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Item of the week: the cargo pants

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: Na-kd, Lili Sidonio, Nike

What it is:

Cargo pants come as part of a slew of military-inspired fashion trends beginning to make their way back into fashion’s hotspot. In terms of fashion, cargo pants typically refer to loose-fitting trousers, often made in a cotton-based material, which come with patched pockets down the side of the legs and, usually, finish with an elasticated cuffs. For recent iterations, brands have modernised the look with features like wide-legged cuts, high waisted silhouettes and alternative material choices. These new additions take the style beyond its army-based roots, into a pant design that works for a wider range of shoppers, from Gen Z girls to older men.

Image: Rains

Why you’ll want it:

The cargo pants fit in with the currently trending loose-fit pant style, as customers opt for more casual, comfier designs as a replacement for jeans. While the trousers have made regular resurgences in fashion over recent years, they have currently returned to the spotlight due to their prominence on SS23 runways and popularity among street style stars and influencers. Other forms of evolution have seen the silhouette merge with sportswear, with brands in this field adapting the look to fit their extensive consumer base. This puts a further emphasis on the cargo pant’s cosy fit, an element that shoppers will actively be seeking when the warmer months come.

Image: Karl Lagerfeld

Where we’ve seen it:

In womenswear, designers explored the style through loose silhouettes, with the likes of Givenchy and Fendi even offering up silky iterations of the cargo pant, while still keeping hold of the garment’s staple features. Altuzarra similarly offered a flowing cut, albeit with sleeker elements that elevated the style, bringing it closer to formalwear. Meanwhile, in menswear, the cargo pants took on a more aggressive shape, through the heavy use of pockets and embroidery, as seen in the collections of Reese Cooper and Alyx 9SM. Simone Rocha also mixed up the style, adding buckled elements and chains that adapted the silhouette and edged the piece up.

Image: United Legwear

How to style it:

The cargo pants can provide an array of different outfit options that give off varying “vibes” depending on the style desired. To dress the item down and bring a more feminine touch to the look, add an oversized sweater or slinky crop top with simple sneakers, modernising the style for daytime wear. To edge the item up, pair it with oversized leather elements, chunky boots or raw materials in the form of tops and hoodies. Take it one step further by adding chains or buckled belts, once again taking it into a new form.

Image: Vero Moda

Adding to the already expansive variety of military-inspired designs, the cargo pant has risen above as a style that has only increased in popularity over recent years. Its comfortable cut and modernised evolutions have allowed it to appeal to a wider audience, cementing its place as a wardrobe staple.

Image: Superdry

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

Cargo Pants
Item of the Week