- Photography by Mr Benjamin McMahon
Just over a year ago, HRH The Prince of Wales appeared as a guest presenter on the BBC's Countryfile show wearing a ragged old Barbour field jacket so heavily patched up that he confessed he could "hardly move". The jacket itself was a thing of beauty, a motley patchwork of purples, chocolate browns and army greens. But there was something else hidden under all of the old scraps of leather and waxed-cotton - something altogether less intangible.
It had what you might call a patina: something akin to wear and tear, only more evocative, and minus the suggestion of depreciation. It's what the Oxford English Dictionary refers to as "an acquired accretion of an abstract quality" - or, as Prince Charles rather more eloquently put it in a 2010 editorial for Vogue, "the older some things are, the more comfortable and familiar they become". (It's tempting in hindsight to think that he had a certain jacket in mind when he wrote those words.)
Whether it's the scuffs and creases on a beaten-up leather jacket, the charred base of an old casserole dish or the tarnished, dented surface of your dad's pewter hip flask, there's something appealing about seeing an item's history reflected in its appearance. It's because of this visible history that we attach an ineffable value to certain things long after they've seen their best days - not just because they look good, but because, for whatever reason, they mean something to us.
We explored this idea further, meeting six men each with a belonging that fits the description. To hear about these items, click through the thumbnails, above.
Styling by Mr Dan May, Style Director, MR PORTER
Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER