Cargo Pants and Heels — How to Wear Them and Look Effortless

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Credit: Flickr, Mathilda Samuelsson

People often mix up cargo pants with others. 

Cargo pants have two or more pockets and often come with a drawstring belt. They are a great addition to outdoor work, a coffee with friends, or a comfortable and leisurely feel. We want to switch up the traditional looks you’ve been used to, and demonstrate how you can wear cargo pants and heels any time of the year and for any occasion.

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Credit: Urban Outfitters


What Are Cargo Pants?

In a nutshell, they are military-inspired pants which traditionally look best with classic, masculine clothes. They were once a male-dominated garment which has now expanded to all sexes and lifestyles. They are most popularly worn to laid-back events with knitted jumpers, cowboy boots, and plain t-shirts due to the history of their invention. However, they are more multi-functional than people realise. In fact, you can take this look anywhere with cargo pants and heels.

The History of Cargo Pants

The British military first wore them in 1938 as part of their Battle Dress Uniforms. Two years later, the United States’ military wore them as a uniform as well. Their purpose for the army was their thick material which helped to camouflage soldiers from the enemy.

Initially, they featured one pocket on the side thigh and one on the front hip. These over-sized pockets were handy to hold any materials soldiers needed on the go, and provided access to ammunition and radios. The position of the pockets meant that solders didn’t have to reach or stretch in order to get what they were looking for.

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Credit: Flickr, May Lee

In the mid 1990’s, cargo pants and heels made an appearance on the fashion scene. They were first worn by urban hip-hop performers which then soon poured into the mass market. They suddenly appeared in clothing retail for males, before then reaching to the female market. Although they were originally created for functional use, they were often accompanied with decorative details.

Before the modern day, they received a bad rap by being associated to only certain groups of people, and not the upper class. Thankfully, the celebrity market adopted cargo pants and heels which helped to expand the market even further across all spectrums of lifestyle. It is easy to get this look wrong if you try to turn them into something they are not.


Fashion Tips For Pulling Off Cargo Pants and Heels:

To pull off cargo pants and heels, there are a few ‘rules’ you need to follow. The first and most important point is to get the fit right. Contrary to what some believe, it’s not all about a tailored fit. A modern pair of pants will come in a slim and tapered fabric which works best with heels. If you prefer flats, or sneakers, choose the original bulkier fit pants which more often come in a straight-leg variant.

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Credit: Flickr, Mathilda Samuelsson

Don’t just pick up any pair of pants which are in your size and your favourite colour. Always consider the pocket size and positioning to help flaunt your figure and not make you appear shorter or wider than what you actually are. Cargo pants tend to make legs look bulkier due to their material and tapered fit. If you want a neater look, choose pockets which are closer to your hips than your knees. Big pockets will swamp those with short legs, whereas smaller pockets will look more in proportion with your body.

How To Wear Cargo Pants For Any Occasion

If you want to channel your mid 90’s look, we’ve got you covered. These looks are balanced between luxury and sportswear, and when teamed with heels, look flattering on every body for any occasion. Cargo pants and heels are a versatile and smart look.

The quickest way to get started is to collect your neutral-coloured garments from your wardrobe – including accessories such as a necklaces, watches, handbags, scarves and sunglasses. Strappy sandals and a red lip amp up any relaxed looks instantly for a contemporary evening look.

Relaxed and Cool Look

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Credit: Styleoholic

For those occasions when you’re looking for something more relaxed and chilled, we’ve got you covered. Wear a loose-fit long-sleeve top with a pair of cool khaki cargo pants and heels. This look works great in the summer if you opt for a white or brightly-coloured top.

We recommend wearing a pair of over-sized sunglasses with eye-catching bracelets and a large necklace. You can also add a leather shoulder bag into the works if you feel like you want to go all out. For heels, we recommend sandals in a light brown shade, which look even better with cargo pants rolled up slightly to show some ankle.

If it’s a little too cold for just a long-sleeve top, you can still keep a relaxed and cool look in the autumn hue. Go for a mustard knitted cardigan with a luxury knitted scarf with brown leather high school.

Smart-Casual Attire

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Credit: Pixabay, ohurtsov

Cargo pants and heels are an extremely versatile ensemble with the right wardrobe. You can take them from a daytime to an evening look with only a few elements. To give cargo pants a smart vibe, choose a skinny fit in an army green shade. Adding a belt helps to draw you in at the waist to create an hourglass figure, whilst embodying a smart feel.

Add a cream white shirt with long sleeves. Roll them up slightly for a rugged feel which will give you an ‘I don’t care’ look. Avoid buttoning the shirt all the way to the top as this can look a little too serious. Instead, leave a few buttons undone and wear a stunning, oversized necklace to draw the eye up. Complete with a shoulder bag similar to the colour of your shirt and cream-beige pumps with a slight heel.

