How Do I Choose the Best Cargo Pants?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Some factors you should consider when choosing cargo pants are your body type, the fit and cut of the pants, and the color. Not all pants will look good on all body types, so keep this in mind as you shop. Women’s cargo pants come in all different colors and fits, while men’s varieties are often more basic and functional. You should also choose materials that are appropriate for the weather and temperature. There are thin versions for summer months which are breathable and cooler to wear, and thicker options for cold weather months.

One of the most important issues to consider when choosing cargo pants is the fit. Some women may opt for “skinny” cut options. These are usually tight throughout with a body-hugging design right down to the ankle. The cargo pockets are often smaller than on traditional cargo pants. This design is not recommended for those who are bottom-heavy and trying to minimize this. For these women, a straight or wide leg pant may be more suitable because the wider bottom portion of the legs help to balance out the hips.

Women with a larger bust may also benefit from wider-legged cargo pants. The large legs also help to balance out the breasts with the lower portion of the body, especially in those who have smaller hips that are not proportionate to the bust. It is often a good idea for women with heavier legs and thighs to choose pants that have cargo pockets that lay more flat against the side of the pants rather than those that bulk out at the sides. This prevents the pockets from adding depth to the legs.

Materials are also important. There are ultra-thin cargo pants that are designed for wear during hot summer months. These are often almost sheer and wider in the legs to allow for more breathability. Cargo shorts are also often available, although they may go by the name “camper shorts." Thick pants are better suited for winter months.

Men’s cargo pants are also widely available. These typically have a relaxed fit with large pockets that are often fully functional as well as stylish. Khaki is the most common color of cargo pants for men, although green, brown, and other colors may also be available.

Both women and men should choose pants that fit well in the waist without being too baggy or too tight. Loose pants may add bulk rather than hide it, but pants should not cut into the skin. One or two fingers should fit comfortably between the pants and you waistline. If there is more or less slack than this, you may not be wearing the best fit.

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      Man with hands on his hips