Visit any high school or college campus and you will see them. Stroll through the local mall, they will be buying them. Cargo pants are here to stay; and not just any cargo pants but camouflage at that, Boys, girls, men and women. They need not be the traditional drab colors we associate with camouflage either, just the actual print.
Cargo pants were first introduced to the United States by members of the British Armed Forces during WWII in the mid-1940s. Cargo pants were originally referred to as combat trousers and were loose fitting and designed for outdoor activities. Cargo pants are adorned with patch pockets that make it possible to carry many items at a time. The ready pockets gave soldiers quick and easy access to ammunition or a radio unit. The fabric is hard wearing and usually made with quick-drying synthetic or cotton-synthetic blends.
Hunters took up the fashion once they figured out how durable they were and saw how useful they could be for blending in to the environment. It was not until the 1990s that cargo pants took their place on fashion runways and began to enjoy the popularity they continue to still enjoy twenty plus years later.
From Battlefields to Backyards
When rap artists from the mid-1990s began to appear in music videos wearing camouflage cargo pants, the trend was on. They deviated from traditional footwear, the typical hiking boots, and wore dress shoes and tennis shoes instead. While the pants had the extra pockets that functioned, they were more for appearances than functionality.
Women were not left out of the fad either. Ralph Lauren introduced silk cargo pants at his 1998 fashion show. Softer and more muted colors are available for women.
Details Make the Matter
• Leg openings fit over many boot styles
• The cargo pockets usually close with a snap or Velcro
• There are multiple pockets for tools
• Many are made of rugged material that stops rips before they can start
• Belt loops are sewn on side seams for extra ruggedness
• Some back pockets have flaps with hidden metal closures
• Tradesmen pockets are made with pen stalls to keep pens close
• Triple-needle stitching enhances durability
They Hold up Well
Another reason the military started using cargo pants was they held up very well to wear and tear. They are still in use in many militaries around the world currently, including the United States. They are referred to as Battle Dress Uniforms or BDUs.
Care and cleaning for every day ordinary use is no more involved than caring for a pair of blue jeans. If you take them out of the dryer while they are still wet, you can hang them and not worry about ironing them. Wash in cold or medium water.
Aside from the fashion trends and ease of care and the durability, cargo pants are priced economically. Your teen or junior will out-grow them long before they ever wear out. Army/Navy stores sell them. Department stores and big chain stores like Old Navy have made them a regular staple. In part due to their popularity, prices have remained reasonable and because they are so long lasting, consignment stores and thrift shops often have pairs in their inventory.
Here to Stay
Many police stations and emergency personnel services have implemented them as the uniform of choice. Again, because of durability, the ease of care and they are useful to carry things around in. They just present a more uniform and polished appearance as well.
Something for Summer as Well
The popularity of cargo pants has trickled down to summer clothing as well. There are many styles of cargo shorts available, in differing lengths, but the most popular seems to be right below the knee.
Cargo pants are still going strong with the recent addition of a “skinny leg” style. In addition to the pants and the shorts, they make cargo skirts for the ladies as well.
They are comfortable. They are useful and long-lasting. They now are made in just about every color imaginable. This is one trend that will not be going away any time soon.