Utility pants outfit for summer - une femme d'un certain âge

Pick of the week, and how to make a simple outfit look finished

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for some lightweight jean-alternative pants for summer. They have to be comfortable, and as easy to style as my favorite jeans. These lightweight utility pants tick those boxes; worn here in neutral summer outfit.

A cool & casual utility pants outfit

Susan B. wears a gold pendant necklace, linen tank, leather belt, slim cargo pants, braided strap sandals.

top | necklace | belt | bracelet | pants | sandals

A couple weeks back, a window display at Banana Republic prompted me to pop inside for a look. They’ve mostly been off my radar; for a while they seemed to be going heavily into the Ruffly & Flouncy™ direction. I didn’t have time to go through the entire shop, but what I saw prompted me take a look online soon after.

The styles that I liked were almost all offered in Petites, which was a pleasant surprise as so many brands seem to have cut back. (Also lots of options for Tall sizes!) I ordered these Slim Utility Pants to try, and really like them! Cargo pants and utility pants are a classic style that’s also on trend this season.

These are lightweight and my usual size (Petite 6) has a slim but not snug fit, and they wash well. (This is how they looked right out of the dryer.) Fabric composition is 98% cotton/2% Spandex, so they have a little give. They’re available in several colors in Misses 0-20 and Petite sizes.

I’ve also just ordered a pair of these barrel pants to try, as well as a couple of tops. (Just a note, the color of these pants, while not super warm, is better for Springs, Autumns. Here’s a similar style in bright white for you Winters.)

The top is one of the linen “muscle” tanks from J.Crew, and is a comfortable option for warmer days. (It also layers nicely under a sweater or jacket.) I’m wearing an XS, and as you can see it’s still plenty roomy. This one’s been washed as well (line dried). Even though the skin on my arms isn’t smooth, I’ve decided to say “the heck with it” and just go sleeveless when it’s a comfortable option.

I’ve already mentally put together several more outfits with these utility pants, so you’ll be seeing them again…

When accessories make it an Outfit

I’ve always loved simple, minimalist looks, but they can be a little….bland and incomplete without some finishing touches. During summer when it’s too warm to layer, I often rely on accessories to help my outfits look pulled together.

Wearing the Banana Republic slim utility pants with a gold pendant necklace, linen tank, Loewe leather belt, and braided strap flat sandals.

I’ve recently added a new accessory to the stable…a leather belt! I think it’s the “secret sauce” in this outfit that adds some structure and polish. This belt is from Loewe and a bit spendy, but it was the first belt I’ve tried in ages that is Just Right. The “anagram” buckle adds an interesting detail, but doesn’t scream LOGO.

Detail: accessories for a neutral utility pants outfit.

belt | bracelet | sandals

Here are a few more good-looking leather belts that are more budget-friendly:

You can also add interest to simple summer outfits with a patterned top, or a fun straw or rattan bag.

Do you have favorite accessories you rely on in summer to pull outfits together?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Kathy
    June 13, 2022 / 4:44 am

    I really love lightweight pants as an alternative to jeans. I find jeans look heavy on me as a petite woman. These utility pants look great on you! I will definitely take a look at them.

  2. Pink Azalea
    June 13, 2022 / 5:13 am

    Great summer outfit. The belt is the perfect accent and I like the variations in tone in the shoes and bracelet.

  3. Kelly
    June 13, 2022 / 5:27 am

    I am a huge belt and accessory girl! Living in Florida, you really can’t layer a large part of the year so wearing the right accessories really finishes an outfit. I love those cargo pants and neutral colors. Tres chic!

    • Brenda
      June 13, 2022 / 7:45 am


    • Glenda
      June 13, 2022 / 8:10 am

      Thanks for the link to the pants Gayle!

  4. Roxann
    June 13, 2022 / 7:02 am

    I have been looking for similar pants.I like both the utility pants and the barrel leg ones that you mention. Is the off-white neutral enough to be fine with winter palette tops? It appears to be, but I have sometimes been disappointed by the yellow tone in off-whites. Thanks for any advice you can offer about this question!

