Come with me on a journey through time…back to Valentine’s Day 1998. A warm day it was, in south London, and I had a hot date with my new beau. Hand-in-hand we strolled over Clapham Common, full of the joys of an early spring, and each other. In my head, at this point, I’m skipping along in a floaty floral maxi, effortlessly stylish in a romantic way. In reality, I bore a rather startling resemblance to GI Jane.

Back in those golden, old days, ‘utility fashion’ was clumsy. We were still in love with Private Benjamin and the look of the hour was championed by Mel C, involving massive combats with a pair of wedged Skecher trainers (oh God, I actually wore them).

I went on my Valentine’s Date with the intention of looking a ‘bit grungy’ and a ‘bit funky’, with combats, said trainers (crrrringe!), a long-sleeved jersey and a sleeveless camouflage shirt. Problem was, the balmy nature of the day took me by surprise. No one wants to be on a Valentine’s date with sweat patches, so I removed the jersey and hey presto, I was Demi Moore – in the worst possible way. It’s a wonder I wasn’t given my marching orders.

Utility fashion 2010 stylee is far more refined. Rather than buying your
combats from Famous Army Stores, trousers are tapered and military jackets are finely tailored to show off your curves. There’s obviously a neck-bracing nod to tomboy fashion, but chunky accessories and beautiful, heeled shoes make the latest incarnation of military chic feminine and flattering.

And you can tell that the trend is going to settle in for the spring as even M&S have got in on the act with the amazing cavalry jacket to your right (I’m so getting that) and Mango has a gorgeous range of army-inspired pieces to choose from.

The best thing about the utility trend is that it looks as good in casual mode as it does dressed-up. For everyday wear you could team this pretty khaki vest from Miss Selfridge with these tapered Chinos by Wrangler, add a TS cropped mixed button jacket and top it off with cute peep toes from Aldo.

To knock ’em dead, try a show-stopping military dress with these killer heels from FCUK.

Or you can even just add a hint of the trend to an everyday outfit with a cute military cap from Topshop.

Not a GI Jane-alike in sight. It’s a winner.

Steady on soldier:

*Let’s dedicate this here post to the late, great Lee Alexander McQueen.

Written by Johanna Payton