How to wear... the boiler suit
The easiest way into the utility trend is with a hardy all-in-one. With options for all budgets, it's this season's biggest high-street hit
Many of fashion's buzziest trends can prove quite taxing on your energy, time and budget, but every so often, one comes along that is so low effort and easy to wear, you'll wonder why you haven't had it in your wardrobe for years.
This season, it's the boiler suit. For the last few decades, the utilitarian all-in-one was primarily associated with electricians, mechanics and Ghostbusters, but in recent months, it has taken the catwalks and the high street by storm.
As we reach the bridge between autumn-winter and spring-summer collections, the fashion world is captivated with chunky trainers, roomy denim and utility dressing. While combat trousers may seem a bit adventurous at this point in the season, a boiler suit feels just right. It strikes the perfect balance between fashionable and functional, and can be dressed up or down as you see fit.
At Emporio Armani, a shimmering button-down style was paired with flat sandals, while Celine offered rock 'n' roll glamour with a leather version covered in zips and styled with biker boots. Jil Sander's was languid and quietly chic, as if it could just as easily be worn to a meeting with courts as to the supermarket with trainers.
For her debut collection, Alexa Chung offered a hardy pinstripe boiler suit with lace-up boots. Isabel Marant showcased collarless versions with short sleeves, and Stella McCartney's were laid-back and wide-legged in white and acid wash denim.
McCartney is a big fan of the boiler suit: she opted for one of her own designs when attending Wimbledon last summer, and amped it up with strappy heeled sandals and a boxy clutch.
If you're already a jumpsuit convert, making the move to a boiler suit will be a breeze - just think of it as the more comfortable, loose-fitting cousin. From trench coats to boxy shirts to the aforementioned combat trousers, traditional workwear pieces have been reimagined for 2019, and this time around, they're softer and lighter, with more fluid silhouettes. This is especially true of the boiler suit: it remains as hard-working as ever, but in a relaxed fit that flatters your shape without being constrictive.
On top of that, they are fantastically low maintenance. Rather than fussing over what blouse goes with those trousers, you can chuck this on, add a couple of statement accessories, scrunch up the sleeves and go. Kaia Gerber may be only a year into the game, but she's already mastered the model off-duty look - her striped boiler suit, worn with a cross body bag, bomber jacket and vibrant trainers, is effortlessly cool.
For daytime, neutral shades of khaki and beige will be the most wearable. On cooler days, layer a fine rollneck underneath - white looks clean and crisp, or try a contrasting navy to make more of an impact. If you want to introduce a bit more colour, the faded pink boiler suit has emerged as one of the high street's biggest hits.
Team with ankle boots or trainers now and sturdy sandals when the weather heats up. With heeled boots and a blazer on top, you can make it work for the office, too. Or take Margot Robbie's lead and try a flashy accessory like some drop earrings or a tassel bag and mules to elevate the look.
Petite frames may prefer a belted style to accentuate the waist, and an ankle-skimming hem to avoid overwhelming your figure.
For evening, a pair of heels will go a long way toward smartening up the look, especially M&S's black version - the flowing fabric counteracts the stiffness of the classic utility shape, and a sparkling clutch bag and jewels will finish it off beautifully.