Utility jackets: the summer must-have item you didn't know you needed

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Kitty McGee
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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.”

Sezane cream utility jacket model image high street designer contemporary investment summer jackets
Utility jackets: Sezane cream utility jacket, £100, Selfridges

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. 

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Darker shades add a cool, edge to feminine printed dresses, while light tones work with summer’s key colour palette of beiges and creams - as well as denim.

Here’s our edit of the best styles to buy now and wear all year. 

  • Equipment Kamille Jacket

    Equipment khaki utility jacket designer luxury investment military casualwear fashion style
    Utility jackets: Equipment khaki utility 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 (

  • Topshop Pink Fisherman Shacket

    Topshop blush utility jacket high street shopping fashion style
    Utility jackets: Topshop blush utility jacket

    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

    The Range cropped pale khaki cotton utility jacket
    Utility jacket: The Range cropped pale khaki cotton utility 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 (

  • M&S Belted Utility Jacket

    M&S pink utility jacket marks and spencer
    Utility jackets: M&S pink 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

    Camoflage utility jacket from simply be high street shopping
    Utility jackets: Camoflage utility jacket from Simply Be

    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

    FRAME utility khkai multi pocket jacket
    Utility jackets: FRAME utility khkai multi pocket 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 (

  • Iro Minksy oversized checked felt jacket

    Iro checked fishermans jacket net-a-porter
    Utility jackets: Iro checked fishermans jacket net-a-porter

    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 (

  • By Iris Raelin Army Jacket

    By Iris khaki utility jacket cotton
    Utility jackets: By Iris khaki utility jacket cotton

    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 (

Main image: Frame at MATCHESFASHION.COM

Additional image: Sezane

Product images: courtesy of individual brands


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