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  • Illustrations by Mr Angelo Trofa
  • Words by Mr Peter Henderson, Senior Fashion
  • & Social Media Writer, MR PORTER

The legendary New York Times street style photographer, Mr Bill Cunningham, wears the same jacket each day: an indigo-blue workers' jacket, purchased from the hardware section of a French department store. "The jacket is functional because it has all the pockets and you can launder it," Mr Cunningham says in the 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York. "Why have an expensive, beautiful jacket and wear it with all the cameras rubbing on it and wreck it? I like very simple, down-to-earth things." It is with Mr Cunningham's philosophy (and impressive style) in mind that we present six of our favourite hard-wearing utility jackets, which are based on the smocks manual workers used to wear over dungarees as part of their overalls.

Mr Cunningham at the Frick Collection Garden Party,
New York, July 2013. Photo Neilson Barnard/ Getty Image

Although few of us are blessed with Mr Cunningham's ability to make a hardware store staple look effortlessly chic, the good news is that our picks of similar heritage-inspired jackets (from Michael Bastian to Stone Island) represent stylish updates on the classic look. Simply throw one on over a T-shirt or chambray shirt, with jeans or narrow chinos, and add a pair of lace-up boots. You may not be about to make or repair something, but you can reference that sense of authenticity and honest style in your outfit. Click through the gallery, above, to find out more.

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