Shutterstock

Cargo Pants Are Back In Style — This Is How To Wear Them The 2018 Way

Share

Back in the mid-2000s, I owned a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch camouflage cargo pants that I absolutely loved. They were from the mens’ department and perfectly worn in with thick ties at the ankle — and the pockets! So many pockets! But after a decade-long vendetta against the baggy, shapeless pant — in 2013, I told my sister that the khaki cargos she packed for a trip to Africa probably shouldn’t be worn for anything other than a safari — I'm once again contemplating which multi-pocket style to purchase and what to wear with said cargo pants now that they're back in style.

And sure, cargo pants are polarizing. But we learned to love fanny packs, mom jeans, scrunchies, and dad sneakers again, so let’s keep an open mind. Just look to top models and celebrities for proof. Gigi Hadid, Kaia Gerber, and Elsa Hosk are just a few of the trendsetters championing the cargo comeback, along with a slew of Instagram influencers and street-style stars. The appearance of utilitarian trousers in the Spring/Summer 2019 runway collections — in hot pink at Prabal Gurung; white linen and lace at Jonathan Simkhai; tailored and modern at Givenchy; sporty heritage vibes at Ralph Lauren, languid and relaxed at Sies Marjan — only further solidifies the style as an official trend.

Shutterstock

(From left: Prabal Gurung, Jonathan Simkhai, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Sies Marjan)

If their return comes as equal parts shocking and terrifying, consider easing into the idea with a pared-down option, like wide-leg trousers with flat patch pockets. If you're into athleisure, opt for track and jogger styles featuring sporty details, like chunky zippers, reflective accents, and clip-buckle belts that will seamlessly blend with your streetwear wardrobe. Or, if you’re a purist, stick to the classic workwear look: slouchy and relaxed in rugged khaki or camo canvas, with plenty of functional compartments. From there, it all comes down to styling in a way that balances the utilitarian aspect and elevates the overall look. To that end, here are a few ideas for how to wear cargo pants, should you be so inclined.

Denim Cargos + Puff-Sleeve Blouse

Shutterstock

Jeans make for a nice entry point to the cargo trend; they're an easy, familiar starting point to work from. Choose a pair with lots of pockets and flaps, in a fit that’s slim — but not skinny. A feminine puff-sleeve blouse and statement heels are the perfect pairing to offset utilitarian denim.

Victorian Cotton Top

$445

Orseund Iris

Multi-Zip High-Waist Jeans

$1,790

Balenciaga

Savior High-Rise Cargo Jeans

$350

SLVRLAKE Denim

Denim Cargo Pants

$764

Ottolinger

Cargo Tracksuit

Dvora/Shutterstock

If you’re all about le chic sportif, look for athletic cargo styles that will seamlessly blend with your streetwear wardrobe. A ripstop nylon tracksuit with side flap pockets and sporty snaps, zips, and cinchers should be well within any your comfort zone. Complete the look with a matching jacket, then accessorize with heeled booties and some ‘90s-inspired shades.

Neptune Jacket

$156

I.AM.GIA

Neptune Pants

$112

I.AM.GIA

Silver Moon Jacket

$1,613

Alyx Studio

Silver Moon Pants

$1,054

Alyx Studio

Camo Pants + Button Down

Silvia Olsen/Shutterstock

If you have it in your head that camouflage can’t be sophisticated, think again. There are few things that can’t be made more elegant by adding a crisp, white button-down, and cargo pants are no exception.

Cast Shirt

$375

Absence of Paper

Camo Cargo Pants

$250

Re/Done Originals

Capri Shirt

$280

Totême

Oversized Pocket Cargo Trousers

$940

Faith Connexion

Workwear Pants + Luxe Jacket

Shutterstock

Balance baggy workwear bottoms by going rich and refined on top. A silky camisole and sumptuous shearling jacket lend instant luxury to practical khaki pants. Bring in a bit of shine with a couple delicate gold chains around your neck, then let your jacket slip off your shoulder for the full effortless cool-girl effect.

Oversized Shearling Coat

$5,475

Miu Miu

High-Rise Cargo Trousers

$330

Hilfiger Collection

Midsize Shearling Jacket

$2,700

Acne Studios

Gemma Utility Pants

$575

Jean Atelier

Wide Leg Cargo + Chunky Knit

Beretta/Sims/Shutterstock

Too timid to tackle the utilitarian look in its fullest concept? Consider this cargo lite. Sleek, wide-leg trousers with understated side pockets offer a taste of the trend without the fear factor. An outdoorsy jacket and a chunky knit help ground the look in its rugged roots in a way that’s still palatably subtle.

Mastodone Check Jacket

$544

Holzweiler

Wide-Leg Pants

$605

Nina Ricci

The Adam Sweater

$425

Cienne

Spencer Trousers

$167

AYM

'90s Cargos + Coordinated Top

Broadimage/Shutterstock

Give your cargos the Yeezy treatment à la Kim Kardashian by selecting a slouchy style with a high, nipped-in waist, elasticized cuffs, and all-over 3D pockets. Wear it with a curve-hugging bodysuit layered under an oversized work shit — all in a single, muted hue. Then step into a pair of (what else?) heeled sock boots to complete your Calabasas uniform.

Workwear Shirt

$500

Yeezy

Terra Cargo Pants

$90

Prix

Multi-Pocket Track Pants

$77

Ohheygirl

Front-Pocket Cargos

$68

Sorella

Trousers With Pockets + Colorful Sweater

Olivier Degoulange/Shutterstock

Loose, white trousers have such a clean, sleek look about them that you’ll hardly even notice a few simple pockets along the legs. This is another excellent entry-level option for those looking to start in the shallow end of the trend. Pair with a slim-fitting, graphic sweater for a bold contrast. (This also helps take some of the focus away from your pants, if you’re really feeling self-conscious about this fashion risk.)

Multi-Color Vertical Stripe Turtleneck

$665

JoosTricot

Lithe Denim Trouser

$425

Rachel Comey

White Wool Cargo Pants

$1,195

Wales Bonner

Eve Belted Trousers

$670

Rejina Pyo

Army Green Cargos + Leopard

Shutterstock

As every fashionable woman knows, leopard functions as a neutral — a very stylish neutral. When worn with army green cargo pants, the resulting look is equal parts utilitarian casual and posh glamour.

Leopard Sweater

$168

Scotch & Soda

Casey Cargo Pants

$268

Citizens of Humanity

Wilfred Free Mila Pant

$128

Aritzia

Utility Cargo Pants

$450

3.1 Phillip Lim