Cool enough to wear over almost anything and an effortless way to elevate even the most basic of outfits; the utility jacket will be the most versatile, hard-working piece in your wardrobe
The enduring appeal of utility means it’s never really out of fashion, but this season it’s not just about utility as a wardrobe staple; it also emerged as a major trend on the international catwalks, with everyone from Fendi to Stella McCartney, Givenchy and Loewe showing grown-up, useful utility pieces that will last way beyond the summer.
While we saw everything from boiler suits to cargo trousers and belt bags on the catwalks, it’s the multi pocket jacket that is the must-have item. Neutral tones of cream and beige or khaki are the ultimate wear-with-anything shades but don’t be afraid of a subtle print or deconstructed details.
The length of a utility jacket is another reason Stylist’s fashion director continually reaches for hers throughout the summer.
“I love that I can wear it with absolutely everything in my day-to-day summer wardrobe; from printed midi and maxi dresses to jeans and jumpers - weather cropped or hip length, it isn’t limiting in the same way that a trench can be.”
Summer’s utility jackets are super lightweight and most have a roomy fit too, making them the perfect partner to loose summer dresses and separates. Boxy silhouettes of more structured styles adds a more casual tone to occasion dresses, and playful fluted cuffs fit seamlessly inside the spacious sleeves.
Equipment Kamille Jacket
The original and best utility jacket comes from fashion-insiders favourite utility label Equipment. It’s dark khaki colour qualifies it smarter and more evening appropriate than other options and it’s structured shape means it will last for seasons.
Multi-pocket dark khaki jacket, £500, Equipment (harrods.com)
Topshop Pink Fisherman Shacket
Pale pastel tones like this soft pink style, are perfect for summer over light grey, white and denim.
Pale pink fisherman’s jacket, £49, Topshop
The Range cropped cotton blend twill jacket
A cropped, structured style is the ultimate cover-up for all of your longer hemlines; whether that’s a maxi dress or slightly cropped wide-leg jean. Add some low-key heels; either a barely there sandal or chunky low-heel for an effortless evening look.
Cropped khaki jacket, £349, The Range (net-a-porter.com)
M&S Belted Utility Jacket
Softer silhouettes like this tie-waist style are perfect for everyday over cotton tops and linen trousers.
Pink tie-waist jacket, £45, M&S
Simply Be Camo Stretch Cotton Utility Jacket
Camouflage works great with monochrome for day-today and brighter tones for festivals or weekends.
Camouflage utility jacket, £49, Simply Be
Frame Drawstring-waist cotton military jacket
Striking the perfect balance between chic, light, smart and comfy this Frame style is top of our current wish-list.
Cotton military jacket, £380, Frame (matchesfashion.com)
Iro Minksy oversized checked felt jacket
Thicker fabrics like felt are perfect for chillier days and look great with your autumn basics; just throw it over a crew neck knit, converse and jeans for instant on-trend style.
Checked oversized jacket, £360, Iro (net-a-porter.com)
By Iris Raelin Army Jacket
This shirt-meets-jacket will look great with shorts, dad sandals and a t-shirt all summer long.
Khaki army style jacket, £165, By Iris (irisfashion.co.uk)
Main image: Frame at MATCHESFASHION.COM
Additional image: Sezane
Product images: courtesy of individual brands