Fall 2021 Men’s Contemporary Trend: Urban Utility

Utilitarian-inspired dressing is the perfect look for channeling the outdoors, whether hitting the trains or heading to your backyard to finally getting around to that DIY project. 

This perfect blend of comfort and style has been a go-to trend for several seasons now, and the reemergence of utility wear, offers fashion, convenience and a sense of preparedness in a time of uncertainty. The trend emerged strong as people started dressing up again this year — those pockets useful for the must-haves of the moment, like mini hand sanitizers and spare masks.

The fall 2021 men’s collections featured loose and fluid silhouettes and cocooning softness. With comfort continuing to be key, utility jackets were called out as a strong outerwear piece for the season by top global retailers. With most utility pieces being lightweight and layer-able in nature, they help transcend the seasons and make them great investment pieces that last for years.

The safari jacket obsession reached fever pitch at the spring 2020 shows, maintain its popularity as the rebel outerwear of choice for style icons like Ernest Hemingway and Clint Eastwood — an item that historically was less about dressing for dinner, rather about catching it. The safari jacket is a design classic, whether you’re in the real thing or one of fashion’s many interpretations.

Safari-inspired dressing continues to be present in the fall 2021 runway collections, as well as the contemporary market. Casual and approachable pieces, such as organic cotton fluid tank tops, pleated linen safari shorts and cargo pants with oversize pockets, give consumers multiple avenues and offerings to remix the look.

The trend was also a key player in Disney’s latest film “Jungle Cruise,” which just hit theaters, as well as streaming on Disney+. Based on Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name, the film set during World War I centers around actors Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt on a rollicking thrill ride down the Amazon jungle, with the costumes offering a true homage to the urban explorer.

WWD rounded up some of the runway’s best looks, sure to get you into the mood and inspire you to take a cue from some of the contemporary market’s more laid-back and casual options.

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