September 23rd, 2009
Q: I noticed [cargo pants] are making somewhat of a comeback, especially simpler and better fitted (read, slimmer) versions. J. Crew has a couple out this fall that I bought and am in love with. Rugged, military, and go with a lot of stuff.
A: Cargo pants are indeed making a comeback, what with the military-inspired trends we’re seeing for men this Fall. The good news? The more fitted versions of cargo pants that you’re seeing today are a far cry from the oversized, stuff-your-pockets versions that were popularized in the 1990s. What we love about cargo pants is that they’re a great substitute for khaki pants and the dark-rinse jeans you have in heavy rotation. And they do work with a wide variety of looks. Here’s three looks that show you how to wear cargo pants:
Look 1: Shawl Collar Cardigan + Collared Shirt + Skinny Tie + Cargo Pants + Boots
Why does this outfit work? We love the mix of casual and formal, tailored and relaxed. The shawl collar cardigan acts as a casual version of the blazer - and takes the edge off of the collared shirt and tie combo. The rugged boots, which feel at home with the cargo pants, finish off the look with a casual flourish.
Look 2: Bright Polo + Cargo Pants + Casual Belt + Sneakers
Why does this outfit work? The masculine cargo pant gets a shot of fresh air with a bright yellow polo. The unexpected shot of color breathes new life into the look - and we love the mustardy yellow paired with a neutral khaki. The casual look is belted with a canvas belt and finished off with a pair of stylish sneakers.
Look 3: Henley + Cargo Pants + Casual Belt + Boots
Why does this outfit work? The fitted henley exemplifies casual elegance, and it adds an air of relaxed sophistication to the otherwise rugged look. Tuck the henley into the cargo pants and complete the look with a casual canvas belt. Rugged military-inspired boots help keep the look grounded as well.
Last thoughts about how to wear cargo pants?
(1) Cargo pants are weekend-only pants. They’re a substitute for khakis and jeans, but unless your office is pretty casual, save them for the weekend.
(2) Because cargo pants have a rugged, military vibe to them, pair them with the appropriate style of shoe: boots or sneakers. No fancy oxfords or loafers.
(3) Please, please, please don’t stuff your pockets with extraneous items. A slim-fit wallet, yes. But if your pockets are bulging, that’s too much. Just because cargo pants feature extra pockets doesn’t mean that they’re meant to be functional.
Have a great tip about how to wear cargo pants? Share it with us in the comments!