The keychain is something of a humble accessory—one that’s highly functional, of course, but rarely is it given much thought outside of the deepest fashion circles. Yet there’s far more to this unassuming little piece than one might expect. It’s the reason most of us manage to keep track of our keys, after all. And while it’s ubiquitously found in decidedly less posh spots—boardwalk souvenir shops, anyone?—it also has the potential to be polished and refined.
Something of a Cinderella story, the keychain was purportedly developed in 1700 BC. The ancient accessory sits on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, showcasing a delicate hedgehog amulet suspended from a bit of roughed up rope. The keychain was we know it today is considerably more hardy, and some variation of this was shown at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The small black token featured a minuscule opening at the top and was marked with the event’s logo and year.
The following year found Frederick J. Loudin changing fashion history as we know it with his invention of the keychain fastener. This intricate mechanism made it easier to latch keys, and provided a sturdy element to safeguard the keychain. Through the decades, the accessory’s worthiness grew. Before long, it transformed into a marketing gift that companies could share with prospective clients. Sports enthusiasts proudly boasted vibrant keychains bearing their favorite team’s logo. Car dealerships provided new buyers with sleek automobile manufacturer keychains.
To celebrate this growth, and to help elevate your keychain game to the next level, we’ve rounded up a few devastatingly stylish options. Whether you’re the keychain-carrying sort or not, you’ll be intrigued by these bold, contemporary finds.
Mophie Powerstation Keychain
If ever there was a time for this convenience, it’s now. Mophie has all but transformed the technology world, introducing such necessities as charging phone cases and wireless power accessories. Among the most notable is the sleek Powerstation Keychain, a compact device that fits neatly into the palm of your hand and hangs comfortably from a hook without taking up much room at all. Offering a 1200mAh battery, it features an integrated USB-C cable to charge anything when you’re on the go. This provides you with just enough to get by for about four or five hours, depending on usage. Is it a ton? Nope—but it’s far more than you could ever hope to expect from such a diminutive keychain.
Tumi Alpha Valet Key Fob
When you’re all about making subtle statements with your accessories, turn to Tumi. The luxury label understands the meaning of poised sophistication. Their Alpha Valet Key Fob is unobtrusive and easy to slip into a pocket. It’s beautifully designed with understated details, like a leather strap, coordinating fabric accent in the pattern of your choice, stainless steel rings, and a signature metal button accent at the center. A simple press of this portion releases the valet for quick and easy access.
Craighill Closed Helix Keyring
This may be the keychain you didn’t know that you needed. Craighill has made a habit of producing engaging, wondrous objects that are more than plain accessories—they’re genuine conversation pieces and works of art that are as functional as they are boundlessly intriguing. It’s their standout attention to detail and workmanship that sets the Closed Helix Keyring apart from its counterparts. This is an upscale accessory that truly works, whether you’re the master of contemporary dressing or merely dipping your toe in the water. The twisty work is an eye-catching minimalist design that is crafted to hold over 10 keys at a time. No struggling to work a key onto the holder here: just untwist the cap on one end and slide your keys onto the metal.
Shinola Valet Key Fob
Attention to detail means everything to the folks at Shinola, who take great pride in producing pieces designed to stand the test of time. Their Valet Key Fob provides a brief glimpse at what they do best. Made with the finest leathers, it’s available in several colors and is sized just right for the discerning man who wants to invest in something special and classic for himself. The item arrives sleekly packaged and, more likely than not, will be accompanied by a hand-written note of thanks. That’s top-tier service, Shinola style.
Wazoo Survival Gear Survival Pod
From the annals of “why didn’t we think of this before?” comes a keychain so distinctively useful, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. The Wazoo Survival Gear Survival Pod is, well, all about survival. It prioritizes your needs, but it’s, of course, also an awesome keychain. The heavy-duty paracord is easy to deploy during your moments of great need: when you need an emergency leash for your pet, when you have a need for rope while camping, when you need to tie down something heavy. It’s just that strong. Bonus: It’s pretty cool looking, too.
Studebaker Workshop Keyholder
Each piece from the Studebaker Metals collection boasts old-world inspiration. The label’s accessories are hand-forged in their Pittsburgh metalsmith workshop, where experienced artisans work meticulously to bring to life classic works of art. Among them is the Workshop Keyholder, a piece that’s simple in design, yet remarkably complex in construction. It takes time, after all, to wield and bring to life such perfection. Delicate, understated, and ideal to attach to a belt loop, it’s ideal for the rugged guy who appreciates the value of hard work and the fruits of those labors.
Off-White Green Quote Key Holder
Everything that Virgil Abloh touches turns to gold—unless it’s this Green Quote Key Holder. Made with tough metal hardware, it’s branded with the word “Keys” on both sides in a shock of white that stands out against the brilliant green background. It’s an inherently sporty piece that nods to the street-smart appeal of Off-White. It’s fun, offbeat, intriguing, and graphic all at once—all hallmarks of a brand known for its ability to break boundaries and defy convention with every collection.