Don't Diss Function: Utilitarian Styling

It’s true, the phrase ‘utilitarian menswear’ is about as sexy as mothballs. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need it in your life… We took to Half Moon Bay Antigua, the exclusive new resort on the island of Antigua, and home to the Rosewood Half Moon Bay Hotel (set to open in 2022) to demonstrate the chic versatility of this under-appreciated menswear genre.  
Don't Diss Function: Utilitarian Styling
Lets start by busting some jargon. What is utilitarianmenswear? At Rake Towers, we think of it as clothing thats lightweight, practical and not unpleasant to wear in the last throes of summer when its stuffy and humid. Theres an art to dressing for this awkward transition between August and September. Lets face it, in 30-degree heat its tempting to give up on looking put-together, even for style-heads. Thankfully, utilitariandesigns are the solution functional garments that nonetheless retain an element of design and are cut in cooling, breathable cloths.  Your best friend in any kind of warm weather is, of course, the lightweight linen shirt, and the breezier the better. What, though, elevates a summer shirt from a hum-drum spread-collared garment to something worthy of utilitarian status? A simple answer, really: aside from cloth, colour or pattern, its all in the collar. Structured spread collars are nightmarish things to wear in humid climes, so swap your formal or semi-formal shirts for designs with unlined collars, Cuban collars, or indeed no collars at all see Salvatore Piccolos striped linen grandad collar shirt (overleaf). Myriad leading brands make shirts like this: from Doppiaas palm-printed camp collar shirt (seen here) to Magnus & Novussuperb leisure shirts, cut with rolling one-piece collars designed to be worn open at the neck, to Giro Ingleses relaxed Italian designs, and even Anderson & Sheppards casual linen shirts in fun block colours. 
Denim blue cotton and linen safari jacket, De Petrillo; red-striped cotton BL archive shirt, G. Inglese; coral silk knitted tie, Anderson & Sheppard; tan Italian wool gabardine parallel-leg trouser, Edward Sexton.
Mustard Ely single-breasted jacket, New & Lingwood; white seersucker cotton 'Weekend' Leisure' shirt Magnus & Novus; blue silk labyrinth pocket square, Millie Bridget Henry.
Royal blue long sleeve stoned washed denim polo shirt, Naked Clothing; olive linen short sleeve polo shirt, Stenstroms; khaki cotton slim Aleks trouser, Kit Blake.
Speaking of which, as we start to consider outerwear, Anderson & Sheppard deserve pride of place in your utilitarian wardrobe. The houses cotton drill travel jackets are superb,proof that a traditional British brand can still think for today. Cut to resemble a field jacket, each piece features no fewer than 17 different pockets: from newspaper or ticket pockets to concealed zip-up pockets within pockets, within pockets. The result is precisely what the name suggests,a handsome yet functional jacket thats well suited to hopping on or off trains and plains, but with more than enough style to wear around town, too. I like to wear mine over a button-down shirt and textured silk and linen tie, for a touch of gentleman explorerchic.  Not dissimilar to A&Ss travel jacket in concept, at least is the safari jacket. The name hints at its origins: it was a 20th century design worn by European soldiers serving in hot climates. The traditional epaulettes give away its military roots. Nevertheless, by the time of its first written recorded mention, in 1935, the safari jacket had been adopted by the British aristocracy as a recreational piece to wear galavanting around the savanna. Luckily, if sub-Saharan galavanting is your thing today, youre spoilt for choice. is awash with safari-inspired jackets, and even pieces like Rubinaccis now infamous MannyGurkha trousers have safari-esque origins.  Pink linen shirt and dark green, cotton drill travel jacket, both Anderson & Sheppard. You might try De Petrillos linen and cotton chambray safari jacket, which is finished with the brands signature pleated patch pockets, rakish open revers and waist tie. While distinctly functional, a garment like this plays a clever trick: combining the look of mid-blue denim (thanks to the fabrics white and steely blue twill weave) with the lightness and breathability of a linen and cotton blend. Back in the British camp, another safari shirt stalwart is Budd Shirtmakers, whose safari shirts are (in my humble opinion) the best in the business. The Safari is a longstanding Budd speciality, and whether you choose to have yours made bespoke something I can personally recommend or you snap up one of this seasons ready-to-wear versions at, youll find them immensely satisfying to wear.  Read the full article in Issue 65 of The Rake – on newsstands now or available here.