Banish thoughts of army surplus – the utilitarian look's gone luxe
PRECIOUS CARGO! Banish thoughts of army surplus – the utilitarian look’s gone luxe
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Despite what you may have heard, we women are really not that hard to please.
Take pockets. Fashion designers: If you are generous with these, we’ll respond with our hard-earned cash.
We really like and need pockets. Our love of them has sparked the return of the cargo trend.
You know the look I mean: combat-style khaki trousers with multiple pockets on the side of the legs. Their last big turn in the spotlight was in the early Noughties, when only about seven women on Earth looked sexy in oversized cargo trousers.
Jumper, £85, marksandspencer.com; trousers, £380, frame-store.com; heels, £114, lkbennett.com
Jacket, £108, jovonnalondon.com; vest, £30, reiss.com; skirt, £168, the reformation.com; heels, £249, lkbennett.com
I can never think of them without being hurled back in time to watching All Saints on Top Of The Pops, teaming their khakis with cropped tank tops and lithe limbs. Appropriately enough, the girls’ biggest hit was Never Ever, which is exactly what I vowed — Never Ever would I dare to leave the house in the go-to look for every Y2K-era hottie.
Now, thanks to Generation Z’s appetite for all things retro, the Noughties staple is back — and now, I have more confidence. So, days away from my 53rd birthday, I’m embracing the trend that terrified me in my late 20s. Because it’s not about adding chunky Army boots and screeching ‘Girl Power!’ any more. This year, cargo pants ooze grown-up glamour.
Thanks to the luxe interpretations from fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton — whose hero piece of its 2023 resort show was cargos made of gold, crinkled leather — the High Street is awash with more elevated offerings.
Left: Blazer, £34.99, & vest, £8.99, hm.com; trousers, £45, riverisland.com; trainers, £39.50, marksandspencer.com. Right: Shirt, £295, framestore.com; denim cargo trousers, £49.99, shop.mango. com; boots, £34.99 hm.com
Blazer, £119.20 and trousers, £42, karenmillen.com; heels, £19.99, hm.com
Modern cargo looks aren’t sacrificing femininity, as seen in this camel dress by Anthropologie, the office-appropriate skirt by The Reformation and this absolutely show-stopping burgundy evening suit by Karen Millen.
For polished-looking cargos, choose luxe textures, such as glam silks and satins. No one over 30 wants to look like they bought their cargos at an Army surplus store.
Alternatively, pair your loose-fit denim and canvas cargo looks with structured pieces like a blazer or crisp button-down shirt — teeny tiny crop top not required.
Relaxed, chic, and full of places to store your phone and your cards. Like I said, we’re really not so hard to please.
Dress, £170, anthropologie.com; polo-neck, £52, intimissimi.com; heels, £249, lkbennett.com
Coat, £260, boden.co.uk; jumper, £88, reiss.com; trousers, £380, framestore.com; loafers, £249, lkbennett.com
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