How To: Strong Work Style

Have you seen or heard the word “utility” being thrown around in regards to Spring trends but aren’t totally sure what it is? Never fear, I’m here to help!

The utility trend is BIG this year, especially in the street style sphere but we are also starting to see it creep its way into workwear, which is VERY exciting since one of the central tenets of utility fashion is comfort.

Ok, so just what is the utility trend? Think cargo or oversized and belted pants, blouses and shirt dresses with big pockets on the chest and oversized cotton-twill or jackets that repel water, in camo or military-inspired earth-based tones like beige, terra cotta, and army green. It’s essentially functional-yet-fashionable clothing that is military-inspired.

When it comes to actually pulling off the utility trend, I have a few styling tips:

  1. 1. Oversized is ok but don’t go too oversized.
  2. 2. When it comes to choosing your footwear, I recommend going with something dainty.
  3. 3. Alternatively, opt for a super utilitarian shoe (like a combat boot) and pair it with something dainty or tailored (like a slipdress).
  4. 4. Don’t be afraid to accessorize. Finish your outfit with anything from delicate accessories, to heavy gold chains, to colourful statement earrings.
  5. 5. Bum bags still reign supreme so don’t be afraid to pair one with a pair of cargo pants and a denim shirt.

So, since most of us can’t wear cargo pants to work (sigh), here is our new ‘Girl in Focus’ Hannah Bernard to show us how to bring the utility look into the boardroom.

Cindy Belted Paperbag Pant

These cropped paperbag waist pants feature a tortoise D-ring belt buckle and large pockets and give off definite utility vibes. Pair with a button-up shirt or a fitted sweater (tucked in of course).

vailable at Dynamite $49.95*


This military-inspired, this shirt features a relaxed fit, two utility-style pockets, and a v-neck. Pair with a leather skirt like Hannah did or with loose fitting trousers.

Available at Dynamite $39.95*

Pleated Ankle Length Pant

For those of you that aren't fully sold on the utility look, try these cropped drawstring pants that are still on-trend yet not too trendy.

Available at RW&CO. $69.90*

Supple Trench Coat

Cut from a flowy fabric and designed to drape, this new version of the classic trench coat layers beautifully and definitely allows you to show the softer side of utility.

Available at RW&CO. $179.90*

Shirt Dress

This calf-length dress proves that utility can still be feminine. Pair with boots or sandals once it (if it ever) warms up.

Available at H&M $59.99*

Will you incorporate the utility trend into your work wardrobe?

*Prices quoted are regular prices, before taxes. Price and availability are subject to change. Please see stores for details.