Cargo Pants Outfit Guide: The Best Men’s Style Ideas

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE

The Fashionisto

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Updated June 30, 2023

Urban Outfitters The Ragged Priest Tanker Pant Cargo PantsPin
The Ragged Priest Tanker Pant Cargo Pants $100. Photo: Urban Outfitters
Make a style statement in baggy cargo pants.

Cargo pants are back in style, and their popularity is soaring again, thanks to the resurgence of the Y2K trend. Once known primarily for military use, cargo pants have become a fashion staple for men. They offer a comfortable fit and signature large pockets that make them perfect for various occasions. 

In this ultimate guide, we’ll delve into the history of cargo pants, explore their evolution in men’s fashion, and highlight the importance of personal style when choosing outfits. We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right cargo pants for your needs and share ideas for creating versatile outfits that reflect your unique style and personality.

The Evolution of Cargo Pants in Men’s Fashion

British Soldier Cargo Pants 1930sPin
Cargo pants began with a utilitarian purpose, embraced by British soldiers during the 1930s. Photo: MJG

The military’s first use of cargo pants can be traced back to the British army during the 1930s when soldiers wore them as part of their combat uniform. The pants were designed to have large pockets that could hold essential items such as ammunition, maps, and other gear required on the battlefield.

Cargo pants did gain popularity among civilians in the 1990s as part of the grunge and hip-hop fashion movements. They have remained a fashion staple ever since and have grown in popularity recently due to trends such as the Y2K fashion revival.

Initially designed for function, cargo pants have become a stylish addition to any outfit. The large pockets on cargo pants have become a defining feature of this versatile piece of clothing. Men can now choose from various styles, including skinny cargo pants, cargo shorts, and cargo joggers.

Types of Cargo Pants

Model Wearing Cargo Pants Short Sleeve ShirtPin
Cargo pants offer the opportunity for a variety of outfits. Photo: MJG

Explore men’s cargo fashion with a diverse selection of styles that cater to different occasions and tastes. These versatile pieces offer endless styling possibilities, from casual cargo pants to skinny variants and cargo shorts. Whether you’re going for a laid-back weekend vibe or a more polished look, cargo pants, joggers, and trousers has something for everyone.

Casual Cargo Pants

Abercrombie Loose Utility Pant Cargo Pants MenPin
Abercrombie & Fitch Loose Utility Pant $39.99. Photo: Abercrombie & Fitch
Approach the classic cargo pant in an easygoing dark grey.

Casual cargo pants are ideal for daily use and offer comfort and versatile styling options. Pair them with a basic tee and sneakers to complete the look. Available in various colors such as khaki, beige, and navy.

Skinny Cargo Pants

Express Athletic Slim Modern Chino Cargo PantPin
Express Athletic Slim Modern Chino Cargo Pant $98. Photo: Express
Embrace a slim silhouette with these cargos in olive green.

A contemporary twist on the traditional cargo pant, skinny cargo pants are excellent for an evening out. Style them with a collared shirt and canvas tennis shoes for a polished appearance.

Men’s Cargo Shorts

ASOS Design Jersey Cargo Shorts BeigePin
ASOS Design Jersey Cargo Shorts $29 in Beige. Photo: ASOS
Get comfortable in this jersey spin on cargo shorts.

Embrace the warmth of summer with men’s cargo shorts. These comfortable shorts can be effortlessly paired with a simple t-shirt and sandals for a laid-back vibe.

Men’s Cargo Joggers

Forever 21 Drawstring Waist Cargo JoggersPin
Forever 21 Drawstring Waist Cargo Joggers $28. Photo: Forever 21
Embrace extra comfort with a hybrid of joggers and cargo pants!

For a relaxed weekend, opt for cargo joggers. These cozy pants can be styled with a flannel shirt and leather boots for a stylish look.

Cargo Trousers

Banana Republic Linen Cargo Dress PantPin
Banana Republic Linen Cargo Dress Pant $130. Photo: Banana Republic
Add a relaxed element to your smart ensembles with cargo trousers.

A practical and fashionable option, cargo trousers feature multiple pockets and a sturdy design. They are suitable for casual and semi-formal occasions depending on the material and cut. Pair them with a button-up shirt for a more polished ensemble, or dress them with a graphic tee for a casual outing.

Parachute Cargo Pants

Bershka Parachute Cargo PantsPin
Bershka Parachute Cargo Pants $48. Photo: ASOS
Relish the blend of functionality and fashion with these parachute cargo pants.

Embrace style and function with parachute cargo pants. With ample pockets and a relaxed fit, they’re perfect for outdoorsy and fashion-savvy individuals. Match them with boots and a white tee for a relaxed, stylish look.

Styling Cargo Pant Outfits

Cargo Pants Men Grunge StylePin
Embrace grunge style by adding flannel to your cargo pant look. Photo: MJG

Personal style is a crucial consideration when choosing an outfit featuring cargo pants. The different styles of cargo pants available cater to various occasions, and picking an outfit that reflects your style is essential. Whether you prefer a classic, casual, or trendy streetwear look, cargo pants can be styled to suit your taste.

Classic Outfits

Cargo pants have come a long way since their inception as military wear. Today, they are a staple in every man’s wardrobe, offering functionality and style. For a classic, military-inspired, or stylish look, cargo pants can easily be incorporated into your outfits. In this section, we’ll look at three classic cargo pants outfits.

