In Defense of Cargo Pockets

The haters need to back off

August 2, 2016 9:00 am

This week, The Wall Street Journal examined one of fashion’s most hated styles:

The cargo short.

Yes, that Wall Street Journal. 

The takeaway: Cargo shorts are ugly. You once wore them. Don’t wear them now. Oh, and also, they’ll destroy your marriage.

But fear not, fashion dads. Not only is it absolutely fine to wear pants with such pockets—which are, after all, good enough for the fighting men and women of the U.S. goddamn military—they can actually look good.

But first we must acknowledge and understand the stigma around those funny little pockets. It begins with WSJ writer Nicole Hong’s very definition of the cargo short, which she describes as “loosely cut shorts with large pockets sewn onto the sides.”

How unsightly.

The definition brings to mind images of flip-flops. Tank tops. That guy who wear sunglasses on the back of his head.

We can all agree: not a good look. But if you’re able to disassociate the cargo pocket from its dark ’90s iteration, you’ll be surprised by the new crop of cargo. Because designers have been elevating this benighted style with much more refined, minimalist takes.

They’ve cooked up tailored silhouettes. Cleaner pockets. Acceptable lengths. And of course, all the advantages of at least two extra pockets, which, let’s face it, do come in handy on those occasions when you want to leave your “man bag” at home.

Below, five pairs of cargo pockets that we consider perfectly acceptable.

Clockwise from top left: Folk Slim-Fit Tappered Cotton Cargo Trousers ($235); Outerknown Playa Short ($135); Poler Stuff Volley Camp Shorts ($60); Shades of Grey Cargo Short ($129 $45); Snow Peak Field Stretch Cargo Short ($160 $112)

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