I’ve seen a lot of military inspired pieces featured for fall. In fact, the other day, I received an email from Club Monaco showing their utilitarian inspired line and that inspired me to do a blog.
Background on the Utilitarian Style
Utilitarian is meant to be useful or practical rather than attractive or fashionable. It’s referred to as functional, pragmatic, and serviceable. Clothing that is inspired by military dressing or workers’ uniforms are considered part of the style. It really came into the forefront of US fashion during World War II. Women were forced to enter the workforce and take jobs working in factories and shipyards. Their dresses were replaced with overalls and jumpsuits.
Current Utilitarian Styles
In addition to military inspiration, the style is heavily influenced by menswear and street style. Think utility jackets, cargo pants, and jumpsuits. Every accent should have a purpose, lots of pockets, zippers, canvas belts. The silhouettes are simple and straightforward. Here are some examples of current pieces you can buy now (links below).
As you can see the colors are neutrals with lots of olive greens and khaki. No prints except camouflage of course. I had to add the boots. They bring back fond memories of when my girls were teenagers! Some more examples (links below).
How to incorporate utilitarian into your wardrobe
Here are a few tips:
- Stick to a neutral palette with additions of olive green and navy blue.
- Pick clothing where the details have a purpose. Typically, you want lots of pockets to hold your phone or keys. A hood is good for covering your head in case of wind or rain!
- Clothing has to be comfortable.
- If you really don’t want to go all the way with the utilitarian style, just incorporate one piece like a utility jacket or a vest.
My advice is just to have fun with it. Below are some pictures of my outfit today – relaxed cargo pants and an army green sleeveless vest. You can see I have lots of pockets. Two spring/summer buys are in this look – the vest I picked up at Target for $28 and the shoes at DSW for $60. The shoes are comfortable but you can’t run in them!
What do you think of the utilitarian style?