Are Cargo Shorts Out Of Style? The Definitive Answer!

Are Cargo Shorts Out Of Style

Fashion is ever-evolving, with trends waxing and waning over time. One such garment that has been a subject of debate in recent years is the cargo pant.

Once hailed as a fashion statement, cargo pants have seen their popularity shift, leaving many to wonder if they are still considered stylish.  So buckle up those utility belts and join us as we explore this iconic garment’s highs, lows, and surprising comebacks. Hence, this article will definitively answer the question “Are cargo shorts out of style?” Spoiler alert: no, they are not out of style!

What Are Cargo Pants?

Cargo pants, sometimes known as cargo trousers, are a type of pants distinguished by the presence of several pockets, often on the lower legs. They were first created for the military as a practical means of transporting supplies and equipment. But their versatility and relaxed style have made them a hit in fashion.

Fabrics like cotton and twill, which are both sturdy and breathable, are common choices for cargo trousers. These garments’ relaxed or oversized fit facilitates comfort and freedom of motion. Cargo trousers are distinguished by their many large pockets, which are usually fastened with buttons, snaps, or Velcro. To accommodate items like keys, wallets, phones, tools, and more, these pockets are often bigger than those seen on typical pairs of pants.

The relaxed but practical style of cargo pants has made them a staple of outdoor and adventure apparel as well as everyday streetwear. They come in black and white, primary colors, and camouflage patterns. Depending on the context and the intended aesthetic, cargo pants may be dressed up or down.

Are Cargo Shorts Out of Style?

No, cargo shorts are not out of style. Though there was a time when these pants were considered to be bland and boring, that is not the case anymore.

Many world-class brands have reinvented the idea of cargo pants and have showcased them in a new light. As a result, they have become a crucial part of today’s streetwear fashion apparel. Moreover, their practical designs are still quite relevant in today’s time. And it seems like different clothing manufacturers are bringing out their own iteration of what cargo shorts should look like, thus, raising their overall appeal among the masses.

How To Style Cargo Pants?

Styling cargo shorts can be a fun activity. Here are some tips to help you create stylish outfits with cargo shorts:

1. Keep It Casual 

boy wearing t-shirt with cargo shorts
Credit: outbreak_boulevard on Instagram

Cargo shorts are inherently casual, so embrace a laid-back vibe. Pair them with a simple t-shirt or a casual button-down shirt for a relaxed and effortless look.

2. Balance the Proportions

woman wearing cargo shorts with fitted tops
Credit: agolde on Instagram

Cargo shorts tend to have a slightly baggy or relaxed fit, so balance the proportions by opting for a fitted or tailored top. This helps create a more polished and put-together appearance.

3. Tuck in 

Tucking in your shirt can add structure and refinement to your outfit. It helps define the waistline and gives a more pleasant appearance. Experiment with both half-tucks and full-tucks to find the style that suits you best.

4. Choose the Right Footwear

man wearing black sneakers with cargo shorts
Credit: boardertown on Instagram

Cargo shorts work well with various types of footwear. For a casual look, pair them with sneakers or boat shoes. Opt for loafers or canvas shoes if you want a slightly dressier approach. Sandals can also be a comfortable and laid-back choice for warmer weather.

5. Accessories Make a Difference

Woman wearing sunglasses with cargo shorts
Credit: triceboutique on Instagram

Add some personality to your outfit with accessories. Consider wearing a stylish belt that complements the colors in your outfit. You can also accessorize with a hat, sunglasses, or a watch to enhance your overall look.

6. Experiment With Layering

woman wearing jacket with cargo shorts
Credit: agolde on Instagram

When the weather allows, layering can elevate your cargo shorts outfit. Try adding a lightweight jacket, a denim shirt, or a patterned short-sleeve button-down over your t-shirt. This adds visual interest and dimension to your ensemble.

7. Play With Colors and Patterns 

man wearing striped t-shirt with cargo shorts
Credit: targetaus on Instagram

Cargo shorts often come in neutral tones, so you can have fun with your top half by incorporating colorful or patterned pieces. This can be in the form of printed shirts, striped tops, or vibrant accessories. Mixing and matching different colors and patterns can create a stylish and unique look.

What Goes With Cargo Shorts?

Cargo shorts offer versatility and can be paired with various clothing items to create different looks. Here are some choices on what you can wear with cargo shorts:


boy wearing solid t-shirt with cargo shorts
Credit: thegreatwalkerph on Instagram

Cargo shorts look casual with a crew neck or V-neck t-shirt. Opt for solid colors or subtle prints or patterns to add visual interest.

Polo shirts

Boy wearing Polo shirts with cargo shorts
Credit: thenorthface.purplelabel on Instagram

For a slightly dressier vibe, consider pairing your cargo shorts with a polo shirt. This combination strikes a balance between casual and refined, making it suitable for various occasions.

Button-down shirts

man wearing blue short-sleeve button-down shirt with cargo shorts
Credit: blueowlworkshop on Instagram

A short-sleeve button-down shirt can add a stylish touch to cargo shorts. Opt for lightweight fabrics like linen or chambray for a relaxed summer look. You can wear it tucked in for a neater appearance or untucked for a more laid-back feel.

Tank tops

woman wearing tank tops  with cargo shorts
Credit: bewakoofofficia on Instagram

When the weather is hot, you can pair your cargo shorts with a tank top for a cool and casual outfit. Opt for a plain tank top or choose one with a fun graphic or print.

