Trend Alert: Styling Cargo Pants 5 Ways

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When I was originally doing some trend research, I was a little skeptical about Y2K trends coming back. Or, rather…nervous. I don’t ever remember thinking the early 2000s was a time of great fashion history. *Insert Disney stars on the red carpet.* You know, the long tank layered under another tank and then ANOTHER tank, with a sequin miniskirt layered over bootcut jeans. Are you with me? 

BUT. I’m here to admit I was wrong. The more I dived into these trends, the more I was falling head over heels and totally convinced I needed to revamp my wardrobe. Specifically, I needed to get a pair of cargo pants ASAP. I’m so not a shorts girl, I’m getting bored of my denim, and I prioritize comfort over everything else.

So, cargo pants? Seems like the perfect match.

Y2K Cargo Pants Are Back: 5 Ways To Style Them In 2023

On my hunt for the perfect cargo pants, I found these utility pants from Free People and decided to see how I would style them before taking the plunge and treating myself with a pair. I ended up with five different ways I could wear them. Turns out, cargos are super-versatile and can be dressed up or down.

My only note when figuring out how to style them: I would steer toward longer-length jackets/sweaters or go for something cropped that hits the top of the pants. The baggy fit of the pants made in-between lengths look a little awkward.

Outfit Idea 1: Textured Knit + ’70s Vibes

I was given a thick maxi cardigan for Christmas, and it’s quickly become one of my fave pieces in my wardrobe. I’m not typically a cardigan person (oh, hey, Shana!), but maxi cardigans + cargo pants…I’m here for. This duster from Anthro is calling my name — I think the lightweight material/knitting would still work in spring and summer.

Y2k style is back, & I'm head over heels for cargo pants. I'm styling them up 5 ways (w/ pink sandals, leather jackets, silky tops & more) before I treat myself to a pair.

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 (also at Zappos)

As for that bodysuit…Abercrombie carries some of my faves. The materials are nice and stretchy. Pairing these pieces with rusty brown shades and yellow-lens glasses gave me alll the nostalgic ‘70s vibes (and complements the green cargo pants perfectly). 


Outfit Idea 2: A Graphic Tee + Leather

THIS is me in an outfit. Black accents, something leather and a graphic tee. I didn’t want the cargo pants to read too “military,” so I opted for some leather ballet flats instead of my usual chunky black boots.

Y2k style is back, & I'm head over heels for cargo pants. I'm styling them up 5 ways (w/ pink sandals, leather jackets, silky tops & more) before I treat myself to a pair.

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

If you’re looking for a more casual vibe, those New Balance sneakers are my favorite sneakers EVER. Amy’s been loving them too. They’re the most versatile sneakers I own, and they’re sooo comfortable. I’ve walked all over the city in them with zero breaking-in needed. Plus, I’m always here for the retro vibes.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a good graphic tee, first check out Laura’s post and then head to Abercrombie. I’m delightfully surprised by its selection of cool, vintage-looking tees. That paired with a leather blazer (a trend I think I’ll never get sick of) and the oversized leather boho bag (another big trend for this year) dresses it up just a bit.


Outfit Idea 3: Soft Warm Tones

One thing I learned years ago: Olive green always looks good with cream and gold. I don’t know what it is, but it never fails to look chic. My favorite way to do this is with a cozy, slightly cropped cream sweater, a simple gold chain and small hoop earrings…and shoes to match.

Y2k style is back, & I'm head over heels for cargo pants. I'm styling them up 5 ways (w/ pink sandals, leather jackets, silky tops & more) before I treat myself to a pair.

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If Birkenstock sandals aren’t appropriate for your casual Fridays, try out a wedge. They’re usually way comfier than heels.


Outfit Idea 4: Hints of Pink

So. I really wanted to include a tube top because I keep seeing them styled with cargo pants, and I CANNOT get this image out of my head. It just looks SO GOOD. But I’m not always one for a tight top especially if I’m relying on this tube top to keep the girls in place — the tight ones tend to slip easily. When I saw this loose-fitting one from Reformation, I knew I had to style it up with these cargos.

Y2k style is back, & I'm head over heels for cargo pants. I'm styling them up 5 ways (w/ pink sandals, leather jackets, silky tops & more) before I treat myself to a pair.

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08

Complete the look with some dainty jewelry and a fun floral bomber jacket. Keep it casual with the high-top Converse or dress it up with some heels.

P.S. Check out the hint of pink in that bomber and on the Converse. That’s definitely my way of wearing pink.


Outfit Idea 5: Pearls, Feathers + Pinstripes

This oxymoron of pearls + silk + utilitarian-style pants is a combo I didn’t realize I needed in my wardrobe. Cute, but not too precious.

Y2k style is back, & I'm head over heels for cargo pants. I'm styling them up 5 ways (w/ pink sandals, leather jackets, silky tops & more) before I treat myself to a pair.

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08

OK, hear me out: Pinstripe blazers can totally look cool and not just like you’re on the way to a business meeting. Especially with that crop? I HAD to style it up. Pair it with a silky cami and some slingback pumps (or sneakers for comfort), and it’s the perfect date-night fit. Kiiinda love the idea of not-so-fancy checkered Vans sneakers with a pinstripe blazer and silk cami. Oh, and by the way, I’ve had my eyes on that cami FOREVER.


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What other trends do you guys want to see styled up?

-Danielle

Oh, hey, Pinners…

Y2k style is back, & I'm head over heels for cargo pants. I'm styling them up 5 ways (w/ pink sandals, leather jackets, silky tops & more) before I treat myself to a pair.

1 COMMENT

  1. I love that you talked about how versatile and easy it is to dress up or down cargo pants. Because of that, I should look for a Y2K clothing brand with those types of pants and get at least two of them for myself. I don’t know if I am too late for the trend but I really want to spell myself how I want to if I really get interested in something, since I don’t really care about the trend ever since I was younger.

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