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How to Style Cargo Pants for Men (5 Outfit Ideas)

How to Style Cargo Pants for Men (5 Outfit Ideas)


Cargo pants may be exploding into the mainstream of fashion, but this garment has been subculturally cool for decades. From grunge to skateboarding to nu-metal to hip-hop, just about every influential youth movement in the last 30 years has kept cargo pants in its front pocket.

In more recent years, cargo pants have become a staple of streetwear, a style that combines casual and comfortable with high fashion. They are highly valued for their utility.

If you think there’s only one kind of cargo pant, we’re here to show off new styles. Today’s cargo pants range from denim to leather. Here’s your definitive guide to finding the best type for you.

Explore cargo pants, sweatpants, and shorts made with premium fabric for long-lasting wear. Shop now!

What Are the Different Types of Cargo Pants?

Cargo pants aren’t a single item of clothing, but rather a category that encompasses a few distinct subtypes. Each type of cargo pants will provide storage space and even more contemporary elan—but that’s about where the similarities end.

Here are the most popular styles of cargo pants today:

Denim Cargo Pants

All the comfort and timelessness of jeans with the added bonus of larger pockets. You can style denim cargo pants in many of the same ways you’d style jeans. Blue is naturally the most common and most classic color, but denim cargo pants can also be found in black, brown, and camo.

Tactical Cargo Pants

This style reflects the military origins of cargo pants. Bulkier and designed with functionality in mind, tactical cargo pants are durable enough to wear casually while still lending your outfit a distinctive flair. You’ll often find tactical cargo pants in classic military styles like camo and earth tones.

Baggy Cargo Pants

Most associated with the aforementioned music subcultures of the 90s, baggy cargo pants aren’t just a throwback fashion piece. Au courant streetwear incorporates these roomy pants in spades. They’re effortlessly cool and probably the most comfortable pants you’ll own.

Jogger Cargo Pants

Jogger cargo pants incorporate the street style of cargo pants with movability. Their elastic construction moves with you, and their comfortable design fits a range of builds. These are the pants you can get away with wearing to bed one night and brunch the next day.

Slim-Fit Cargo Pants

A newer addition to the modern-day cargo roster, these pants are a middle-ground between a slimmer-fitting jean and cargo pants. But make no mistake: slim-fit cargo pants don’t have a slim range of applications. Wear them anywhere you’re going for a cleaner-cut look.

Leather Cargo Pants

Leather cargo pants are the most high-fashion variation. Leather cargo pants are a definitive statement piece of any fit. Pair leather cargo pants with a loose-fitting t-shirt or a flannel in the winter. You can’t go wrong with classic black or brown.

5 Cargo Pants Outfit Ideas for Men

There’s different types of jeans to help you craft a street style fit. Complement a baggy cargo pant with a vintage army jacket, or pair jogger cargos with your favorite graphic tee.

Here are five outfit ideas for cargo pants:

Do More With Denim

Denim cargo pants feature the versatile color palette of traditional jeans with the relaxed fit of cargo pants. So to elevate your everyday style, swap your old blue jeans for denim cargo pants. Blue denim pairs well with white sneakers and a neutral top, like black, white, or gray.

Flare denim cargos have a roomier opening at the ankle, perfect for highlighting a work boot or chunkier athletic shoe.

Cargo Casual

Nothing pairs better with a tee and sneakers than a pair of cargo pants. Many men prefer to pair a baggy tee with a slimmer cargo silhouette to add balance to the overall look. But baggy-on-baggy is a vibe all its own—it all comes down to what you feel confident in.

Want to show off your most colorful pair of sneakers? Pair them with a neutral cargo pant to let the shoe pop. If your shoe is on the neutral side, go with camo or colored bottoms.

Joggers and Sneakers

If you’re heading out with a pair of sneakers or running shoes, cargo joggers are a good fit. They'll keep in theme with your outfit and the elastic cuffs let you show off your sneakers.

Try an olive or camo pair of jogger cargo pants to introduce a tactical flair to this relaxed look. Or even try the same pants in khaki to feel casual even when a more stepped-up approach is needed but you still want to be comfortable.

For Special Occasions

Cargo pants have come a long way; once exclusively work pants, they’ve made their way into dressed-up settings. Not just any pair of cargo pants will do, though.

For lunch meetings or dinner dates, the khaki or black color palate is a classic route to take. Opt for a slimmer fit and pair your pants with a polo or button-up. For shoes, throw on your white Nikes or Vans. This minimalistic look is tasteful while still letting hints of your streetwear sensibility come through.

Ultimate Streetwear Style

The way streetwear has evolved in recent years leads us to a simple mantra: the baggier, the better. Go for an all-baggy look, pairing relaxed cargo pants with an even looser crewneck sweatshirt or t-shirt in the warmer weather. This look also works with an oversized hoodie.

Streetwear is all about personal expression, so take these suggestions, but don’t stop there. Get creative with color palettes or mismatched patterns. Cargo pants are popular in the streetwear world in part due to their versatility, meaning it’s up to you to make your mark with them.

Tips for Styling Cargo Pants

When figuring out how to style cargo pants, the choices can be overwhelming—especially if you’re new to cargos. Two styles of cargo pants may have different contexts in which they are appropriate to wear.

A few basic rules of thumb can make shopping easier:

  1. For versatility, go straight, slim, and neutral – A pair of straight-fit black or khaki cargo pants can be made appropriate for casual hangs and special occasions alike. A piece in one of these categories will offer you the widest range of use. Denim gets a shoutout here, too, as blue denim cargo pants have similar use cases to jeans, going with everything from sneakers to boots.
  2. For style statements, go baggy and colorful – You may not be able to wear bright red leather cargo pants in every situation, but when you do, they’ll be a centerpiece. Colorful and baggy cargo pants are a bold addition to a refined streetwear collection.
  3. Think thematically – If you prefer a matching style, pair your cargo pants with strategically chosen accessories. As mentioned above, joggers with athletic shoes can add cohesion to your outfit. Military boots with camouflage tactical cargo pants create a unified look that speaks to your creative vision.
  4. Style for the season – Weather will have an impact on your choice of cargo pants. In the winter, heavier materials like leather or tactical pants pair well with winter boots. In the summer, joggers and denim are a lighter, more breathable choice, and can complement your choice of summer sneakers.

Pocket an Elevated Street Style Wardrobe With mnml

While cargo pants have landed all over the men’s fashion and streetwear map over the decades, one thing’s for sure: cargo pants are the staple you shouldn’t sleep on.

Elevated streetwear like cargo pants doesn’t need to break the bank, either. At mnml, we've built ourselves on providing cutting-edges pieces at reasonable prices.

Our approach forgoes the unreasonable markup that comes with traditional brick-and-mortar men’s fashion wear. We sell designer-quality products directly to you, circumventing retail overhead and saving you money. We also produce a limited number of each item to keep your look original.

Find cargo pants, shorts, and more in our shop today, and show off the best of streetwear tomorrow.