Not to state the obvious, but Y2K fashion is a comeback that just won’t stop. Anyone born after the millennium, of course, can enjoy all the styles they missed out on the first time around (Juicy Couture sweatpants, bow ties, and low-rise jeans are all Gen Z favorites right now). But for those who lived through something early as teenagers and adults, this revival of the style will most likely cause a cringe-worthy reaction because, let’s not sugarcoat it, some of the looks back then were a bit questionable. That said, period did he has his own beautiful wardrobe – and trousers with practical pockets count as one of them. So it’s no wonder that the trend for tailored cargo pants seems to resonate across multiple generations. It’s a nostalgic nod to Delia’s earlier casual versions, but it feels far more sublime and fresh.
“The cargo pants were featured by nearly a quarter of all the designers who showed during fashion month,” NET-A-PORTER director of marketing Libby Page told TZR about the buzzy silhouette. Colorful silk iterations at Fendi and Tibi were prominent, as were romantic floral pairings spotted at Dries Van Noten and Dior. However, designs made with eye-catching fabrics or unexpected colors are only part of the equation – there are so many new outfit combinations to try. “Pants that were originally made for utility, comfort and practicality are being styled in new and fun ways,” points out Megan Gokey, North American head of B2C marketing and brand partnerships at shopping app Klarna.
Take Jonathan Simkhai and Tibi’s spring/summer 2023 shows, for example: both brands presented cheery monochromatic ways to wear designs that looked less like a casual weekend uniform than a dinner party. And at Dries Van Noten, the purple-toned option is cleverly elevated with a ruffled blazer. That being said, even if you associate cargo pants with modest dressing, the coming months have something more flamboyant in store.
So if you’ve been wearing your cargo pants with a casual top and sneakers until now, that’s great. But just know that you can take these bottoms to dressier occasions too – let the look preview point you in the right direction.
Select The Statement Pair
When you’ve run out of sartorial inspiration for dinner or partying with friends, nothing beats a pair of eye-catching trousers — especially if they’re of the cargo variety. Look for pieces with a unique texture, such as metallics or silk, and pair them with a neutral sweater and snakeskin boots.
Matching sets are like the fun cousin of the pantsuit – and can you pick one that includes big pockets? Even better. Although you can wear this look to the office, it can also work after hours when paired with statement glasses and jewelry.
Design your denim
Jeans are a relaxed piece of the wardrobe, but when made in a cargo silhouette, they can look a little more like trousers, making them a little more polished. Wear yours with brightly colored pieces, like a neon top and pastel heels, for an eye-catching effect.
Just add color
If you’re not quite ready to invest in technicolor silk cargo pants, rest assured there are still ways you can dress up your classic khaki pair. Instead of teaming them with a hoodie and sneakers, reach for something more eye-catching, like a multi-colored intarsia sweater, to liven up the look.
Turn up the volume
For a statement look that you’ll come back to again and again, consider a looser fit, as demonstrated by Pernille Teisbaek pictured above. While the playful pink allows for a light vibe, the black jacket and top tone down the Barbiecore factor.
Tie those strings
If you buy a design with utilitarian switches, why not use them? Try cinching and/or tying the bottom of the leg for a tapered effect. A crop top, a streamlined shirt and a classic blazer will keep things from looking too busy.