How to Style Cargo Pants - A Summer Hot Trend
How to Style Cargo Pants - A Summer Hot Trend

Characterized by the presence of one or more side pockets, cargo pants offer both comfort and utility. You can wear them when working outdoors, running errands around town or for pretty much any other casual occasion. Even if you’re familiar with the basic design of cargo pants, though, there are probably some things about them you don’t know.

What Are Cargo Pants?

Also known as combat trousers, cargo pants are full-length pants that feature one or more side pockets about halfway down the pant legs. Of course, it’s not uncommon for pants to have pockets. Normally, these pockets are found around the top of the pants, specifically the left and right sides of the waistline. Cargo pants are distinguished from other full-length pants, however, by featuring a different placement for the pockets. In addition to the standard pockets found near the waistline, cargo pants feature one or more side pockets — known as cargo pockets — farther down the pant legs.

According to Wikipedia, the origins of cargo pants can be traced back to the late 1930s, during which they worn by soldiers in the British Armed Forces. Shortly thereafter, the United States military adopted cargo pants in their uniforms. Both militaries discovered the utility of cargo pants. When wearing them, soldiers were able to carry more items.

While cargo pants were originally invented for military use, they’ve since made their way into the civilian world. For decades, fashion-conscious men and women from across the world have worn cargo pants as part of their daily attire.

Who Wears Cargo Pants?

Because they are great for storage, cargo pants are still used in uniforms and they’re still worn widely by professionals who need to keep items readily available. Cargo pant styles are also still worn by military personnel and police officers. You’ll see them being worn by first responders and many other working professionals. They’re popular with construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and others who work with their hands.

However, cargo pants can be worn by anyone and often are. This is a popular look and it’s practical whether you’re working or just having a day of relaxation. After all, everyone’s got things to carry.

Types of Cargo Pants

Pants that have cargo pockets are cargo pants. However, there are many different designs and different types of cargo pants.

EMT pants are cargo pants that are specifically designed for first responders. These pants are usually made with a blend of polyester and cotton fabrics that creates a durable material that’s easy to machine wash. Often, these pants are reinforced in heavy-wear areas like the knees. EMT cargo pants are made with lots of pockets. The big pockets often have dividers to make it easy to store medical supplies. EMT cargo pants are often made in dark blues, grays, and blacks, common uniform colors.

Tactical cargo pants are worn by SWAT team members and other police officers. Tactical cargo pants are made to be exceptionally durable. These cargo pants are made with concealed pockets, smaller pockets that are hidden inside the large cargo pockets. Tactical pants are usually reinforced and made with double stitching techniques to make them wear-resistant. Tactical cargo pants are frequently made in shades of gray, black, green, khaki, and blue.

Hiking cargo pants are made to withstand the elements and provide lots of pocket space. Made for toughness, water resistance, and storage capacity, hiking cargo pants are designed for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. These pants are perfect for fishing, camping, and any sort of outdoor leisure. You can often find hiking cargo pants in camouflage patterns and other natural Earth colors, like brown and khaki.

Slim-fit cargo pants are one of the newer types of cargo pants out there. This design is different from traditional cargo pant styles because it’s made to be form-fitting, rather than loose. Otherwise, slim fit cargo pants are like any other type of cargo pants, with plenty of pocket space and durable fabric.

Cargo jogger pants are designed as athletic wear that has the traditional cargo pant style. These cargo pants are generally made in soft, breathable cloth with a drawstring or elastic waistbands that are contouring and comfortable. These cargo pants still have leg pockets but unlike traditional cargo pants styles, they’re made to be lightweight and they aren’t designed with heavy fabric types.

High-end cargo pants are now totally a thing, too. Now, cargo pants are made from a huge variety of materials, from silk to leather, and made in straight-leg, flare, and skinny styles. High-end fashion designers have offered their own expensive versions of cargo pants that have been worn by celebrities all across the entertainment industry. High-end cargo pants are made in a dizzying array of colors and patterns.

Denim cargo pants are another relatively new development when it comes to cargo pant styles. Cargo pant styles have now made the leap to denim to become a legitimate blue jeans style. Denim cargo pants have the classic big leg pockets and typically, several more pockets everywhere to emphasize the cargo pant design.

How to Choose Cargo Pants

When shopping for cargo pants, look to see how many cargo pockets they feature. While many cargo pants only have two pockets, some feature over a dozen pockets. The 14-Pocket Cotton Cargo Pants sold exclusively here at MakeYourOwnJeans, for instance, have 14 pockets, each of which offers a separate compartment in which you can store and carry small items. With so many pockets, you won’t have to worry about lack of storage space.

You should choose a pair of cargo pants in an appropriate color. As mentioned above, cargo pants are manufactured and sold in most colors. Which color should you choose exactly? Like with most garments, there’s no single best color for cargo shorts. It all depends on your personal style and preferences. With that said, universal colors like black, brown, beige and green tend to offer the highest level of versatility. By choosing cargo pants in a universal color, you’ll be able to wear them with more garments and accessories.

If you’re worried that your cargo pants will shrink or fade shortly after purchasing them, you may want to choose a pre-washed style. Pre-washed cargo shorts are washed during production. They are usually made of cotton that, during its production, is submerged in water for a short period of time. As a result, pre-washed cargo shorts are less likely to shrink and less likely to fade than their raw, unwashed counterparts.

