Workwear has carved out a place in men’s fashion for some time—think boiler suits, postman shoes, and even reflector jackets. Lately, however, the trend has taken a more functional approach making it practical for everyday wear.
The utility style aesthetic is rooted in finding a balance between workwear and outdoor wear. Its loose style and comfy aesthetic have benched and replaced the skinny silhouettes, flooding the runway with chunky-soled shoes and cargo pants. As far as trends go, it doesn’t get much more inclusive than this.
Here, we will explore the utility style and how to incorporate this aesthetic into your wardrobe.
What Is the Utility Style?
The aesthetic of this style comes from highlighting elements of a rather practical outfit and taking it up a notch. This style is often inspired by manual labor and army uniforms but with a streetwear twist.
From the chunky shoes, structured vests, and loosely fitted pants, this aesthetic, at first glance, doesn’t really look like a style on its own. This is because, for the longest time, it’s always been about function over fashion, but now, the utility style aesthetic has shifted to a cleaner aesthetic.
The looks now incorporate practical accessories like belts, zips, pockets, and hoods. Several designers have also included more neutral colors like greys, blacks, and whites, further solidifying this trend’s place in everyday menswear.
One thing I love about this aesthetic is the simplicity. It allows men of all persuasions and styles to inject pieces of this trend into their wardrobes by reimagining them as accessories or staple pieces.
A Road Map to Blending Utility Style into Your Outfits.
Now that the utility fashion has made its way back consider experimenting and incorporating some of its basics into your style.
Unlike other trends, this aesthetic is more open to interpretation. This might sound daunting, but endless options exist for assimilating the utility style into your wardrobe.
The advantage of this look is that it’s laidback. Everyone from the street style icon to the minimalist lover and even people still trying to figure out their style can pull off these looks.
Hollywood star Tom Cruise has incorporated this style into his movies (Mission Impossible). Kanye West has also, on numerous occasions, hoped on this trend and created similar pieces for his brand, Yeezy.
So, all you need to do is to decide which personal direction you want to go towards and get to styling.
1. Start Simple.
The best way not to feel overwhelmed when exploring the utility style is not to overdo it. If you are a newbie to this trend, start with a styling staple like a utility vest. Choosing a staple in a solid color like black or brown is a great place to start.
The functional pockets and zips make the utility a great option if you want to inject edginess into your outfits.
2. When In Doubt, Stick to The Basics.
Blending comfort and style has become a huge trend lately. Therefore, if you want to effortlessly adapt to the utility style aesthetic, pairing cargo pants with a plain white t-shirt is an excellent approach if you are still skeptical about whether the trend works for you. The beauty of doing this is that it gives you the comfort of exploring without having to forego your personal style entirely.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Layers.
Since this aesthetic is designed to be layered, there are different outfit options you can pick out depending on how you interpret the style. Layering pieces like overshirts and hoodies with work boots or chunky trainers makes the utility style versatile and applicable in any season. The best way to layer when it comes to this aesthetic is to keep all the layers lightweight, so it never looks stiff or bulky.
This might be a bit bold, but if you want to take the utility style to the next level, explore accessories like bucket hats and bullet vests to complete the look. You can opt to keep the color soft and reach for earth-toned palettes, or you can go for eye-catching colors. The trick to pulling off any utility outfit is to keep things subtle. Otherwise, you’ll compromise the simplicity of this trend as a whole.
Examples Of Menswear Utility Style Aesthetic.
1. Camo Pants
Camo print is a critical piece in the utility style look, but the key to pulling off this look is not to mix prints. Instead, use relatively muted colors to keep the look fresh and simple.
A great tip is to pick one of the prominent colors in print and choose a layering piece of the same color. For example, you could own a pair of black, green, and brown pants to style this look successfully. You could go for a black tee underneath to compliment the black in print, and as a layering option, go for a green shirt to tie the whole look together.
To avoid feeling like you are playing the role of a soldier, ditch the boots and go for trainers instead.
2. Cargo Pants
Loose-fitting trousers with trainers are one of the softest and most comfortable approaches to this aesthetic. Mixing your basic shirts and trousers that are looser in the leg can transition you successfully to any events you may have during the day.
3. Utility Vest
The best way to style your utility vest is to keep the rest of your outfit simple and make the vest a statement. For a softer look, pick one that is in a muted earth-toned color, but if you fancy a bit of edginess in your outfits, you can go for bold colors. Just remember everything else in your
outfit should be understated.
Utility Style Brands You Should Know.
Acronym- This German brand is famous for its innovative designs and monochromatic palette. The simplicity and practicality of their utility style are what sets them apart.
Beams Plus- This is the home of utility style that meets streetwear. They pride themselves in creating simple, stylish, laid-back outfits that complement this aesthetic.
Carhartt WIP- The best in incorporating simple and loose cuts into their designs. From their basic camo pants to Collins Pants, Carhartt releases staple pieces that house the utility style aesthetic in their collection.
Albam- Are you looking for muted staples to start your utility-style experience? Albam houses staple pieces around this aesthetic. Their utility
jackets and matching sets have become bestsellers on their websites, setting
them apart from many other brands.
Urban Outfitters- This is a lower-priced option from the rest but just
as good. Urban Outfitters is a great place to start if you are a beginner and don’t want to break the bank just yet.
They don’t only sell utility staples like your cargo pants and shirts but also have a variety of other basics like white tees and button-down shirts, which are crucial to complimenting the utility style aesthetic.