Cargo Trend For Women
Have you noticed that cargo pants are really making a comeback? We saw cargo trends on the runway last fall and winter. And now, we’re seeing fresh and fun options for spring and summer too. And these are not the same cargo pants of the early 2000s either! They have higher waists, are made of luxe fabrics, and the fit ranges from slim to straight to oversized. Cargo and utility pants, joggers, jumpsuits, shorts, jackets, shirts, and skirts are among the standouts leading the way for street chic and celebrity fashion. But how do you wear this trend as “normal”, fashion-forward women over 40? I’m sharing my best tips for embracing the cargo trend for women and some chic pieces you can effortlessly style with items you already own.
For more details on the hottest and most wearable trends this spring/summer for women over 40, make sure you check out this post next!
Tips for Wearing the Cargo Trend Over 40
I recently returned from our family African safari adventure so the cargo and utility trend was definitely top of mind when shopping and packing for that trip. But I plan to incorporate all the pieces I brought into my regular everyday wardrobe too. Before we get to all the exciting pieces (and there are many!), let’s start off with a few tips…
- Go Minimal – If you’re hesitant to try this trend, go minimal. Some pants are covered in pockets and hardware while others have minor cargo-like details.
- Try Sophisticated Cargo – All cargo and utility pieces are not created equal. For a more sophisticated take on the trend, you can opt for l1) uxe fabrics like silks or satin and 2) structured silhouettes.
- Mix Styles – Since the cargo trend can be edgy, I love mixing styles and pairing the edgier utility pieces with a feminine twist. For example, I’d wear cargo joggers with a lightweight blouse that has feminine details (think lace or eyelet fabric and ruffle or puff sleeves).
- Style With Basics – If you try a trendier cargo piece, you can pair it with a simple t-shirt, white button-down, or other wardrobe basics to let the trend shine.
- Beware of Pocket Placement – Consider your body shape with this trend! If you have a triangle body shape, pockets at your thighs might draw unwanted attention to that area. You can find pants and skirts with lower pocket placements instead (like the knee area). Or even try cargo tops and jackets instead. If you have a large bust, try working the trend on your lower half.
Are you intrigued? Keep scrolling for 6 ways to try the cargo trend and some of my favorite fashion picks!
#1) Cargo Jackets
Let’s kick things off with what might just be the easiest way to try the cargo or utility trend…jackets. In the images above, I’m wearing a 2-in-1 cargo jacket by Veronica Beard. I brought this jacket with me to Africa and really appreciated the versatility. The bottom zips off creating both a cropped jacket and a longer-line utility jacket for added warmth and/or coverage. I love this piece SO much and will wear it both ways this spring and on cooler Colorado summer nights. See how it takes a simple white t-shirt and pair of jeans to a whole other level of chic? The pretty gold snaps in contrast with the large pockets and utility fabric give this jacket an edgy yet feminine look.
By the way, you can read all about our trip to Africa here if you’re interested.
This Good American jacket is another chic way to wear the cargo jacket trend. It has an everyday look with an elevated feel. It has fewer pockets than the Veronica Beard jacket so it’s a bit more “minimal” and streamlined. I love the patch pockets and olive color! I’m wearing it here all decked out for our safari day, but I’ll style it with jeans, shorts, and dresses all spring and summer long. There are a ton of really cute utility jackets out there ranging from barely there cargo details to all-out full-on utility so you can find one that speaks to you!
#2) Cargo Dresses & Skirts
Yep, you can even embrace the trend with a dress. How cool is the Veronica Beard mixed-media dress? I bought this cargo-inspired dress for Africa but ended up not packing it due to limited space in my duffel bag. BUT, I love it! It’s a classic shirt dress with a trendy twist. The gold hardware adds a little sophisticated edge and while it looks like a long shirt and skirt it’s all in one. This dress would make SUCH a cool girl statement for a night out paired with wedges or strappy sandals. Or for a day of shopping and running around, just add some cool sneakers. If a dress seems like too much for you, try a mini or midi skirt with the same cargo details and pair it with a simple white button-down or t-shirt.