Casual Look

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Credit: Fustany

This look differs from option number one, because it’s perfect for those lazy days or if you’re visiting somewhere which doesn’t require too much getting ready, such as shopping. We want to show you that you can look stylish whilst remaining comfortable and practical.

For this look to work, you’ll need an oversized top with a graphic print. An oversized tunic top works well because it is baggy whilst still having enough shape to frame your figure. Stick to black heels with a daring height to overcompensate for the casual feel on the top of your body. Black trainer heels work great as they’re practical whilst remaining stylish. To complete this look, we recommend having your hair down with beach waves. Alternatively, you could rock a high messy bun to compliment the casual look you’re aiming for.

Autumn, Daily Look

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Credit: Pixabay, Free-Photos

We love this autumn, daily look because it works so great if you’re running errands but don’t want to look under-dressed. Fashion isn’t just about how you look to impress others, but how your appearance makes you feel about yourself. Cargo pants and heels can easily transition between the seasons to meet your needs.

Wear khaki green cargo pants which are cuffed to show up to your ankle bone. By showing a bit of skin, you look sexy whilst not showing enough to expose yourself or become too cold. Wear black suede pointed heels, and if you’re feeling daring, opt for a pair with a statement heel, such as Louboutins. A handbag will never let you down when completing an outfit, so we recommend choosing a palette which has autumn colours, such as black, browns and white in an eye-catching size. Tip: Did you know that an oversized handbag can make your frame look smaller?

The Meeting Look

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Credit: Lookbook

People might think that cargo pants are only for casual occasions, but that’s certainly not the case. We’re going to show you how to create a look suitable for meetings. To really pull off this look, you definitely need skinny cargo pants in a dark brown to black colour. Avoid the typical khaki colour as there’s a stigma that they’re for day use rather than a formal occasion. Team them with a pair of black leather boots, and avoid sandals, as they scream too much of a party look.   

For the top half of your look, add a tailored blazer with three-quarter sleeves, or you can roll up the sleeves to near your elbow. For an eye-catching, stylish feel, we recommend a black leather handbag and a watch with a large face.

You can quickly adapt this look for a night out, by switching your heels for a pair of black sandals. If possible, zip up your cargo pants slightly to look more edgy, and ditch the blazer for a leather jacket.

Country Style Look 

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Credit: Pixabay, Republica

If you live in the countryside, or just love the country style, we’ve got you covered with one of our favourite cargo pants look. This works particularly well in the autumn-winter season. Opt for a white sweater with a checkered shirt underneath. This works particularly well if you have the collar loosely hanging over the sweater.

Complete the look with a pair of khaki green cargo pants which fit loosely, along with a pair of retro suede short boots. The more casual they are, the better this complete ensemble will look. If the weather enables you to do so, wear a pair of three-quarter cargo pants and allow the flaps on your boots to take centre stage. We can imagine this outfit at an outdoor fire with a cup of hot cocoa in your head. If the weather is a little warmer, ditch the white sweater, and opt for an oversized checkered shirt. This works equally as good!


An Alternative to Cargo Pants and Heels to Flaunt Your Figure:

If the weather doesn’t call for it, or you want to switch up your wardrobe, there is always the option of skinny jeans. Mastering the balance between jeans and heels takes a bit of research, but we’ve already done that for you.

A double cuff at the bottom of your jeans with sandals looks sophisticated and is the perfect party attire if you aspire to look dressy. This shows off the ankles which isn’t just a flirtatious tactic, but helps to make the body more balanced too. If you want to avoid wearing skinny jeans, and prefer loosely fit jeans, then feel free to rock this look also. Do remember that the looser your jeans, the more flamboyant your heels should be. Draw attention to feet with a brightly-coloured pair of sandals which heavily contrasts the rest of your ensemble.

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Credit: Pexels

For an oversized jean look, ensure that you create a bigger cuff to give a sporty appeal. Play with the proportions of the rest of your body with a loud, loose blouse which shows a little skin around the neckline. You don’t want to cover up your entire body.

For those classic nude heel lovers, you can afford to be more daring with the accessories and details on your jeans. Embellished jeans with detailed pockets look on-trend with a pair of nude shoes. Keep the top half of your look fairly simple with a tailored blazer/jacket to not overpower the bottom half of your outfit.


Anyone Can Rock Cargo Pants and Heels.

The beauty of cargo pants and heels is that you don’t have to be a particular size or age. So long as you wear them at the right fit and with the best accessories, you can’t really go wrong. You can be edgy and stylish, luxurious and sophisticated, and everything in-between just by swapping your heels and top. Remember though, real fashion and confidence comes from within, so ensure that you let your inner beauty and you shine through.

Give the above looks a try and be sure to let us know how you get on, in our comments section. Do you have any tips for rocking cargo pants and heels? Share them with us and be sure to share this post with your fashion-forward friends.

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