Cargo Shorts Are Having a Moment

They're more flattering than you might think.
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They're more flattering than you might think.
Acne created a luxe silk cargo short for resort 2015, which it styled with a belted cardigan of the same hue. Photo: Acne

Acne created a luxe silk cargo short for resort 2015, which it styled with a belted cardigan of the same hue. Photo: Acne

With all this talk of #normcore, it should come as no surprise that some of the most basic of wardrobe staples have been circling up. Case in point: cargo shorts.

My initial memories of the knee-length multi-pocket shorts are of ‘90s teenage skateboarders in California, who appreciated them for their multipurpose practicality, and of course, every suburban dad. They bring to mind camping trips, army surplus stores and real dudes.

Now, thanks to luxe versions in silkier materials (see Dsquared2's resort 2014 collection) and oversize silhouettes (see Rosie Assoulin’s resort 2015 collection), the cargo short has come to mean something completely different. In the same vein as Phoebe Philo’s understated version of cool, the cargo represents androgynous and easy-to-wear everyday attire. Just look to Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine, who recently penned a story describing her sudden desire to own a pair of L.L. Bean cargo shorts.

Variations on the traditional cargo short appeared in Alexander Wang's and Rosie Assoulin's resort 2015 collections. Photos: Alexander Wang and Rosie Assoulin

Variations on the traditional cargo short appeared in Alexander Wang's and Rosie Assoulin's resort 2015 collections. Photos: Alexander Wang and Rosie Assoulin

So whether it’s just another example of the fashion industry taking #normcore and making it #luxable (like sweatpants and varsity jackets), or a way for women to embrace androgynous dressing, the cargo short is about to have its moment. From variations in fabric (classic cotton and silk blends are most popular), to pocket sizes, lengths and color, variations on the cargo are aplenty.

As a result, trying the look is easy. The key is balancing weight and proportions. Medine plans to wear hers with a silky blouse and heels, à la Carrie Bradshaw in the infamous "A Woman’s Right to Shoes" episode. What appears to be the most practical (and flattering) way to don the shorts is a button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, or with a soft, slouchy, boat-necked sweater that shows a bit of clavicle. A belt is great for showing off a trim waist (see top). As for footwear, lightness and simplicity are key: opt for a pair of pool slides or thin-strap heels.

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