Khaki Cargo Pants for Smart Casual

Cargo Pants Denim Jacket V-neck MenPin
Keep your look simple with a denim jacket and cargo pants. Photo: MJG

Khaki cargo pants offer a classic look that has stood the test of time. These pants are a versatile choice and can be worn with various outfits. Pair khaki cargo pants with a simple white tee and sneakers for a casual day out. Add a denim jacket to complete the look.

For a semi-formal occasion, khaki cargo pants can be dressed in a dress shirt and loafers. Add a blazer to create a more polished look. They can also be worn to the office with a button-down shirt and dress shoes for a business casual idea.

Green Cargo Pants for a Military-inspired Outfit

Male Model Cargo Pants Military Inspired Look BootsPin
Mix shades of green for an effortless military-inspired look with your cargo. Photo: MJG

Green cargo pants are the perfect nod to their military roots and can be used to create a military-inspired outfit. Pair green cargo pants with a camo jacket and leather boots for a rugged outdoor look. Add a beanie to keep warm in cooler weather.

Green cargo pants can be paired with a black turtleneck and sneakers for a more modern take on the military-inspired look. Add a leather bomber jacket to create a sleek, stylish look. When it comes to accessories, opt for a military-style watch or a pair of aviator sunglasses to complete the outfit.

Black Cargo Pants for a Sleek Look

Male Model Black Cargo Trousers Leather Bomber JacketPin
Black cargo pants offer a sleek option for everyday wear. Photo: MJG

Black cargo pants are excellent for creating a sleek, stylish outfit. Pair black cargo pants with your favorite tee and sneakers. Add an overshirt or bomber for a layered ensemble.

For a dressier look, black cargo pants can be paired with a collared shirt and dress shoes. Furthermore, you can elevate your look with a stylish sport coat.

Dressing Up Cargo Pants for a Night Out

While cargo pants may seem like a casual piece of clothing, they can easily be dressed up for a night out. With the proper styling and accessories, cargo pants can be transformed into a sophisticated outfit.

Pair with Loafers and a Dress Shirt

Male Model Dress Shirt Cargo Pants LoafersPin
Try something different for a night out by pairing a dress shirt with cargo pants. Photo: MJG

Pair your cargo pants with a dress shirt and loafers for a dressed-up look. Choose a pair of cargo pants in a dark color, such as black or navy, and pair them with a classic white dress shirt. Add a pair of leather loafers to complete the look. This outfit is perfect for a night out at a nice restaurant.

Wear a Leather Jacket

Male Model Leather Jacket Cargo PantsPin
Add some edge to your cargo look with a leather jacket. Photo: MJG

Pair your cargo pants with a black leather jacket for a chic night out. Choose a pair of cargo pants in a neutral color, such as khaki or beige, so that your jacket stands out. Finish off the outfit with black leather boots.

Elevate with a Sport Coat

Male Model Cargo Pants Sport CoatPin
Smarten up your cargo outfit with the addition of a sport coat. Photo: MJG

Pair your cargo trousers with a collared shirt and sport coat for dressier occasions. Choose a pair of cargo pants in a light color, such as white or beige, and pair them with a classic collared shirt. Complete with a sport coat. This look is perfect for a casual bar or club night out.

Streetwear Style 

Cargo pants are a staple in streetwear fashion. They provide a comfortable and functional element to any outfit while adding a touch of edginess.

Dark Cargo and a Chunky Sweater

Male Model Cargo Pants Sweater Dark Boots FashionPin
Sport a chunky sweater with cargo pants and boots for a fashionable streetwear look. Photo: MJG

Pair your cargo pants with a chunky crewneck sweater for a trendy streetwear look. Choose a pair of cargo pants in a dark color, such as black or navy, and pair them with a chunky sweater in a contrasting color. Add your favorite sneakers to complete the ensemble.

T-shirt & Sneakers

When all else fails, rock a classic white t-shirt with cargo pants. Pin
When all else fails, rock a classic white t-shirt with cargo pants. Photo: MJG

Pair your cargo pants with a simple t-shirt and stylish sneakers for a more casual street style. Choose a pair of cargo pants in a neutral color, such as khaki or beige, and pair them with a classic white t-shirt. Add a pair of trendy sneakers to complete the outfit.

Tips for Choosing Cargo Pants

Male Model Cargo Pants Fitting RoomPin
Consider how you plan to incorporate your cargo pants into your wardrobe while shopping. Photo: MJG

Choosing the right cargo pants can be daunting, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make the process easier:

Body type: Consider your body type when choosing cargo pants. Men with a leaner build may prefer slim-fit cargo pants, while those with a larger frame prefer relaxed-fit pants.

Personal style: Choosing cargo pants that reflect your style is essential. While some may prefer classic khaki cargo pants, others prefer black or skinny cargo pants.

Weather condition: Cargo pants can be worn in any weather condition, but some materials are more suitable for specific needs. For example, cargo pants made of cotton or linen are great for warm weather, while cargo pants made of heavier materials like wool or polyester are better for cooler weather.

Final Words

From their humble beginnings as military uniforms, cargo pants have come a long way in fashion. Today, they are versatile and practical clothing items that can be worn on various occasions. 

By understanding the history and evolution of cargo pants, the different styles available, and the importance of personal style, anyone can create a fashionable and functional outfit featuring cargo pants. 

Whether you prefer a casual, classic, or trendy look, there is a pair of cargo pants for you. With this ultimate guide, you are now equipped with the knowledge and inspiration to confidently style cargo pants and make them a go-to item in your wardrobe.


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