Do’s and don’t’s of wearing cargo pants

Like every fashion trend that exists, there are some do’s and don’t’s that should be kept in mind when purchasing and wearing your pair of cargo pants.

  • Cargo pants go best with tank tops and fitted shirts. So, while selecting your top, prefer fitted ones.
  • Because these pants are loose and baggy, they usually look good with short shirts.
  • Wearing heels with cargo pants is a big no-no unless you are dressed formally.
  • Cargo pants with floral shirts do not vibe well.
  • As these pants strive to give you a minimalistic look, don’t overwhelm your attire by adding too many clashing colors and prints.
  • For accessories, sunglasses and bandanas work best.
  • While picking out your pair of cargo pants, make sure they are not too fitted and not too loose as well.
  • For a touristy look, go with regular cargo pants and a strapless tank top.

How to Style Cargo Pants

Photo: elcielojuguetes
Photo: elcielojuguetes

1. Add Color With Tye-Dye

If you really want to ensure your cargo pants outfit is peak 2020, all you need to do is pop on a tie-dye accent. A top, a bag, a face mask, you name it, it’ll work. And here’s why: The most prevalent pattern of this year is guaranteed to elevate any outfit into trendy territory.

2. Try Out Slick Leather

Worried that cargos might be too rough around the edges for your style? Test them out in sleek leather (or faux-leather). The smooth fabric will add a feminine touch to the military silhouette—whether you try it out in sand, black or even fiery red. Add a pouf-sleeve blouse for an extra feminine touch.

3. Go For Combat Boots

On paper, the combination of combat boots and cargo pants sounds like you’re dressed and ready for war. But when the aforementioned pants are tapered at the ankle and the boots come with an ample (but still walkable) heel, this pairing looks chic and refined. Just pop on a shearling coat and you’re dressed for dinner.

4. With Crop Tops

Photo: snobette
Photo: snobette

Crop tops are ideal for pairing with cargo pants. Cargo pants are loose and bouncy, so you need a top that can balance your entire outfit and not make you look like a sack of potatoes. It is best to opt for plain or checkered crop tops as your outfit should look more relaxed and less girly.

5. Pair With A Graphic Knit

Show the world that you’re not afraid of cargo pants by wearing them with a super loud sweater, like this poppy landscape number or even a bold floral print or abstract pattern. Loud sweaters, not your thing? You can also just test out an unconventional color combos—like trying green cargoes with a bright purple or light blue top.

8. Slip-On A Cargo Jumpsuit

Photo: ebay
Photo: ebay

To really max out those utilitarian vibes, try a one-and-done jumpsuit that’s loaded up with pockets. Just be sure to dress up your ‘fit with some decidedly glamorous accessories, including heeled booties and a luxe-looking bag. If you’re worried about getting lost under that roomy silhouette, layer a solid T-shirt or turtleneck underneath to easily emphasize your figure.

9. Pair Them With Leopard Anything

We’re always claiming that leopard print is a neutral, but this outfit is undeniable proof of that fact. The spotted blazer looks so casually thrown on over two basics—a simple tee and cargoes—that you almost forget it’s there. Okay, so it might not totally disappear but this loud jacket does have the proven ability to gracefully share the spotlight with the other facets of this outfit.

10. With Oversized Top

You can never go wrong with oversized tops and cargo pants if you apply a simple trick – Tie a knot in the front or tuck the front center half of your shirt inside your pants to make your outfit look on point. Avoid wearing oversized tees if you don’t want to tuck them in because your entire body will look out of proportion.

11. Sporty Look in Cargo Pants With Biker Jackets

Photo: popsugar
Photo: popsugar

Ladies, how about looking stylish yet edgy in your outfits? Street style is loved among people of all ages, so this outfit is an excellent example of a great street style.

Try wearing your cargo pants with a leather bike jacket and a simple monochromatic shirt underneath. If you want to add more oomph to your entire outfit, combine your dress with ankle boots, as these will give a much more complete look.

12. Blazer with Cargo Pant for Work

Like Victoria Beckham and many other fashionistas, you can opt for cargo pants with coats and tie your hair in a low ponytail. This adds a lot of difference, as managing hair with a coat can get tough at times.

So fashionistas, what do you say? Pair up your cargo pants in a low ponytail, and you’re all set to hit the roads.

13. With a Bright Colored Top for the Beach

Bright colors uplift the mood as well as your overall look. Since cargo pants are usually in limited colors, you can add a lot of color to your outfit by wearing a bright-colored tee as this will give an instant refreshing look. You can wear a baggy top with a cowboy hat if you are up for a casual outing or running some chores over the weekend.

14. An Off Shoulder Shirt with Cargo Pants

Photo: lookbook
Photo: lookbook

Some women love to do girly and feminine clothing; for them wearing cargo pants can get tough as they would not be sure how to combine and contrast the dress to add the touch of femininity. Well, to add a more feminine touch to your attire, wear cargo pants with an off-shoulder blouse.

This style is suitable for parties, or even for simpler times, like hanging out with friends. You should wear them with sneakers for the perfect combination.

15. Heels to Wear with Cargo Pants

When wearing green pants, purple shoes are the best choice. You can see how amazing these purple heels look in this combination. Always look out for dressing options, which will make you prominent and stand out among the rest. An easy way to do this while wearing cargo pants is to compliment them with a plain top or cardigan and carry a statement handbag with it.

This will give a different yet classic look to your entire outfit. You can even pair the dress with heels or flats, whichever you can carry easily and won’t hurt your feet.

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