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 spring and 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.
Last August, market-research firm NPD Group told the Wall Street Journal that sales of the derided shorts had fallen over the course of the year. It marked the first time sales had fallen in the last decade, the group said.
This was a turning point in the debate over the late ’90s fashion staple that has proved more resilient than most, like a bacterium that has become resistant to antibiotics. Though the shorts enjoyed popularity through the 2000s and the first half of this decade, they become increasingly out-of-fashion with every passing year.
Still, there are many diehards who consider the cargo short a way of life. They consider cargo shorts useful, comfortable, and all-around fine to wear for all occassions.
But cargo shorts are really none of those things.
The first issue: A gentleman does not wear shorts that cover the knees. Some claim that 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 and create a silly, imbalanced look that pretty much ruins the whole point of wearing shorts to begin with.
The second issue: The actual cargo pockets themselves are unflattering.
What are you even putting in those pockets? You’re most likely not a carpenter building a dresser in your spare time. You don’t need space for measuring tape.
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 does. If the only issue was a few extra pockets, that would be one thing. But the extra pockets also add considerable weight and bulk to the shorts, dragging them down further from your hips.
Cargo shorts also completely ruin any balanced silhouette you might have. Balance is very important in dressing properly. Picture wearing a blazer with shorts. You wouldn’t do it, right? That’s because it creates an imbalanced look, where your top half is crushing your bottom half.
The same goes for wearing bulky cargo shorts with a casual t-shirt. The bottom half flares out, making you look imbalanced. This creates a juvenile look no matter how old you actually are.
But there is a solution! It goes by the name 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 for some reason ($US49.95), compared with a pair of J.Crew chino shorts ($US65). It’s clear which one has cleaner lines and makes the wearer look like an adult — and which one doesn’t.
Many, many other brands make chino shorts, likely including whatever brand you bought your terrible cargo shorts from.
Make the right choice.
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