Just because Southern California is the country’s fashion trendsetter, doesn’t mean that men here know how to dress. Yes, maybe compared to the nation as a whole, California men know what’s up. But, there are still an immense number of men roaming SoCal in cargo shorts and old rainbows.
This is an age-old debate—or at least a debate since the cargo short trend ended back in 2007. So why are these shorts still popular a decade after their height, and why is it still such a large debate?
The debate was sparked in August of 2016 when an article was published in the Wall Street Journal that caused arguments across the country. The article claimed that those who enjoy the baggy, pocketed short are couch potatoes. In protest of their co-worker’s claim, the men of The Wall Street Journal staged a #CargoFriday protest that very quickly backfired. Their protest seemed to prove just how unflattering the shorts really are— and GQ was not having it.
“Without even being able to see what these fifteen white guys really look like up close, we can say with 100 percent confidence that they would look infinitely better in slightly smaller, pocket-free shorts,” Megan Gustashaw of GQ wrote. “Or better yet, non-pleated chinos. Or even better yet, nicely cut trousers. Basically, anything else.”
So why are cargo shorts still a fashion staple in so many different men’s closets? For one, stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister have been selling these shorts to young men for the last 20 years, and are only now seeing a decline in sales. Or maybe it’s because comfort is more important than being well dressed.
Either way, it seems that this men’s summer staple has begun to take a few hits—and it’s probably because of the women in their lives. Wall Street Journal claims, “Relationships around the country are being tested by cargo shorts, loosely cut shorts with large pockets sewn onto the sides. Men who love them say they’re comfortable and practical for summer. Detractors? say they’ve been out of style for years, deriding them as bulky, uncool and just flat-out ugly.”
No matter which side of the controversy you’re on, it is definitely a hot topic every summer.