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Are Men’s Cargo Trousers Trending Again?

Initially made for and worn by the British Armed Forces in the 1930s, cargo trousers had somewhat a bumpy ride throughout the years, going through some bad press in the 1980s, until making a successful come back at the end of the last century. And indeed, men's cargo trousers have become increasingly popular again over the last few seasons. Fortunately, though, long gone are those oversized cargos from the early noughties.

Granted, not the best choice if you're going for a formal outfit. Cargo trousers, sometimes referred to as combat trousers or combats, are the ultimate piece of clothing for a more relaxed look. Celebrities, from Ryan Reynolds to Shia LaBeouf, rock this casual appearance. Furthermore, numerous designer brands intending on reviving the military style are bringing cargo trousers back to their collections. They are messing around with fit and form, utilising traditional colours like olive, black and navy; but also, and rather unsurprisingly, introducing various camouflages. Indeed, combats play a big part in the military-inspired streetwear renaissance.

Across men's fashion, casual wear especially, we can find bulkier, baggy combat trousers. Those with a somewhat slimmer outline and smaller pockets, and cargos with a regular straight leg. You can choose from cargo trousers with tapered legs or even smart-looking slim ones. But if you are a traditionalist, you'll probably stick to the somewhat bulkier cargos. Whatever you decide, since most of them suit any body shape, you'll find one for you. Cargo trousers were designed for function, and multiple leg pockets of various size and positioning are what makes them unique. Big enough to fit all outdoor essentials when hiking, and traditionally used to hold field dressings and other equipment, these are quite handy during the peacetime too e.g. in the urban jungle and for less outdoor savvy types. There are examples with - literally - pockets within pockets, but most designs keep it simple, sometimes solely as a decoration.

Sagging under the weight of their own material and sitting near the knees, large pockets are the closest to the original cargo trousers design. Most models come with expandable, pleated pockets but in many examples, the pockets are flat. Those tailored pockets, usually located closer to the hips, are neater, and it is a solution very popular with modern hiking trousers. These pockets stay flat until the very moment you need them. Other than that, they remain almost invisible. Moreover, as cargo pockets tend to make your legs look bulkier, for many street fashion enthusiasts these trousers work best when pockets are left empty to complement the body shape. Naturally, practical and hard-wearing cargo trousers are great to use in the big outdoors. Those loose-fitting trousers are designed to be extremely durable and suitable for all outdoor activities. All those pockets can be handy while hiking and drawstring legs make them compatible with hiking boots too.

They're an excellent choice for the summer season and work great when combined with a plain T-shirt, lightweight shirt, jumper and sneakers. In colder weather when sporting cargo trousers pair them with an oversized sweatshirt, navy overcoat or flight jacket and heavy military boots. We can see then that although based on a traditional military uniform, cargo trousers have long moved past being solely a piece of standard-issue clothing. And regardless of their practical applications, they became a mainstream fashion item for multiple occasions.


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