5 Ways to Style Cargo Pants Like Famous Artists

by Shopify API

5 Ways to Style Cargo Pants Like Famous Artists

You’ve probably noticed that cargo pants are having a moment. (If you haven’t, now is the perfect time to get in on a trend that’s chic, versatile, and flattering to multiple figures.) From Jennifer Lopez and Bella Hadid to Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, it’s all about the cargo cut.

Men like Travis Scott, Bradley Cooper, Drake, and Ryan Reynolds have also embraced the stylish silhouette. Much like their female counterparts, these guys are making a statement, choosing the pocketed, baggy style for the day-to-day as well as nights out.

Wondering why celebs love cargo pants? Like the rest of us, they’re looking to balance style with comfort. And, unlike some of the trickier noughties-era trends—think ultra-low-rise jeans and itsy-bitsy mini skirts—cargo pants offer utility with a touch of flair. While cargo pants come in multiple colors, including prints like camo, green remains far and away the go-to hue. So what are the easiest ways of styling green cargo pants?

Intro To Cargo Pants

Military-inspired styles, and camo prints in particular, have long been popular, popping up every few years as must-haves. Cargo pants became an integral part of the British Army uniform in the 1930s. The U.S. adopted its own version of the utilitarian pant for American troops during World War II, and dual-pocket green cargos ultimately became standard-issue for most branches of the military. 

Skater Style

By the 1990s, “army pants” would become synonymous with “cargo pants.” These spawned their own variations, including raver- and skater-influenced styles dubbed “parachute pants” and “balloon pants.” While the latter styles were known for their generous, occasionally cartoon-ish cuts, most fashionable cargo pants were not overly baggy. As Y2K took hold, musicians borrowed from fashion and popular culture, incorporating cargo styles into their performance wear. Era stalwarts Avril Lavigne, Destiny’s Child, and Britney Spears were all famously seen styling green cargo pants with cropped tops and fitted tanks.

Hip-Hop Style

Hip-hop and rap musicians also embraced the cargo trend, starting around the mid ‘90s. By the early 21st century, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, and Lil Wayne were all rocking multi-pocketed pants. Paired with baggy tees and work boots or sneakers, the bottoms became part of a specific type of uniform: tough and utilitarian, but equal parts functional and fashionable.

While cargos may have briefly fallen out of favor for skinny jeans, hip-hop artists are back to (semi) baggy and increasingly following the designer lead of major runways.

Athleisure Style

Considering the recent rise of “put on and go” fashion, it’s no surprise we’ve gone from leggings and Uggs to cargo pants and sneakers. Craving ease and no longer stymied by strict dress codes, men and women want something that works well in ultra-casual environments.

Paired with trainers or flat sandals and tees or tanks, cargo pants function a lot like joggers or even jeans—just with more pockets. To get a proper athleisure look, styling green cargo pants is mostly a matter of adding a great chunky sneaker to a cropped tee or bodysuit pairing.

Hiking-Inspired Style

Do you remember those tear-away “travel pants” that convert to shorts? Or the ultra-lightweight pants you wore for some of your first treks? Cargo pants are just like these—inherently sporty, whether you’re hitting the trails or the streets. Pair them with boots and a windbreaker for the ultimate ‘90s-inspired gorpcore look, or nix the hiking apparel for a form-fitting top and jewelry that nods to hip-hop. Forgo fleece for a cropped sweatshirt or simply add a classic white tee for a timeless look that transcends outdoor chic.

Celebrity Style

While a number of celebs don cargo pants during their downtime, many also wear them for nights out. Consider Rihanna styling green cargo pants with a fluffy orange coat and heels, or Zendaya opting for a gold chainmail top and white cargos with statement-making straps.

Perhaps the most popular and wearable option is a riff on the off-duty model look, worn by—you guessed it—off-duty models. Emily Ratajowski looked chic in baggy camo trousers, white Converse, and a black overcoat. Bella Hadid added a bit more polish by pairing her charcoal cargos with chunky leather lace-ups and a collared leather jacket.

The Coolness Factor

You still need to double check: are cargo pants cool? Yes, and here’s why: they’re versatile, effortless, and easy to style with pieces you already have in your closet. Plus, while they may be of the moment, they’re not so trendy as to be unworthy of investment. Simply view them as an alternative to the beloved denim and sweats currently in rotation.

Can Cargo Pants Be Smart Casual?

Thinking about styling green cargo pants with something a little more elegant? Been there, doing that. Slimmer-cut cargo styles lend themselves well to more polished looks. Pair them with a denim shirt and heeled sandals or a silk blouse and ballet flats for what might be considered casual-plus. Looser-cut styles can also be made dressier almost instantly with a pump and pared-back jewelry.

What Types Of Cargo Pants Are In Style?

If you’re curious what types of cargo pants are hot right now, the short answer is: all of them. Fluid, slim—even throwback parachute silhouettes are currently in style. There’s a ton of variety out there, so it really comes down to your mood and/or the occasion. If you’re looking for the most versatile options, we’d suggest skinny and straight. Why? Because they can go from easy-breezy to elegant with a quick switch of your shoe and top.

Bottom line: Feel free to take cargo cues from savvy celebs, but, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to make them all your own.

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