The Best Cargo Pants for Men
Photograph by Paige
Cargoes get a bad rap. Here’s the right way to wear them and the right pair to rock
First, let’s dispel the myth that cargo pants are dead. It’s simply not true. Most of this misconception comes from cargo shorts, which are an abomination and should be thrown in the trash, ASAP. It might seem harsh, guys, but it’s true. Just ask your partner. “There’s nothing less flattering to your shape than billowy shorts designed to hold everything you own,” says Men’s Health Fashion Director Sandra Nygaard. “That’s what a bag is for.”
The right cargo pants, however, break up the appearance of the pocket and keep it—and you—from looking slouchy. If you find the right pair (luckily we’ve done that for you), you can even wear them to semi-formal events.
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The key is finding a pair where pockets are flush against the pants instead of sagging outward to prevent bagging, which won’t flatter your frame. Look for a pair with fitted, tapered legs—no relaxed fits here—so there’s no more than two or three inches of slack at any point on your pants. Any more and you’ll look bulkier than you really are.
Stick to materials like cotton, but try a pair with a little bit of stretch in them so they’ll move with you and the pockets won’t bag or crinkle in the wash.
For a classic look, pair them with a leather bomber or varsity jacket and a tee. Or you can dress it up with a fitted tee or polo shirt under a sport coat with a pair of light sneakers or a pair of leather brogues—nothing too shiny, which will read as a bit too formal.
If there’s one thing this brand understands, it’s fit. As sizes go up, they provide more room in the seat of their pants while still keeping the legs slimmer for a trim look, no matter your size. These pants are made of a lightweight cotton twill that won’t suffocate your legs or give you swamp crotch. The best part: The cargo pockets lay flat against your legs so they’re functional, but not in your face.
Winner: Paige, $104, Buy It Here