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The first time I realized cargo pants might be making a comeback occurred last summer, when stylist Audree Kate pitched me a piece about the controversial clothing item’s potential return. The second moment? When I shopped a chic winter pants piece and stumbled upon pair after pair of cute cargo pants. The third moment—the moment that made contemporary cargos absolutely impossible to ignore—was delivered to me at the hands of Ariana Grande, who stunned in a pair of hot pink cargo pants in the music video for her new single, “7 Rings.”
The third time isn’t just a charm—in the fashion world, it’s the thing that takes something from happenstance to full-on trend. Cargo pants were back, baby. And honestly, I wasn’t mad about it.
Cargo pants have a long sartorial history, their roots firmly planted in skater culture. Call to mind the image of a person wearing cargo pants, and you’re probably picturing a 13-year-old boy clad in a baggy T-shirt and even baggier trousers. One of the last mental images you’re likely to conjure up is that of a street style star (or an endlessly trendy singer) looking hot as hell in a pair of surprisingly structured, surprisingly chic cargos. But that counterintuitive image is way more representative of the current cargo pant landscape.
Cargo pants have made a comeback. They’re genuinely cute. And I, a New York City-based fashion editor, really, really want a pair. Thankfully, retailers have made it super easy for me—and for all of us—to find a pair of cute cargos that meets all our aesthetic needs and desires.
Daisy Street Cargo Pants, $40 at ASOS
I’m not saying khaki cargos should replace jeans, but I’m saying they totally could.
PrettyLittleThing Pocket Detail Straight-Leg Pants, $34 at ASOS
Um, excuse me while I buy these and style them exactly like so?
BDG Pink Soft Utility Pant, $79 at Urban Outfitters
Channel your inner Ariana Grande and get those hot pink cargos (and buy seven rings while you’re at it, too).
Daisy Street Cargo Pants, $40 at ASOS
Even the classic cargo is looking more dapper than ever.
Blue Cargo Pant, $79 at Urban Outfitters
Plays well with all the other ’90s-inspired pieces you already have in your closet.
Lara High-Rise Cargo Pant, $69 at Urban Outfitters
So comfortable you’ll never want to take them off. So cute (and versatile) you’ll never have a reason to.
PrettyLittleThing Pocket Detail Cargo Pants, $45 at ASOS
New favorite outfit combo: vintage tee + khaki cargos. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. And it’s cute AF.
Vintage Overdyed Camo Cargo Pant, $69 at Urban Outfitters
Red camo cargos sound so wrong, but look so, so right.
PrettyLittleThing Pocket Detail Cargo Pants, $38 at ASOS
The olive cargo options are basically endless.
Missguided Cargo Utility Pants, $48 at ASOS
Into utility jumpsuits? Maybe utility pants will be your thing, too.
Cargo Chic Pants, $24.98 at Fashion Nova
Leave it to Fashion Nova to make tan cargo pants look seriously hot.
By the Way Missy Jogger Pant, $66 at Revolve
A sleeker, subtler take on the trend—but one that still feels adequately edgy.
BDG Cargo Jogger Jean, $69 at Urban Outfitters
Yup, we’ve officially entered the era of the cargo jean.
Distressed Denim Joggers, $20 at Forever 21
Distressed denim—rendered in olive cargo form.
Prime Pants, $128 at Free People
You could wear these with anything. Anything.
Sand Cargo Pant, $74 at Urban Outfitters
Who knew something called a “sand cargo” could look so, well, cool?
Utility Wind Pants, $27.90 at Forever 21
Because everything’s more fun in yellow. (Which, as you well know, is one of 2019’s trendiest colors.)
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