Do People Still Wear Cargo Shorts? The Rise and Fall of a Fashion Staple

Do People Still Wear Cargo Shorts? The Rise and Fall of a Fashion Staple

Muhammad Saleem Shahzad


Cargo shorts. They were once a fashion statement, a practical choice for those seeking extra storage and a casual, laid-back style. But as fashion trends evolve and personal preferences change, the popularity of cargo shorts has seen a significant decline in recent years. In this article, we will explore the rise and fall of cargo shorts, delve into the reasons behind their decreasing popularity, and discuss alternative options that offer both style and functionality.

The Rise of Cargo Shorts

Cargo shorts emerged in the late '90s and quickly gained popularity among men seeking a casual and utilitarian look. With their multiple pockets and loose fit, cargo shorts became associated with a relaxed outdoor lifestyle and were embraced by many as a summer wardrobe staple.

The Fall of Cargo Shorts

In recent years, cargo shorts have faced increasing criticism and a decline in popularity. Many fashion experts and style enthusiasts argue that cargo shorts are unflattering and outdated, lacking the sleek and tailored appearance that contemporary fashion demands. The once-beloved shorts have become the subject of ridicule and memes, with critics mocking their baggy silhouette and excessive pocket design.

The Criticisms of Cargo Shorts

Unflattering Length

One of the main criticisms of cargo shorts is their length. Most cargo shorts extend beyond the knees, creating an imbalanced look that can appear outdated and juvenile. In contrast, shorter shorts, such as chino shorts, offer a more modern and flattering silhouette.

Bulky and Excessive Pockets

Cargo shorts are known for their numerous cargo pockets, which were originally intended for practical purposes. However, fashion critics argue that these pockets add unnecessary bulk to the shorts, disrupting the overall balance of an outfit. Additionally, the excessive pockets are often seen as unnecessary for everyday wear, as most people can easily carry their belongings in a bag or wallet.

Lack of Style and Versatility

Cargo shorts are often associated with a casual and outdoorsy style, limiting their versatility in more formal or dressier settings. As fashion trends have shifted towards a more streamlined and tailored look, cargo shorts have struggled to keep up with the evolving standards of style.

Alternatives to Cargo Shorts

While cargo shorts may have fallen out of favor, there are several alternative options that offer both style and functionality. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

Chino Shorts

Chino shorts are a popular choice for those seeking a more tailored and refined look. With a slimmer fit and cleaner lines, chino shorts provide a versatile and sophisticated option for both casual and semi-formal occasions. They offer a more polished appearance while still maintaining comfort and functionality.

Denim Shorts

Denim shorts are a classic and timeless option that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. They offer a rugged yet stylish look and can easily be paired with a variety of tops, making them a versatile choice for summer outfits.

Hybrid Shorts

Hybrid shorts combine the best features of both athletic shorts and casual shorts. Made from quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials, these shorts are perfect for outdoor activities or water sports. With their versatile design, hybrid shorts can transition seamlessly from the beach to a casual outing.

Linen Shorts

Linen shorts are lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for hot summer days. Their relaxed and airy feel adds a touch of effortless style to any outfit. Linen shorts are available in various lengths and can be paired with a simple t-shirt or a linen button-down for a more sophisticated look.

The Future of Cargo Shorts

While cargo shorts may have experienced a decline in popularity, it's important to remember that fashion trends are cyclical. What may be considered unfashionable today could make a comeback in the future. However, it is clear that cargo shorts need to adapt to the changing expectations of style and functionality to regain their appeal.


The rise and fall of cargo shorts reflect the ever-evolving nature of fashion trends. While they were once a popular choice for their practicality and relaxed style, cargo shorts have faced increasing criticism and a decline in popularity in recent years. As fashion preferences shift towards a more tailored and refined look, alternative options such as chino shorts, denim shorts, hybrid shorts, and linen shorts have gained traction. Whether cargo shorts will make a comeback in the future remains uncertain, but for now, it seems that they have fallen out of favor in the realm of men's summer fashion.

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This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.