Casual Vendredi: Utilitarian

casual outfit with utility jacket

This outfit was actually inspired by the collage I created a few weeks ago for this post. I’ve been wearing the heck out of this utility jacket, which I picked up last fall. I love this combo of olive with a black-and-white striped top.

Wearing: sunglassesearrings | jacket | top |
bag (similar) | bracelet | watch | jeans | shoes

A few years ago I couldn’t have imagined wearing an “army jacket.” But styles change, my eye adjusts, and now a lightweight utility-style jacket has become one of my wardrobe essentials. It’s perfect for our climate and casual lifestyle, and great for travel. It’s also an on-trend piece for Spring, so there’s a good selection available now.

striped tee and utility jacket outfit

I tried the outfit first with black jeans, but it felt too heavy, so subbed in my favorite grey denim pair. Grey jeans are another item that’s become a wardrobe staple for me.

Givenchy Pandora, French Kande bracelet

I’ve been on the hunt for a black and white bag for some months now, but kept coming up “close but no cigar.” While searching for something else, I spotted this bag (the last one available anywhere, apparently) on sale and grabbed it. It’s the same style as my “Trusty Sidekick” black bag, and hit every one of the targets on my white bag wish list. The back of the bag is black, so I don’t have to worry about dye transfer from dark clothing. The handle isn’t white, so less worry about it staining from the oils in my hands. It’s lightweight. There’s also a cross-body strap which I’ll have shortened. I’m hoping that like my black bag, it will soften up with use and acquire a slouchier shape.

striped tee with utility jacket

outfit with grey denim, utility jacket, striped tee

All photos by Tannaz Telikany Photography and were taken in Burton Chace Park in Marina Del Rey.

Eileen Fisher peep toe sandal, Givenchy Pandora bag

These peep-toe, cutout booties were comfortable right out of the box, and were still comfortable after a couple of hours on my feet. I think they’re a little bit sexy, without trying too hard.

J.Crew striped tee with utility jacket

Are there styles you’ve warmed up to over time, and that have since become essentials in your wardrobe?

Bon weekend!

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  1. March 10, 2017 / 3:15 am

    I agree with every single one of the items in your ensemble: grey jeans, olive “army jacket” worn with the black/white mariniere that has the right balance of white, those shoes, which are truly sexy without trying too hard, and the new “white” purse for all your good, detailed reasons I’d never have thought of on my own.

    And I don’t have a single one of those items in my closet.

    Going shopping!

  2. March 10, 2017 / 3:26 am

    You epitomize French style with that outfit–it’s put-together for a casual ensemble. The army jackets are everywhere here.

  3. Carol
    March 10, 2017 / 4:23 am

    Love, love, love the utility jacket and must ask the same question I ask every time … what size is yours, Susan?

    • Susan B
      March 10, 2017 / 6:23 am

      Hi Carol, I went up to a Medium in this particular jacket to have enough room in the shoulders.

      • Carol
        March 13, 2017 / 3:25 pm


  4. Patti
    March 10, 2017 / 6:03 am

    Is your Pandora bag a size medium?

    • Susan B
      March 10, 2017 / 6:22 am

      Hi Patti, it’s the size Small.

  5. Jan
    March 10, 2017 / 6:22 am

    Hi Susan! Long time no comment but had to this time- I love using your posts to update my wardrobe, especially for travel- but finally one right out of my closet! So funny- this is my “grab it first” spring garb for errands, casual – same olive jacket, striped t, grey jeans!! When I saw the earlier post I said”aha!” Being in a small college town we are more laid back than LA of course. Love it!

  6. Linda
    March 10, 2017 / 6:37 am

    I purchased a navy blue utility jacket last summer. I have always loved the casual look of a utility jacket, but the olive color looks terrible on me since I have cool coloring. When I saw the navy, I just had to have it. I wore the heck out of it in the fall and have even worn it a few times during our rather warm east coast early spring. I love the way you styled it! I have also liked wearing mine with stripes! Love your sandals and might think about getting them!

