Cargo pants go in and out of style, but they’re having a moment right now, and I’m loving them as an alternative to jeans this spring. I’ve surprised even myself by how often I want to wear them, so today I’ve rounded up 3 ways to wear cargo pants!
During the Bloomies Friends & Family sale, I ordered 3 pairs of cargo pants to try and shared them all in this try-on post. I kept the Paige pair, but before I sent the others back, I shot these looks in my backyard. I thought it might be nice to see the 3 ways post with 3 different pairs of pants.
And yes, I realize these are all on the spendy side, so I rounded up some other styles for under $100 at the end of this post.
3 Ways to Wear Cargo Pants
Of course there are way more than 3 ways to wear cargo pants. Like jeans, the possibilities are virtually endless, but here are a few for starters.
#1. With Striped Shirt + Wedge Sandals
I feel like this look photographed rather dull, but I love it in theory. A black and white stripe top with olive pants is a classic combination. Maybe it’s because the landscape behind me is so dull, or maybe because the shade of green in these pants is darker than most. Anyway, you get the idea.
These are the Joie cargo pants, and they have a 8.5″ rise and a 27″ inseam. I like how the legs have a regular hem (as opposed to the jogger style), and the 27″ inseam is the perfect crop length on me. These pants are also at Amazon and Zappos.
To dress the look up a bit, I wore wedge sandals. These are the perfect not-too-dressy, not-too-casual pair of espadrille wedge sandals, and they have a comfortable cushioned footbed. I wore them with a black maxi dress to church and out to lunch last Sunday, and they felt good all day.
The striped top is the Sanctuary brand, and it’s a nice linen fabric that can look dressed-up or more casual, depending on what you wear with it. I like the split neck and the longer sleeves.
Because the look is pretty simple, I added large geometric hoop earrings and a cuff bracelet. I think I’d also like a couple of delicate gold necklaces in the neckline. I wish I’d thought to add them.
I love the juxtaposition of the feminine/dressy wedge sandals with the masculine/casual cargo pants, and this linen top bridges the gap and pulls them together perfectly.
Shop the Look:
(The Joie pants are not sold out; I don’t know why it says that.)
#2. With Navy Top + White Jacket
This outfit is the most casual of the three because of the sneakers, but the white jacket keeps the look polished.
Typically I like navy and olive green together, but I’m not crazy about the shades of these two pieces in combination. I think the navy needs to be darker, or a black top would work too.
For accessories, I wore a silver layer necklace and cuff bracelet.
These cargo pants are by Sanctuary, and they have a 26″ inseam with a 9.5″ rise. They also have an elastic waistband, which is not my favorite, but they’re a really pretty shade of green. They’re also a little baggier in the legs than the other two pairs, which could be a pro or con, depending on your needs.
I carried a neutral tote to break up the look a bit and keep it from being too matchy.
Shop the Look:
The navy tank is not sold out, but sizes are limited. I love it but recommend sizing up if in between. I have the medium.
#3. With Graphic Tee + Denim Jacket
This is my favorite of the three looks by far. I have actually worn this a few times already. These are the pants I kept. They’re by Paige, one of my favorite denim brands, and they have a great fit. Plus I found them the most comfortable of the three pairs I tried. They have a 9.5″ rise and a 26.5″ inseam.
I was conflicted between these and the Joie pair (#1) but my husband was walking through the bedroom when I was going back and forth between the two of them, and he declared these to be more flattering, so I ripped off the tags and wore them, and that was that!
They really wear nicely all day, don’t bag out, and because of the higher rise, they’re super comfortable and don’t need constant “hitching up”.
I wasn’t crazy about the jogger style at first, but as it turns out, I think it gives them a great casual-cool vibe. Since my lifestyle is very casual, they’ve been working out great for me.
I went with neutral sandals and a neutral bag to keep the focus on the colors in the outfit.
I wore this exact look to a friend’s house for a patio party, and it was perfect for a casual spring gathering. I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot of wear this spring and summer.
Shop the Look:
Spoiler alert: I ended up ordering the Joie pair in black. I was wearing the Paige pair so much, I decided I should get a pair of cargos in a different color, and the Joie had been a close second choice all along. Here’s a picture of how I’ve worn them. I guess I could have called this post 4 ways to wear cargo pants.
#4. With a Pink Tee + Denim Jacket
The Joie pair also wears well and does not bag out, but because of the lower rise and skinnier leg style, I do find myself hitching them up throughout the day.
As an aside, I’m loving cargo pants with espadrilles for spring. I’ve been wearing them a lot with the black ones shown here, and also the white Eileen Fisher pair.
Shop The Look:
Again, the Joie cargo pants are not sold out.
I have so many more ideas and ways I want to style my cargo pants this spring. Stay tuned, as I’m sure I’ll have more looks I can add to this post over the next few weeks!
Cargo Pants Under $100
And as promised, here are some more options for cargo pants under $100 for those who are interested.
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photos: Alison Cornell