    • Susan Blakey
      June 13, 2022 / 7:09 am

      Hi Roxann, the off-white isn’t super warm, but I think it might be too soft for a Winter. Here’s a very similar style in a bright white: https://bit.ly/3MMGlPp

      • Roxann
        June 13, 2022 / 7:56 am


  5. nl
    June 13, 2022 / 8:10 am

    I really love the belt and would buy it in a second but cannot get past my self-consciousness about my middle-aged tummy. I haven’t worn a tucked in shirt in years. am probably missing a lot of fashion fun because of this.

    • Leslie Christopher
      June 15, 2022 / 4:51 am

      Same here, girlfriend! I’m really short and short waisted to boot. I feel like a belt cuts me in half…sadly.

  6. Jan Whichard
    June 13, 2022 / 8:20 am

    For those of us who prefer a more relaxed leg, take a look at J. Crew’s relaxed chinos. You can cuff them or not (I do because it’s cute). The waist is a tad large but I am really tired of skin hugging pants especially lighter ones that show every lump and bump. I don’t tuck in either but a shorter closer top with the relaxed pants seems to be a good idea. Susan….how is the color analysis going?

    • Gretchen
      June 13, 2022 / 9:58 am

      Hi Jan or anyone,
      Do you mean the Slouchy Boyfriend chinos from JCrew? I’m smaller in the waist but have larger hips and thighs. I’ve bought and returned so many pairs of pants looking for something that is flattering, comfortable and not super, beach casual. Thanks all!

  7. Wendy
    June 13, 2022 / 8:26 am

    What size did you order in the belt? I also wear size 6 or 4 pants. Thanks!

    • Susan Blakey
      June 13, 2022 / 8:58 am

      I purchased the 90. I’m thick through the waist, plus I wanted a little extra room to be able to wear on the high hip with mid-rise jeans.

  8. No Fear of Fashion
    June 13, 2022 / 8:50 am

    I love you and hate the price haha. That belt in black is the very one I have been looking fo, for ages. To replace my favourite belt which is getting old.
    I love you for finding it for me but I hate the price haha. Iy is in my shopping basket.

  9. Elizabeth
    June 13, 2022 / 8:58 am

    Susan, you look so polished in this outfit. Good for you to go with the sleeveless top – your arms look fine to me.
    Despite what we perceive as our figure faults, I think wearing clothes that fit properly and/or tailored correctly, are smart casual instead of trendy-trendy, and in colours that give you some spark, people won’t notice your poochy tummy or jiggly upper arms. Really, no one will notice the so-called figure faults if you wear an outfit that skims the body instead of burying it under shapeless styles. As for belts, I wear them loosely across my poochy tummy, not above & tightly because that emphasizes the tummy. A very young fashion consultant showed me this trick – wear a wider belt loosely & on a slight angle, therefore moving the eye away from the tummy.

  10. Jana
    June 13, 2022 / 10:34 am

    I have never worn Banana Republic petite pants. Do you wear the same size in Banana Republic petite pants as in Talbots petite pants? Thanks for the help.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 13, 2022 / 11:41 am

      I haven’t purchased any Talbot’s petite pants recently, but yes, last ones I purchased were 6 Petite.

  11. Kathy
    June 13, 2022 / 11:17 am

    Great post today. I’ve been looking for some neutral pants. I had seen the cargo pant online but didn’t like the elasticized bottom. However, styled on you, I like it. I’ll be interested to see how you like the Barrel Pant — I’ve thought about those also. The belt is fabulous!

  12. Nancy F.
    June 13, 2022 / 11:50 am

    Wow, Susan! Last week it was a DRESS and a HAT; this week it’s that fabulous BELT (!). I’m loving it all, and I love that you’re expanding your sartorial horizons.

  13. Beaver Holly
    June 13, 2022 / 2:49 pm

    I like the pants on you, Susan. I usually do not like elastic ankle pants, other than work out, on me as I’m only 5’. However your post encouraged me to look at the other slim cargo pants at BR. So thanks for that. Also with your travel knowledge, would the light color pants be too light in color for an Italy trip in September?

  14. Debbie
    June 13, 2022 / 5:33 pm

    Love the top and pants! The belt price, yikes! Thanks for giving us alternatives. I love your posts, especially your travel wardrobes. We have been to Europe several times, at different times of the year (other than summer or winter) and I always am looking for ways to be more efficient in packing stylish and easy care clothes.

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