#3) Cargo Jumpsuits and Rompers
Can you tell I am really embracing this trend? Here I’m wearing a silky utility jumpsuit by Maje. It has a button front making it easy to get in and out of, large side pockets, and a spread collar. The pocket placement is great because it’s lower on the leg and doesn’t add any bulk at the hips (an important tip!). While the cargo trend can be super casual, the luxe fabric on this jumpsuit elevates the look. I styled it with some Marc Fisher platform wedges, gold hoops, and some aviator sunglasses to dial up the cool factor.
If you like the one-and-done option but prefer shorts, try a utility romper! In this look, I’m wearing a chic cargo-style romper by Simkhai. It has a flattering V-neckline, tie waist, oversized lapels, and capped sleeves. I love the pretty olive green color and breezy cotton fabric. Rompers and jumpsuits are nice alternatives when you want an easy outfit that isn’t a dress. If you’re worried about looking too much like a mechanic, just add some feminine touches with your accessories! I styled this romper with some comfy Madewell slide sandals and a Banana Republic leather belt bag for a casual look. The bag comes in both this cognac color I’m wearing and a pretty light bone color too which would be so beautiful for the summer. Such a chic and elevated belt bag that is also…cargo inspired!
#4) Cargo Shorts
Even just writing the words “cargo shorts”, I immediately imagine a pair of men’s, deep pocket twill shorts from the 90’s 😉 Anyone else? But, cargo shorts can be edgy, cool, and very on-trend! Case in point…for this look, I’m wearing a pair of super chic green shorts by DL1961. These shorts have a high waist (12.25”), pleating details on the front, a wider A-line leg style (a must for flattering shorts!), and cool cargo-style details. I did wear these in Africa but have also been wearing them on repeat with pretty white tops and my trusty Rails button-down. These shorts are not overly cargo-y…so this would be a safe way to test the trend if you’re not quite ready to go all-in!
Not sure about wearing shorts over 40? This post has the best style tips!
Here’s another pair of cargo-inspired shorts. These are from Veronica Beard and are made of the same cotton blend as the 2-in-1 jacket in the first look. They have a 3” inseam and the coolest belted accents along either side of the waist. I know you can’t see that in this picture but trust me, they are amazing! These are incredibly flattering and would be really chic paired with the matching jacket or simple white top like the Free People one I’m wearing.
#5) Cargo Pants
This is probably the most popular way of wearing the trend right now. Cargo pants run the gamut of super baggy, streamlined, straight-leg, and fitted. And the fabric choices are endless. Silk, satin, cotton, leather, nylon…so needless to say there are a ton of options for dressy and casual occasions and at every price point. I want to show you 2 pretty diverse looks! In this look, I’m wearing a pair of cargo pants from Banana Republic that I loved so much that I bought them twice. I own them in Latte Beige and Cream White. They come in Tall, Regular, Short, and Petite sizing. And while they embrace the trend, they are not over the top. I’ve worn them with blouses, t-shirts and sweaters, wedges, sandals and sneakers. Talk about versatility!
In this look, I’m wearing a pair of satin jogger cargo pants by Cinq à Sept that I dressed up with booties and a Wayf lace top to show you just how diverse cargo pants can be. These have cargo flap pockets on the side that are less oversized than the Banana Republic pair and are a little edgy but also elegant. They come in a bunch of colors and I’ve worn them across all seasons! To dip your toe in the water with the cargo pant trend, try a pair that have minimal details like these!
#6) Utility Shirts
I haven’t yet purchased a true utility shirt. But, this Nation LTD top is utility inspired with its gold front snaps. And it’s in the utility color family for sure! I love the feminine puffed shoulders and flattering V-neck. I’m sharing this so you can see how easy it is to try the trend. Even with something as simple as a t-shirt! Here are a few fun options…ranging from really subtle utility details to more substantial.
So what do you think…will you try the cargo trend? How are you most likely to wear it? Please share in the comments below! To make sure you don’t miss out on blog posts like this one, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter if you haven’t already. We’d love to have you be a part of this amazing community of women.
Thanks for stopping by!