Found! Skinny Cargos Under $50


splurge-a-cpw-analysis-of-j-brand-houlihans-12.jpg For those of you who have been craving M's J.Brand Houlihans (pictured at left) as much as I have…let me warn warn you:  the following Skinny Cargo picks will be nowhere near as fabulous.  There's a reason those Houlihans cost so much:  super-crazy-bum-flattering fit, and premium fabrics that will last (through many, many washings).  M makes a good case for going for the real thing in her article, Splurge: A CPW Analysis of J.Brand Houlihans (as well as some killer pics for ways-to-wear 'em).

However, if you are still a bit undecided about the skinny cargo trend itself…or are still nervous about your ability to pull off skinny in general (or really, just short on cash these days)…starting with a low-cost route might be a good idea.  If you find yourself wearing them daily (and wearing them out!), you've virtually done your own CPW analysis, and can always upgrade!

(My husband hates this logic.  But really, it makes perfect sense.)

In that vein, I've found some crazy-cute skinny cargos for under $50.  No joke. I won't make any promises to your bum, but this pregnant gal might take the risk.  After all, I'm going to need some "transition" pants after I deliver….right?

The Skinny Cargo

Forever 21 has a great pair (pictured below, top row) for $25.  R's nanny Emily owns this pair, and while she admits the fit is a bit baggier around the bum than she'd like…her bum still looks cuter than the model's in the slightly weird picture below.  The rest of the pant, however, is spot-on.  And did I mention $25?

Gap also makes a slightly more forgiving pair for $50 (pictured below, bottom row).


Cargo Denim Pants
$30 -
Cargo jeans »




The skinny cargo | Gap
$50 -


Cargo Leggings

Once you start down the jean leggings route…it can be tough to go back.  They are just So. Darn. Comfortable.  So I'm very intrigued by Forever 21's take on the skinny cargo in legging form.  While their Ruched Utility Pant isn't a cargo pant per se…it does have enough toughness to be worn exactly like you would wear a skinny cargo pant. 

I also love how unobtrusive the pockets are on these leggings – just enough to add a bit of toughness without any bulk.

And all under $25?  Done.

Pantalon utilitaire ruché
$28 -
Forever21 »


Leggings en denim style cargo
$24 -
Denim leggings »



What do you think, girls?  Willing to try, or waiting for the real thing?





  1. I am definitely going to check out the Gap skinny cargos. I just bought myself some fab knee-high boots so I’m hoping to put those together (sort of like you did in the pic).

  2. Okay, I have to admit…skinny cargos totally scare me. And I’m usually up for anything.
    I’ve been SO burned by anything in chino fabric in the past…seriously, I have owned 1 pair of khakis EVER that actually fit, and that was when I was 15. Are these things really worth the potential trauma of the fitting room? Help?

  3. Slightly off-topic, but I finally bought a pair of skinny Jean leggings and Hubby’s reaction made it sooo worth taking the plunge. My derriere must look good in them 🙂
    I didn’t know to be on the lookout for cargo type ones too though! I guess that can be one of my next quests!

  4. I bought the Gap ones a couple weeks ago – SUPER comfortable and cute. They do stretch out, though, and get a bit saggy with wear. Still a good buy.

  5. Just bought a pair of Paige skinny cargos (Maternity!) and I l.o.v.e them! Butter soft, super flattering (well, I *think* so) and it has this adjustable tab waistband meant to ride under belly while preg, normal when not (think adjustable toddler pants). LOVE them. They are in the J price point though. Totally justified them because they are 100% wearable non-preg. I’d even go so far as to say — cuter than Houlihans. There, I said it. 🙂

  6. I bought my first pair of pants from Forever 21 and I don’t know — they stretch out in a flash. (They’re skinny, olive green cotton pants, so cargos minus the pocket, I guess). The fabric and cut are so important, I’m not sure if it’s worth going with the cheaper version.
    To that point, I’m curious about legging brands. I have one pair of Hue denim leggings and they got a little pilly. Are Gap better? Any other, non-fleece picks?

  7. Lisa – I’m still debating between the Gap & Forever 21 ones for a while now…so let me know what you think!
    Amy – Sigh. Chino fabric IS tough. I had given it up….10 years ago now? But I (right before pregnancy) did purchase a pair of Gap straight chinos (to roll), which I ended up liking. The bum seams were waaay different than I remembered, and much better. But M’s Houlihans aren’t really chino, though…which is probably why they look so good on the bum. Also, one of the Forever 21’s are more like knit leggings…which might be the reason I go with them. Decisions, decisions, LOL!
    Maman A Droit! Bravo!!! LOVE THIS! See – you’ll be hooked in no time…
    Jess J – doesn’t that full panel look horrible when show on a mannequin with no shirt? LOL – But yes, nice pick!! Thanks for sharing…hmmm…do I purchase YET ANOTHER maternity pant or just suck it up and wait…
    Cindy – That, my dear, is the tough question. M is actually working on an article about this very topic. But in the meantime, I think both wedges or clogs are a YES. But I’d stick to clogs with actual clog styling…instead of the traditional Danskos…
    Madeleine – Thanks for the info! They DO look a bit more comfy than the Forever21 ones…
    Stephanie – Oooo….So. Totally. Tempting. Are these the ones you are talking about?
    Gretchen – That IS the tough thing…but $25 is a far cry from $200…sigh. Legging brands are hard also – I agree that the Hues are prone to pilling, so I was planning to either go with the fleece ones we profiled before, or skip right over to legging jeans. Although, I have several pairs of leggings from Forever 21 (LOL), that haven’t pilled or faded or stretched. This is a good question – worth more research, for sure. I’ll work on it, but let me know if you find a brand you love.

  8. Shana — yes! those are the Paige cargos — yummy! The fabric is seriously buttery. I am only freshly preg (with #2, so, marching right along), but I plan to wear these into the ground during and after. I say, get some! They were an impulse buy for me, but I am sooo happy I got them. For both maternity and non-maternity fashion, a big rule of mine is spend the money on the bum. 🙂

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