Home / Fashion Update / What I wore this week: a khaki utility jacket

What I wore this week: a khaki utility jacket

‘A jacket that was once camouflage has become a look-at-me item.’
‘A jacket that was once camouflage has become a look-at-me item.’ Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

Afew places where I’ve seen khaki utility jackets recently: on Kate Moss, teamed with black jeans and a leopardprint scarf, spotted out and about in Highgate. On a beach in Ibiza one afternoon when it got chilly and the woman whose lovely soft linen tiered maxi beach dress I had been admiring (didn’t get close enough to sneak a peek at the label, I’m afraid. Kalita, maybe? Lisa Marie Fernandez? Not cheap, anyway) pulled one out of her monogrammed raffia beach tote. On the Valentino resort catwalk in New York, embroidered and worn over a white shirt dress. Oh, and last but not least, on me: this Topshop feathered number has been my go-to spring/summer jacket for two months.

Kate Moss, Ibiza, Valentino, feathers. Join the dots: the khaki shirt-jacket isn’t a dowdy utility jacket any more. A jacket that was once camouflage, and therefore deliberately drab, has become a look-at-me item. This makes it perfect for Glastonbury, where clothes whose practical surface belies a thinly disguised vanity are what style is all about. (See the backstage-battered Barbour jacket, the surprisingly flattering cut of Hunter wellies when worn with cut-offs.)

But a khaki jacket isn’t just a festival thing. If you’re a jeans-wearer, I promise you will find it useful, because jackets on the same smartness level as denim, but in a different fabric, are much more useful than denim jackets now that double denim isn’t a Thing. Just as a black leather biker jacket is the perfect autumn partner to a pair of jeans, a khaki shirt-jacket is the logical-but-not-matching partner for summer.

You might assume that the plain, no-frills type of khaki shirt-jacket would be the most sensible option. But the kind of plain clothes that are a charming foil for world-famous-supermodel-level beauty can look a bit, well, normal on us norms. The kind with feathers or embroidery mean you don’t have to bother with the heels, or earrings, if you don’t fancy it, to signal your glamour. This jacket does the fashionable heavy lifting for you. My kind of utility jacket, frankly.

Jess wears jacket, £59, topshop.com. Cami, £59, kitri.com. Jeans, £55, calzedonia.com. Heels, £80, dunelondon.com.

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