Ask Our Stylist: How to Style a Utility Shirt

Utility Shirts The Swiss Army Knife of Men’s Apparel

Utility clothing was introduced in the UK during World War II. They were meant to be cheap, affordable options for the public and act as a sort of wartime ration for folks who needed to stretch a shilling. Consumers were afraid these new government issued garments would be drab and uncomfortable, like military uniforms, but to everyone’s surprise they turned out to be malleable, fashionable, and more durable than what was currently on the market. So, what are utility shirts and how do they draw inspiration from their austere kin?

Camo Utility ShirtUtility Shirt from Original Stitch

The Scoop on Utility Shirts

Modern utility shirts are the Jack-of-all-trades for casual wear. You’ve no doubt seen and, very likely, admired them from afar. What’s not to love? They’re rugged, chambray-esque, dress shirts that feature canvas-like texture and myriad styling options. Typically, they were designed using denim, but today, like many trends that come from humble beginnings, the utility shirt has grown into a fashionable subgenre all its own. They’ve evolved to take tough-as-nails weaves like twill and jacquard and combine them with the resilient nature of tensile textiles like cotton to create versatile looks that make pairing easy.

Utility Shirt Camo Utility Shirt from Original Stitch

How To Style Utility Shirts

This is where things get fun. Utility shirts can literally be what you make of them. This is even more apt when you take into account our customization options. Generally speaking, utility shirts are meant to be casual, but with a little tweaking, men are incorporating these durable dress shirts into smart wardrobes fit for any contemporary office climate.

Here’s a quick rundown to get you started:

  • Collar Styles: The most casual, and easiest to wear unbuttoned, is the spread collar. This feature allows for maximum chill whether paired with jeans or chinos. Pull it together with rolled sleeves and a bit of stubble for a relaxed style with bite.

 

  • Breast Pockets: Opting for a single breast pocket is ideal and gives utility shirts more pairing options in terms of venue. However, don’t be afraid to go with double-breast pockets and short sleeves for warm weather weekend activities. If the double-breast is your intent, consider a button-down collar.

 

  • Color Options: Utility shirts have a tendency to be worn in urban settings with military styles. You’ve probably seen them in some shade of green. To play off of this, and blend in a bit better, choose colors that hover near without completely giving away its casual nature. Maroon, brown, and olive are good starter colors for this. White also works well to add a stylish, yet easygoing, vibe to office attire.


At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality utility shirts. Customers can create a shirt completely unique to them. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from and tailored in Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than regular button-up shirts.

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