Toughen Up with the Utilitarian Trend This Fall
File this under things that only better with time: utilitarian clothes. The look, which has been consistently popping up in collections for nearly three years now (see, in particular, Balmain’s fatigue heavy offerings for fall 2014, and the cargo-craziness throughout Marc Jacobs’ spring 2015 range), continued to evolve on the runways last February with a strong showing of workwear fabrics, camo colors, and army surplus-inspired silhouettes.
Phillip Lim, for starters, offset rich touches of velvet and lurex in his autumn line with performance materials—think nylon and canvas—in muted olive and khaki; over in Milan, designers Consuelo Castiglioni (of Marni) and Miuccia Prada, both put out updated versions of the classic military coat. We’d argue however, the pièce de résistance was a repeat performance: Vetements’ wildly popular aviator bomber, made from vintage iterations, and recut by popular demand.
On the paparazzi circuit, we’ve caught no-last-name-needed It girls Kendall and Gigi layering baggy air force jackets over varying combinations of crop tops and high-rise denim, and applauded Selena Gomez for deftly offsetting her slouchy jumpsuits with ladylike heels. And Rihanna (as with all things fashion) took boldly took the trend to a new level by cinching the waist of her trench-inspired VMAs gown with a fraying grommet belt.
Now, it's time to put your own spin on the style—get started with the 25 perfect pieces below.
With the help of brassy hardware and a snuggly fur collar, not your average army jacket.
Krewe du Optic glasses
Give your shade game a model off-duty update.
Fjällräven Kånken backpack
What to carry when you're going straight from a Saturday AM barre class to brunch.
RUPERT SANDERSON Boots
Skip the floral babydoll dress! A more refined silhouette, such as tapered black trousers, offers a less expected (and more sophisticated) way to offset charmingly chunky soles.
Just one more example of why menswear watches are where it’s at.
Saint Laurent glasses
Aviator frames to wear with—what else?!—your aviator bomber.
The snuggliest way to do camo? On slouchy wool crewneck.
A elevated take on the humble dog tag necklace: high shine silver plates engraved with luxe logos.
When it gets even colder, try layering a turtleneck and buttoned up army jacket beneath.
Doubly worth it because you’ll be hitting on the brown accessories trend, too.
MZ Wallace Tote
So much better than that ratty old Ithaca is Gorges tote you’ve been using for the gym.
TIM COPPENS Jacket
Wear it like you would a leather moto: over everything.
All grit and glamour of Vetements’ signature version, for a high street price.
ROSIE ASSOULIN Pants
Avoid revisiting your “sk8r gurl” phase by keeping the rest of the look sleek and sophisticated—a fitted long sleeve bodysuit and gold earrings should do the trick.
One little strap, major swagger.
For a fresh take on monochromatic dressing, mix with pieces in similar shades of beige and sand.
J. Crew jacket
Even better with a high-rise denim skirt and hiker boots.
EUGENIA KIM Hat
Very Lou Doillon running errands in Marais, non?
Because why wouldn’t you take advantage of the rare season that parkas are actually cool?
Jesse Kamm Pants
A striking way switch up that same jeans and sweater combo you’ve worn for, like, five days straight.
Solid (green!) proof that you don’t need bright colors or crazy prints to stand out in cold weather.
Both playful and practical, such a fun way to elevate off-duty attire.
Eddie Borgo Ring
If you want to layer with other rings, stick with similarly sleek and simple designs.
All that’s missing are white sneakers and red lips.
Luxe but laid-back, subtle yet special, and chic in an effortless way, a watch that strikes all the right balances.