Upon scrolling through my TikTok feed a few weeks ago, I noticed a new addition to the ever-present small top/big pants trend on the platform. The fashion TikTokers I followed were now wearing not only baggy, wide-leg jeans with their favorite cropped tanks, but baggy cargo pants, too. While I tried to withstand the allure of the cargo pant for a while, I’ve found myself pinning cargo pants outfits on my 2022 mood board on Pinterest. So, I turned to the experts about how exactly to make the very best cargo pants work in your wardrobe for fall 2022, especially if you’re not a trendy member of Gen Z (or an avid TikTok user).
The rise of the cargo pants proves that we’re living in a sartorial blend of the ‘90s and the early-aughts. They grew to popularity in the grunge-outfit era of the late ‘90s before really gaining traction in the very early aughts, and were loved by celebrities Aaliyah, Christina Aguliera, and Brittany Spears around that time.
Now, cargo and parachute-style pants have been spotted on a new crop of It-Girls, including Gigi and Bella Hadid, Emma Chamberlain, Hailey Bieber, Zendaya, and Lori Harvey. They also popped up on the runways at Isabel Marant, Jaquemus, and Laquan Smith during the Fall/Winter 2022 fashion show season.
“As we start to acclimate to leaving our sweatpants at home post pandemic, cargo pants afford one a comfortable and cool option in a world where gender rules traditionally assigned to fashion are antiquated and street style leads design," says fashion stylist Lizzy Rosenberg about why she thinks the silhouette is trending right now.
While some of Hollywood’s fashion elite opt to wear theirs with teeny-tiny cropped tops, others have chosen to wear versions of the utilitarian made from a date-night-approved silk material. Keep reading to shop our list of editor-approved cargo pants, broken down by the stylish women who wear them the most.
Emma Chamberlain's Classic Cargo Pants
Cargo pants make a statement no matter their color, so start off with a pair that comes in a classic colorway if you're new to the silhouette. Emma Chamberlain styled her deep green pair with a sheer top and some lug-soled rainboots for an easy fall ensemble.
Zendaya's Silk Cargo Pants
For an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in December 2021, Zendaya wore a pair of white wide-leg cargo-style pants with a gold top and a matching white silk blazer. The entire look came courtesy of Balmain, and proved just how formal a good pair of luxe-feeling cargo pants can be.
Hailey Bieber's Denim Cargo Pants
For a fall-ready look, style your pair of cargo pants and an equally-oversized sweater and a pair of chunky sneakers like Hailey Bieber did back in February of this year. This look is all about being comfortable and casual, so play with proportions to find the ones that work for you.
Gigi Hadid's White Cargo Pants
Wearing white after Labor day is not only possible, but entirely encouraged in my book. To make the tricky color work for transitional weather, pair it with pieces that come in darker shades like black or navy blue like Gigi Hadid did. Not into wearing a crop top? Find a longer version that better suits your fancy!
Bella Hadid's Nylon Cargo Pants
Parachute-style nylon pants are often lumped into the cargo pants because they have a similar silhouette, and are often styled the same way. Take Bella Hadid for example, who styled hers with a coordinating black tube top and a pair of black sneakers. The shiny material is casual enough to work for a day off, but can be dressed up for a night out.