You’ll Be Wearing Cargo Pants Before Your Legs Even Know What Happened

After I finished writing about the potential return of the worst of early aughts denim, it occurred to me that if low-rise skinny jeans are being given the courtesy of a possible comeback, we might as well admit we’re in the midst of a full-on pants apocalypse.

Having burned through pant after pant with the maniacal efficiency of inseam-starved vigilantes (skinny jeans, bootcut jeans, khakis, drop crotch pants, Kamm pants, leggings, track pants, vintage Levi’s, flares, capris, overalls, trousers), we’ve left a trail of discarded trends in our wake.

But what pant is equipped to swoop in and restore the kingdom to its former good name? What pant is humble enough that it has never been crowned The Pant of the season? Cool enough that it could win over the hearts and groins of a nation? Functional enough that it would be elected for more than looks alone, equipped to rule wisely for more than a single season?

Photo by Vanni Bassetti via Getty Images

I agonized over the answer for days until it dropped right into my lap like a crumb from a cupcake. I was casually Google image-searching Stella Tennant on a Tuesday eve (as one does) and came across the image pictured to the left (here’s another photo of the same pants where you can see the pockets a bit better).

Cargo pants. Cargo pants! They’ve flirted with the upper echelons of cool on and off for years, especially among artists in the music scene. Worn with midriff-baring tops, they were one of the iconic Aaliyah’s style signatures. Jennifer Lopez wore them in her music video for “Jenny from the Block.” The members of Destiny’s Child coordinated theirs. Later, Avril Lavigne made cargo pants part of her skater persona. (And remember when Cady Heron wore army pants and flip flops?) It all brought back so many wonderful memories. Cargo pants have enough history that this wouldn’t be their first time at the popular pant rodeo, but they’ve remained niche enough that they wouldn’t feel stale.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Not only were people wearing them all over Couture Week in June (including Bella Hadid), but Rosie Assoulin has also been quietly producing them for years. Monse sent multiple iterations down the runway in its Spring/Summer 2017 collection, too — a triple-edged barometer for cool if I ever saw one.

I’m calling it. Cargo pants are about to be The Pant of fall 2017. I personally could not be more thrilled. What’s not to love about a roomy twill with capacious pockets to boot? I’ve already started stalking a few pairs on the internets. Feel free to creep alongside me.

Get more Fashion ?
  • Hayley

    I called this weeks ago, and would like to note that Abercrombie and Fitch (gasp, yes) has a cute pair I am eyeing (also note: they are low-rise, therefore combining your two fashion premonitions):

  • Angela

    Cargo pants look cute on no woman. You can work with them and try to ameliorate the horror of what they do to hips and beautifully thick thighs. But just no. Fashion industry, come up with something else.

  • Imaiya Ravichandran
    • Imaiya Ravichandran

      to be fair tho, destiny child camo really was a lük.

    • I actually snorted at my desk. This GIF never gets old.

  • Natalia Soto

    This trend has been in full force for us teenagers for the past couple of years now. I can’t turn a corner at school without seeing a girl in a tattoo choker, black cami top, white air force ones, ultra baggy camouflage cargos, and hair worn like britney spears’ in baby one more time (

    it’s driving me nuts

  • Shevaun

    I’m down.

  • I found a pair of the world’s best cargo pants (Dries van Noten A/W 2015) on Vestiaire Collective for 150€ and thought about whether I should get them or not and now they’re GONE and I’m inconsolable :(((

    • Harling Ross

      Claire!!! This story made me physically sad. But also now I’m gonna go look for dries cargos

    • xtyb

      Oh wow the thought of Dries cargos!!! I will be googling for a bit now.

  • Torpedorp


  • Jules

    nah I’ll pass on this one!!!

  • Emily
  • Am I the only happy one? I still have some choice Da Nang cargos hoarded away somewhere…. I think. *runs home to frantically rummage through recesses of closet*

    PS The 2nd sentence/graph is literary perfection. I love it

    • Harling Ross


  • Pterodactyl111

    Yeah for real though, I’m just gonna keep wearing dresses/skirts all the time.

  • Kelsey

    i aint mad!

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    Cargo pants are not for me, but if they work for you, wear them.

  • Jessica

    I’m not mad about this at all.

    • spicyearlgrey

      i was about to say no but saw the khaki and pinstripe pair and fell in luv

  • Tori Johnson

    i fully support this look

  • Miss Crystal

    I have ONE pair of cargo pants that I keep in my bin of cliché “backpacking clothes” (my Birkenstocks also reside there) because my usual style is preppy af. This article slightly makes me want to pull them out and use them in America, but it’s kind of hilarious how there’s an almost unspoken rule that cargo pants are socially unacceptable. I still don’t know if I’m brave enough to wear them without a stamp on my passport…

  • sifsgoldwig

    Cargo pants: for those times when you don’t actually have saddlebags, but wonder what they would look like.

  • Annie

    TBH, TBD whether I’ll personally engage with the cargo trend, but what’s more classically man-repelling than a sense of humor and a challenging pant?

  • No, I won’t. Never worn them and never will (on my own will) because they’re unflattering even on models.

  • Pants right now are a free for all , so add cargo pants to the mix ! I love ❤️ the Rosie Assoulin ones .
    Dress The Part

  • Tina Haagensen

    My fave mix was my XXL-oversize Camo pants + Scottish tartan print tank top + strappy disco heels + shrinked Sukajan jacket (all about playing with different volumes!) + an übercool attitude. This was in the early 90’s!

  • Rebecca Lake

    can we burry the 90’s so it stops coming back to haunt us?

  • TommysMargarita

    I hate cargo. I say NOOO

  • Margherita Cecchetelli

    I hate cargoooo

  • Grace

    I’m actually shocked by the strong rejection in the comment section, cargo pants have the potential to be the foundation of soooo many good lewks

    • Harling Ross


    • Robin

      Agreeeee I friggin love em

  • Emmie

    comfort level up by 1000000 though

  • Hansika Vijayaraghavan

    I spent middle school wearing different colors of the same Arizona cargo capris from JCPenney. I had hot pink, grey, khaki, and sky blue. No regrets.

    • Wait, same!! I had three pairs of the same cargos from hollister, in three diff colors. One camo, obvi, one khaki, one white. I wish I still had them!

  • Caroline Christianson

    For years, I looked for the perfect green cargo pants to achieve a *Jennifer Aniston at the airport* look, and finally found them at Anthro. Would link here but couldn’t find them on the website. There are definitely other good options available there, though.

  • Winsant surat

    they are in fashion due to the comfort factor….

  • Auriel

    Read this article Friday. Bought cargo pants Sunday. Wore cargo pants Monday. Showed serious restraint by not wearing cargo pants every day this week.

  • Fereshteh-Faith Oftadeh

    What if it makes my thighs look fat???

  • Clairebear

    I have been praying for this day since 8th grade. Any word on carpenter jeans? Anyone?

  • Kawaii-sensei

    Just a weeb stopping by..

    Look at all the fashion pretenders.

  • 2dope2smokedopesoismokeweed

    wow they all looked stupid as fucking idiot who just accidently knocked up her mom

    • 2dope2smokedopesoismokeweed

      this comment will probably go viral ugh

      • 2dope2smokedopesoismokeweed

        suck my tiny cock