Sweatshirts or Hoodies

man wearing hoodies with cargo shorts
Credit: wellbredstore on Instagram

Layer a sweater or hoodie over cargo shorts for colder weather or an athletic look. This creates a comfortable look for outdoor activities or casual outings.


man wearing Sneakers with cargo shorts
Credit: cutpricegarmentstore on Instagram

Sneakers are the go-to footwear option to pair with cargo shorts. Whether it’s classic white sneakers, canvas sneakers, or athletic trainers, they add a casual and sporty touch to the outfit.


man wearing sandals with cargo shorts
Credit: solethreads on Instagram

For a laid-back and summery feel, you can wear your cargo shorts with sandals. Opt for leather or woven styles, such as slides or flip-flops, for a relaxed and comfortable look.


woman wearing hat and cargo shorts
Credit: asusl_official on Instagram

To complete your cargo shorts outfit, consider adding accessories like a belt, a hat, sunglasses, or a wristwatch. These small details can enhance your overall look and add a touch of personal style.

Cargo Shorts Outfit Ideas

When it comes to styling cargo shorts, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few outfit ideas to help inspire your next look:

1. Casual Cool:

man wearing denim shirt and cargo shorts
Credit: justjeans on Instagram
  • Pair your cargo shorts with a basic white t-shirt and sneakers for a chill vibe.
  • Add a denim or chambray shirt as a lightweight layer, either worn open or tied around your waist.
  • Accessorize with a baseball cap and sunglasses for a touch of sporty flair.

2. Summer Adventure:

man with backpacks and cargo shorts
Credit: on Instagram
  • Opt for a patterned or printed short-sleeve button-down shirt to add some personality to your outfit.
  • Complete the look with sandals or boat shoes for a comfortable and ready-for-anything vibe.
  • Don’t forget a backpack or a crossbody bag to carry your essentials while exploring.

3. Elevated Casual:

man wearing slim fit cargo shorts
Credit: clubstubborn on Instagram
  • Choose a tailored or slim-fit pair of cargo shorts for a more polished appearance.
  • Wear a well-fitted polo shirt or a linen button-down shirt for a sophisticated take on casual style.
  • Dress up the look with loafers or leather sandals and a belt to add a refined touch.

4. Streetwear Style:

man wearing bomber jacket and cargo shorts
Credit: dripsndrops on Instagram
  • Combine your cargo shorts with a graphic t-shirt and a lightweight hoodie or bomber jacket for a trendy urban look.
  • Complete the outfit with high-top sneakers or chunky trainers for an edgy and modern aesthetic.
  • Accessorize with a beanie or a snapback cap to add a streetwear-inspired finish.

5. Athletic Leisure:

man with bag and cargo shorts
Credit: blacktailor on Instagram
  • Opt for moisture-wicking or quick-dry fabric cargo shorts, perfect for outdoor activities or workouts.
  • Pair them with a performance-focused t-shirt or a tank top.
  • Finish off the look with athletic sneakers or trail running shoes and a lightweight backpack for functionality.

Difference Between Regular Shorts And Cargo Shorts

The main difference between regular and cargo shorts is their design and functionality. Here are some key distinctions:

  1. Pockets: Cargo shorts are known for their distinctive number of large pockets, typically around the legs. These pockets provide extra storage space and are often secured with buttons, snaps, or Velcro closures. In contrast, regular shorts typically have standard pockets positioned at the front and back.
  2. Utility and Functionality: Cargo shorts are designed with practicality in mind. The extra pockets can hold keys, wallets, phones, tools, and other essential items. Hiking and other outdoor activities are popular with cargo shorts. Regular shorts are more straightforward and less practical.
  3. Aesthetic: Cargo shorts have a more casual and utilitarian aesthetic. They often have a looser or relaxed fit to allow for ease of movement. Regular shorts can vary in style, ranging from fitted and tailored to more relaxed cuts, depending on the desired look and occasion.
  4. Versatility: Regular shorts tend to be more versatile in terms of styling options. They can easily be dressed up or down, depending on the choice of accompanying clothing items. Cargo shorts, while versatile in their own right, often lean towards a more casual or outdoorsy style.
  5. Fashion Trends: Fashion trends play a role in the popularity of both regular and cargo shorts. Regular shorts are typically more influenced by evolving fashion trends, while cargo shorts often maintain a more consistent niche following due to their specific design and functionality.

How To Maintain Cargo Shorts

To maintain your cargo shorts and ensure their longevity, follow these tips.

First, always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. This will help you determine the appropriate washing and drying methods for your specific pair of shorts.

Generally, it is best to machine wash cargo shorts in cold water and use a gentle cycle. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach that could damage the fabric. Opt for low heat or air drying to prevent shrinking or excessive wear. 

Remove any items from the pockets before washing to prevent potential damage. Additionally, consider ironing on low heat if needed, and store your cargo shorts in a cool, dry place when not in use.

Regularly inspect the seams and pockets for any signs of wear or loose threads, and make necessary repairs promptly to prevent further damage. By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your cargo shorts in good condition and enjoy them for many seasons to come.

Ending Thoughts

As we bid farewell to this extensive exploration of cargo shorts, one thing is clear: their practicality and distinct style are still relevant today. And it has earned them a place in the hearts of many fashion enthusiasts.

Remember, fashion trends may come and go, but cargo shorts’ versatility and timeless appeal will always accompany you on your stylish escapades. So go forth, fashion trailblazers, and let your cargo shorts be the emblem of your adventurous soul!

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