There has been a pervasive evil to emerge in menswear this past spring and summer season. It’s always been around, refusing to die; but it has made a strong resurgence as of late. The evil I speak of is the cargo short. In the most concise manner possible, I will say that guys should not wear them in civilian wear, ever.
There are a few exceptions, that I will get into in a minute.
Why shouldn’t we wear cargo shorts though? They seem so practical, so steeped in military style and so ubiquitous. In theory, that is all well and good. And many times it is a recipe for success. However, with cargo shorts, it is pure disaster.
Often times I would see men wearing a look like you see below; t-shirt, sandals and cargo shorts. Some form of untucked shirt seems to be the go-to with cargo shorts. Some guys try to dress up the shorts (which are very very casual, a step above gym shorts) with a polo shirt or a button up (as DiCaprio below and Beckham above), I respect the effort. But some shit smells so bad that nothing can cover the smell.
Here’s why we shouldn’t wear them: they flatter no man. They weigh down your legs (in the visual way) and create a bulky and clumsy silhouette. Yes, the reasoning is as shallow, simple and aesthetically based as that.
Not even David Beckham can make them look good (see below), and if he cannot, there is no way that you will. So don’t even try.
As noted, there are times when cargo shorts are acceptable. For instance, if they are part of a uniform. The ambulance company that I volunteer at requires that all shorts worn for summer uniform be cargo shorts. It is not my favorite policy, but I adhere to it. The other time I can see them being acceptable is during hiking or similar outdoor activity. These are both situations in which items and tools may need to be accessed in a expeditious manner. But neither of these are situations represent times
I must admit, there was a point in time when I wore cargo shorts. I was about 13 and in middle school. The late 90’s/early 2000’s were a particularly bad time for men’s style. In my young age, I made mistakes. We all have at some point. Fortunately, there is a chance for redemption. A chance to better ourselves. A chance at self-improvement.
As you begin putting away your summer clothes, including your shorts, for the winter; take all of your cargo shorts and throw them out. Or better yet, burn them, I guarantee you it will be more emotionally gratifying that way. And then at least you get to watch things go up in flames. It may seem dramatic, I know. But by the time next spring rolls around and its high season for shorts, you’ll forget about your long lost cargo shorts. You will be able to look back and tell yourself how much your style has improved by just removing one item from your wardrobe. The women in your life will no doubt agree. You will have a new prideful step once you realize that you are a better man without, rather than with cargo shorts.