A bit of background
Who would have guessed, even cargo pants can look back on an 80-year-old history? And just as radiance and style suggest, it is a piece of clothing influenced by a functionality-driven “coolness”. Masculinity, coarseness and casualness, suitability for jungle stays and trenches during combat operations, as Rambo so valiantly displayed back in the 80s. The wearer of such garment, consciously or by chance, unleashes emotions close to those unleashed by past Memphis cigarettes advertisements. One must only be aware of it in order to use the characteristics in a way that suits him to his advantage.
The term “Cargo” comes from English. In this respect, the cargo trousers have been given their name based on their inherent functionality, especially in the military. This functionality is, of course, nowadays more likely to be used for work and sports. Generally speaking, the pockets are more often used as an optic enhancer but it’s always a plus to be able to wear the key or wallet comfortably and safely on you, without it being a nuisance.
During World War 2 the military appreciated the ease of transporting smaller loads, especially ammunition. Not only jackets but also trousers were provided with pockets and could already be made of elastic materials. After all, freedom of movement has always been and still is a most welcome feature, and we only accept its absence for the sake of etiquette.
In 1983, the British took up the implementation of this basic idea and equipped their soldiers with a kind of pioneer of cargo trousers – but the idea of placing more than just a bag on the cargo trousers was not yet given to the developer at the time. In the US Army, the model was adapted to the needs of the paratroopers. Soon, the entire military overseas would be equipped with functional bags and pockets on their clothing.
The spread of the cargo trousers as work trousers was quickly accomplished and soon producers started developing models more suitable for civilian life. This garment was particularly well received in the field of sports and leisure time, but never without losing the charisma of its original purpose. However, the entry into the world of fashion itself came relatively late. It wasn’t until the 90s that it became kind of a cult for different movements: With their loose cuffs and the typical wide fit from this decade they stood for casual streetwear.
Cargo pants in present day
Cargo trousers and the style they represent are by no means considered to be an archived relic of past decades. In fact, the functionally developed appearance was bathed in a new life – with appropriate modifications through a tighter cut.
To be clear, they are not “tight”. Only the extremely wide style of the 80s looks like that- the cargo trousers are still comfortable and do not constrict oneself too much. However, it is currently rather straight-cut and not consciously “inflated” like the bat cuttings from yesteryear.
Color design and other details are also predominant in cargo trousers today. If you don’t have a retro-style original from the army, maybe you should follow today’s trendy models – a cargo trouser from the 80s for instance, won’t score so well, no matter how emotionally attached to it you are. On the other hand, “who dares, wins”. Some do dare and try out an old-school vibe, some of them even successfully. However, the views on this are divided. The currently rather carrot-shaped design embodies the zeitgeist and evokes rather hip associations.
The camouflage looks of Cargo pants
Wrapped in camouflage colors and patterns, this design is already considered “tradition” for cargo trousers. Even if you don’t necessarily participate in jungle camps, maybe you just need to help your friends move, this style is very good for you. No matter whether it’s a ballpoint pen, tape measure or personal paraphernalia: utensils that can be found at the thigh are always an added value. For those who like it, these army pants can be upgraded with many modern accessories for men, even less conventional ones such as bracelets and necklaces. Obviously, such garments are generally rare in men’s fashion. Maybe it’s the masculine emphasis that minimizes the risk of kitsch.
Cargo Pants and natural colors
Beige, khaki, olive green, all brown shades but also anthracite and black are the typical colors for cargo trousers. Bold colors such as red or blue would almost make the intended purpose trivial and give the appearance a totally different expression. Imprints are available in a wide variety and are purely a matter of taste. Cargo trousers and their label-free style also offer the opportunity to express your own messages.
Try out different combinations
Today, the range of possible uses and combinations is wider than at the turn of the millennium. On one hand, cargo trousers are by now a quite familiar look and have lost their potential for polarization. On the other hand, the tighter fit is also more presentable than before. The characteristics are determined by what you wear. From shoes to accessories, everything plays a role here.
They can only be outlined as examples and inspire your own ideas: Sneakers, for example, weaken impressions of rebellious ambitions and replace them with a sporty component. A white top, just as well.
Combat boots leave the original impression, emphasize the functional level, thus giving a harmonious overall impression of a different nature. Some recommend denim shirts – a great idea. Personally, I would rather combine sneakers or casual shoes in darker colors.
Anyone who loves a break in style and is confident while doing so, can venture into a completely different experiment. For instance, if you pick a tighter cut for your cargo pants: with neutral to elegant men’s shoes, shirt, and jacket, you will move relatively unnoticed. But, if you also wear a tie, you will come off as a bit more daring. In the right company, however, this can be quite positive and, in any case, testifies to a well-founded sense of fashion coupled with a healthy portion of courage. Jeans jacket would be ideal for this, but a cardigan or blouson are also very good choices. On sporty occasions you can just roll the legs up- immediately you’ll be shining in a different light.
In short, those who love the variety and are equipped with some imagination are well served with cargo trousers. Not only are they fashionable, they offer a type of functionality like no other!