We’re doing it again: Last year WIRED insisted it’s time to bring cargo pants back. Then Vogue declared they’re pro-cargo, too. Meanwhile, Nylon told us we should expect to see cargo everywhere, and GQ rounded up 22 pairs as “irrefutable evidence” of this fact. To say nothing of the cargo-specific posts on the Male Fashion Advice subreddit, fashion TikTok, Instagram and the runway. It’s a blaring red (khaki?) light that’s supposed to scream that it’s okay to wear cargo pants.
It’s a reassurance we seemingly all need. I mean, check this out:
Basically, per Google Trends, over the last year, the most searched question related to “pants style,” is whether cargo pants are in style. The second most is whether cargo shorts are in style. And the fourth is whether cargo pants were in style in 2021.
In fairness, there’s a good reason for wanting a little backup here. Just five short years ago, the Wall Street Journal (like WIRED, another well-known sartorial authority) infamously shit all over cargo shorts, telling the tale of a man who noticed that over the course of his 11-year marriage, as many as 15 pairs of his cargo shorts had gone missing. When he asked his wife about it, she admitted to throwing them away. And everyone cheered her on because that’s how toxic the anti-cargo sentiment had become. (It was everywhere.) The fashion police even got the TSA to put out an anti-cargo statement, claiming they were among the worst things to wear while traveling via plane.
So let’s forgive those who are reluctant to believe this new hype. Or require secondary confirmation via Google. We’ve lived through too many years of anti-cargo sentiment to think otherwise. We were ridiculed for far too long for the chunky pockets that made it look as though our pants/shorts were always a little wet, even though we gloriously had room to carry everything we needed, which I should add, in these pandemic times is more necessary than ever (for masks, for vaccine cards, etc.).
All of which is to say, yes, cargo pants/shorts are kinda hideous. But almost all of us love them anyway. So much so that maybe someday we won’t need other people to tell us it’s okay to be seen in public in them.