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Best Men’s Weekend Bags

At the end of a long week, there’s nothing quite like a weekend away from it all to unwind. Whether you’re heading for a B&B in the country, a slick city break, or a chic beach, arriving with your toothbrush and boxers in a few tatty carrier bags isn’t the start to the weekend you’re after!

So, we have done the research for you and present the FIVE of the BEST WEEKEND BAGS on the market today:

5. A lively one to kick off; this Liberty print is for the brave, but if you can pull it off it’s a nice change from the usual fabrics

4. Real leather and ‘carry on’ size for a plane, it’s a classic style and this is a good bag for the price:

3, This bad boy is ideal if you’re an Italian Duke or just like Victorian luggage. If you’re going on holiday with Sophia Loren, and you’ve got a manservant, it doesn’t make sense to carry your Marko John’s in anything else:

2, This all leather beauty by Moore and Giles isn’t cheap but should last for years and age beautifully if treated right:

1,  And the winner is… At number one is this stylish canvas number, Made In Britain (in Cumbria actually), and nicely finished with lots of classy details (brass feet, leather base panels) it’s a cracker and just right for a weekend away:

So, there we have it, have a great weekend wherever you’re going and don’t forget your socks! www.Marko-Johns.com

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Macko Johns – Marko Johns for Mack

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Mack is a beautiful Rottweiler that belongs to some dear friends of ours. He is a cuddly pup, for a very large, muscular, initially-slightly-intimidating large black dog. He is superb company and, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard him bark. He is of extremely good stock; his mother is a show dog and his pedigree is excellent. He would be a show dog in another life but was brought up to shun the spotlight as many aristodawgs do. He is a feature in society and enjoys attending dinner parties, exploring the countryside and writing his erudite column in two of the nation’s broadsheets. He gave up his pipe some years back and instead his one vice is a good chew on a recently laundered MJ. And, as it’s Christmas, we didn’t stop him.

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Fable-ously British

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Britain has an insuperable heritage when it comes to making clothes and footwear (and many, many other things of course). We are very good at it. World-famous for it. And have been, it seems, for a very long time indeed. It is of course terribly unBritish to blow our national trumpet in this manner but there, I said it.

Brands love to affiliate themselves with Britain, Britishness, the Union Jack etc, because of what it says about the item to the customer: quality. This got a little out of hand during the Olympics when everything was being wrapped in our old flag before being put on the shelf. Even certain Champagnes suddenly donned neoprene British jackets, which is extra odd given the extremely strict laws in place to protect the particular provenance of that famous fizz.

Anyhow, while it’s (fairly) easy to spot that Champagne isn’t British, it is distinctly less so when it comes to other things.

Take, for example, this tweed blazer from Jack Wills (above). Huge letters bellow to us that this is not only British, but “fabulously” so! Gosh, like turf from Twickers, or a slurp of the Thames, this is British! ..Or, is it?

The second tag on the jacket is not present for branding purposes, but purely to meet the legal requirement that the country of manufacture be disclosed (even if at a fraction of the size of the other country on the label).

If not made in Britain, how is it British? In ‘style’ (whatever that means)? Well, no, I don’t think that’s sufficient: Firstly because our heritage of craftsmanship and the great tradition of quality we enjoy was never solely about something so flimsy as style; And, secondly, on their own terms, what the branding and presentation (and style!) of this product is seeking to imply to the customer is that it is deeply, authentically, shockingly British, of British provenance, won the Second World War singlehandedly, definitely made in Britain and by none other than HRH the Queen. I mean, what else are the Fulham and Salcombe street addresses there to achieve?! The ‘made in China’ tag is as small as it is legally allowed to be. It is whispered, like an embarrassing under-the-breath admission. If it were allowed to be smaller, or inside the lining, or absent, it would be. I’ve been to Devon a great many times (and I am hugely fond of it) but I am yet to stumble across the doubtless handsome village of China. Perhaps somewhere on the coast between Dartmouth and Salcombe?

It is very interesting that they specifically chose the adverb “fabulously” to described the extent of their Britishness, because although the intention is obviously to slide the brand to the top of the Britishness continuum, the word of course also shares the same root as the verb “fable”; which means ‘to fabricate or invent’.

This is not to say that JW is the only faux chap out there; unfortunately, the high street is full of such charlatans!

So, take care out there and keep an eye on that tiny give away label; sadly you might be surprised that some things you thought were British are even less so than my opening paragraph.

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Picnic Chic

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February hardly seems the time to talk about picnics. These short, dark days and rain-filled streets make being outside less than jolly. It seems forever since the last summer and daydreams about the beach begin to feel wholly fantastical, as though such days were only ever myth.

And that’s exactly why I love seeing the spring/summer lines filling window displays and websites this time of year; the juxtaposition of gay pastels against the grey skies of London offer hope and a reminder that February too shall pass.

Brooks Brothers have launched their spring summer 2013 range and (quelle surprise) it’s looking good; neatly tailored blazers for him and her, smart lines without being too stuffy, and trousers cut to the correct (i.e. MJ-visible) length. A splash of floral prints freshens things up, like a cool summer breeze, and with plenty of lovely accessories, duffels and weekend bags, dreaming of summer picnics suddenly feels right again. I, for one, cannot wait.