We at Business Insider rail against cargo shorts — a lot. But it’s for a good reason.
Cargo pocketed shorts are the single worst item a man can wear in the summer. Yes, we’re willing to go that far. We feel that strongly about it.
Many men are finally understanding that cargo shorts are a scourge, and are buying fewer of them.
Market-research firm NPD Group told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that sales of the derided shorts have fallen over the past year. That marks the first time sales have fallen in the last decade, the group says.
This is a turning point in the debate over the late ’90s fashion staple that has proved much more resilient than most. Though the shorts enjoyed popularity through the 2000s and the first half of 2010, they became increasingly out of fashion with every passing year.
Still, there are many diehards who consider the cargo short a away of life. They consider cargo shorts useful, comfortable, and all-around fine — but they’re really none of those things.
The first issue is this: a gentleman does not wear shorts that cover the knees. Some claim a gentleman never wears shorts at all. We wouldn’t go that far, but if you’re covering your knees, you’re not bold enough to be a man in shorts in the first place.
Most (all) cargo shorts are at least 11 or 12 inches long, which will cover the knees, creating a silly, imbalanced look that pretty much ruins the whole point of wearing shorts to begin with.
The second issue is the actual cargo pockets themselves.
What are you even putting in those pockets? You’re not a carpenter. You don’t need space for a level. If you think you need those pockets, let me ask you this: why is a four-pocket pant fine most of the time, but a four-pocket short isn’t?
If you’re still looking for places to keep extra items, there’s always the possibility of carrying a bag with you. You know, like everyone else.
If the only issue was a few extra pockets, that would be one thing. But unfortunately, the extra pockets add considerable weight and bulk to the shorts, dragging them down even further from your hips. They also completely ruin whatever silhouette you might have on the sides of your legs, completely unbalancing you in a way that can’t be saved.
In effect, this creates a juvenile look no matter how old you actually are.
But there is a solution that goes by the name of chino shorts. They’re pocket-less, generally shorter, and just all around slimmer and more flattering. And they’re not any less comfortable, either.
Just take a look at the picture above to see the difference between the two. To the left is the cargo shorts Gap inexplicably still sells ($59.99), compared with a pair of J.Crew chino shorts ($69). It’s clear which one has cleaner lines, and which one makes the wearer look like an adult.
Many, many other brands make chino shorts, likely including whatever brand you bought your terrible cargo shorts from.
Make the right choice.