much more comfortable than sitting on an overstuffed wallet against those hard plastic public transit seats.
A Portable Battery
One of the great things about living in the city is the endless possibilities of what can happen on a given day. Unfortunately, those things usually require wireless communication and/or GPS, both of which tend to drain phone batteries. And if you're out on the town from morning until late at night, you're probably going to run out of juice at some point in between.
To avoid winding up in an unfamiliar neighborhood after the last stop on your bar crawl, only to realize your phone is dead and you don't have directions home, keep a portable charger on hand. They're now small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, and can quickly and easily charge a failing phone with no outlet required.