The general association with cargo pants is not typically a positive one, but 2021’s interest in the Y2K era has definitely given the functional pants a new life. Cargos were first worn by British military personnel in the early ’90s, and since then they have become closely linked with hands-on professions unconcerned with ultra-stylish uniforms. The pants provide utility and convenience with their undistracting design, which includes two large pockets on the sides of the thighs. However, the fashion world never backs down from a challenge, and in recent years, reinventions of the classic cargo have been featured in many stellar street style moments.
Major designers such as Isabel Marant and Givenchy have perfected their own signature cargos and the low-waisted style credited to the early 2000s has been eagerly revived. Today, vintage cargo pants are a popularly searched item on peer-to-peer shopping app Depop. Everyone is dying to get their hands on a pair of these un-glamourous yet stylish pants, and we might have young vintage sellers to blame. An entire aesthetic has been born out of the pervasive app’s trending pieces, which include baby tees, leg warmers, and of course cargo pants.
It goes without saying that it’s time to break out your old cargos and dress them up with a Carrie Brashaw-esque heel, or take a page from Bella Hadid’s book and style them with your favorite sneakers. From military uniforms to gorpcore go-to luxury pieces, the evolution of cargo pants is indicative of how functionality has been embraced by the fashion realm. Here, see how cargo pants are being styled in 2021.