Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Cargo Pants Conundrum

[Note: Valet talked about this a while back, but after getting my own pair of "cargo" pants I felt it was time to chime in and expand.]

Even with the workwear, heritage movement at full steam you'd be hard pressed to find a pair of cargo pants on any well-dressed guy.  This is extremely strange to me especially with guys channeling military and hunting looks more so than ever.  The cargo pant stigma can be easily traced back to the extreme overexposure and abuse it received at the hands of white-suburbia-tween-mega-mall clothier such as Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Aeropostale, and Old Navy.  I guess you could include both the Gap and J. Crew on this list, but we will leave them off purely based on their current merit.

When shopping the Woolrich Woolen Mills sale on Gilt this past week I came across (and you might have too) a great pair of chinos that featured large, bellow front pockets.  I clicked on them as fast as humanly possible and was lucky enough to grab a pair in my size.  I realize these are not exactly the kind of cargo pants that we think of when we picture a northern state school frat dude doing a keg stand, but they are a sign that designers are finally giving the "cargo" pant a second life.

When browsing around the internet, I was able to come across various versions of either the traditional cargo, the "field" pant (Woolrich Woolen Mills pant I mentioned earlier) or some combination of the two.  As you would expect, all these pants succeed thanks to vintage detailing and fit.  One of the issues with the old version cargo pant was the absurdly roomy leg they heavily featured.  While cargo pants should never be slimmed down, a nice trim never hurt anybody.  If you're looking for a new pant this fall, especially one that will look killer with your Red Wings or whatever boot you're currently breaking in, try anyone of these cool vintage inspired cargo pants.

Woolrich Woolen Mills Field Pant...$225.00

The pants featured in both the Valet piece and similar to the pair I picked up at the Gilt sale.  While these are a little pricey, they are the best example of front pocket field pants available for purchase.  My pair lack the flannel lining and come equipped with larger pockets, but I'm assuming they are from a past season (hence the discount and Gilt sale).  I'm sure Woolrich WM will revisit this style in a more Spring friendly fabric, so feel free to wait or throw these high class options on your holiday wishlist.

Polo Herringbone Cotton Cargo Pant...$114.99

I tried these on in the mall the other day and I promise you that they are badass.  I realize they are a little intense, but if you like archival stuff these are for you.  Click the link to see a bunch more views and all the crazy pockets these have to offer.  The fabric is a heavy weight and the fit is trim, so for under $150 these are a great bargain and my favorite of the bunch.

Regular Fit Vintage Cargo Pant...$59.50-$79.50

While this may seem like your standard cargo, J. Crew has gone with vintage and distressed cotton twill for the old school feel/look.  The fit appears pretty good and if you need a lesson in how to style your cargo pants look no further.

Dockers Cargo Pant...$98.00

Dockers is getting slept on by a lot of people and it really is a shame.  They have some good offerings out right now, and if what I've been hearing is correct, they have some curveballs coming up that are going to catch a lot of people by surprise.  I particularly like the slim side pockets on these cargos and the box stitching on the front is a cool detail I haven't really seen elsewhere.  These are probably cut the fullest of all the featured pants, so I would recommend trying these on before pulling the trigger.



  1. Took a chance and picked up a pair of RRL cargo's at a great discount to try my hand at the cargo look. Haven't worn a pair in years but these seem to just call my name. I do like what some brands like WWM are doing with them making them accessible to a younger, sharper crowd.

  2. Junctioned- I'd love to see a pic of your RRL's, but as far as re-imagining cargos for a sharper crowd you are absolutely correct.

  3. I am finding that cargo pants continue to be in high demand.

  4. I grabbed a pair of front pocket cargos from the WWM look for sure. Congrats on the Gilt score.

  5. I assume you have seen the new ACL joints?

  6. Junctioned- I'd love to see a pic of your RRL's, but as far as re-imagining cargos for a sharper crowd you are absolutely correct.

  7. I think that these pants are really cool, I would like to have ones to wear!! I really like this kind of fashion, thanks for sharing, I think that they are probably cut the fullest of all the featured pants!!22dd

  8. excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up

  9. This cargo pants is really cool and has a high quality and nice design.

    something more to read..

  10. This pant look like very cool and any man can wear his look handsome after wearing and i am sure about this thanks for sharing and last but not the list your photography is wonderful

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