I think this is one of those cases where actual modern usage has little to do with etymology and dictionary definitions. I've got one of those classical "карманных портфельчиков" myself. I've always referred to it as "кошелёк" ad it seems completely natural to me.I can't agree. Some vallets really have a section for the coins, but even then I'd never call them like that - кошелек. Historically кошелек < кошель - a sack, and therefore кошелек really looks like a small sack with a fastener, while vallets are usually flat and rectangualr - not too much common.
In confirmation of my opinion, here are a couple of dictionary definitions:
I can see quite a few wallets. I mean I know pictures can be arranged differently every time you click on the link, but still.IAE I failed to find any vallet here: http://images.google.ru/images?hl=ru&q=кошельки&lr=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
In everyday life these words mean practically the same. At least, I understand them as synonymous. It would be completely wrong to claim that "кошелек" is the word inherent in women only. Both men and women can have "кошелек". However, one thing is indisputable: "бумажник" is a more formal word and I have heard it used by influential and respectable people (politicians, administration personnel, principals, etc) and most often by those involved in business. Sometimes ordinary men avoid using "кошелек" and prefer "бумажник" in its stead but it does not mean that one cannot use "кошелек" if he is a man. Also, note that you will hardly ever manage to hear a woman in Russia calling her small bag for money "бумажник". Women always use "кошелек".In particular, how do Russians call that thing that they put money, driving licenses, credit cards and stuff like that into? Google yields wallets for both terms, but бумажники seem to be more masculine and кошельки more feminine.
Thanks in advance.