  7. Randi Murray
    March 10, 2017 / 6:42 am

    Susan, it seems like the link to your utility jacket is broken. Who makes it?

  8. Suz
    March 10, 2017 / 6:56 am

    That is a great outfit, chic and practical. Love, love, love the shoes.
    And that purse looks perfect too! Suz from Vancouver

  9. Nicole K
    March 10, 2017 / 10:56 am

    Details, details. So lovely. Question: is that the J Crew tee you are wearing? And, if so, are you wearing a tank underneath? I’m wondering if it’s sheer. Thanks!

    • Susan B
      March 10, 2017 / 11:59 am

      Thanks, Nicole K. Yes, it’s the J.Crew tee and I am wearing a tank underneath. I tend to wear a tank underneath my tops most days. If I had to call it, I’d say this top is slightly sheer.

  10. Joanna
    March 10, 2017 / 11:49 am

    I was late to the utility jacket trend, only buying mine last spring. It quickly became my go to jacket.

  11. Jacqueline
    March 10, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    My jaw dropped when I saw your outfit! That is my warm weather travel uniform! Only difference is I wear black yoga pants, and black Toms. I have worn black jeans with the stripped top and my green utility jacket, but I find yoga pants are more comfortable for long flights. I have also worn a navy stripe tee with navy pointe pants and my jacket. A year ago I would never have bought this jacket, but I found one in petite sizing and the green was just the right shade for my coloring. I had just seen you in yours, so I took a chance. I love mine. Thank you for the motivation!

  12. Anonymous
    March 10, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    The khaki jacket seems to be very popular at the moment – but it’s a bit too military looking for me. Like something you used to be able to buy from army surplus. I prefer black, brown, white or bright colours, even bright orange, which looks great with black or white pants and tank tops – and can be mixed with a hot pink and orange scarf or navy and orange. Happier colours always make me feel happier and seem to give life more of a zing. I don’t like the idea of retreating to “safe neutrals” as I get older. Have always preferred colours, whether for work or weekends. Best wishes, Pamela

  13. Charlotte
    March 11, 2017 / 5:30 am

    I love this look and I can put it together from my own closet!

  14. Belinda Manley
    March 11, 2017 / 7:13 am

    Love this look! I can’t wear OD green but would love jacket in navy or red. This is perfect transtional weather outfit.
    Sorry but bag looks like a cooler or lunch box to me . But handbags are the hardest things for me to purchase so maybe I need to broaden my scope.

    • Anonymous
      March 11, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      Had noticed that too. But it’s Givenchy so would be a v expensive mini-cooler. Don’t think many French city people use them so they wouldn’t necessarily recognise the resemblance. Much prefer the Chanel classic flap (can be worn quite casually with jeans – or with dressier clothes) – or even the quirkiness of Jamin Puech bags. They do have some simpler styles made from natural materials as well as their more embellished variety. But each one is a work of art – and they’re so beautiful I understand some have made it into museums as exhibits. I always take a look there (my fave since the closure of the one opposite Chanel in the rue Cambon) – a charming little boutique in the rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais), especially during the Paris sales, and have collected several. May not be Susan’s style though. Best wishes, Pamela

  15. Mk
    March 11, 2017 / 9:46 am

    Agree on the cooler/lunchbox. Otherwise very cute outfit. How about a slouchy bag instead of so much structure?

    • Susan B
      March 11, 2017 / 9:59 am

      MK, I’m counting on this bag becoming softer and slouchier with use. 🙂

  16. March 13, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Love the outfit. I do come round to a few things. But it takes time. Skinny jeans I felt should only be worn on perfected pins, then I got into them and my legs are so far removed from perfect! With you on the grey jeans too, my second skin. I’ve wanted to try a khaki jacket but don’t often see them around in the shops so maybe 2017 will be my year to find one . .

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