How to Style Cargo Pants Men in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

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how to style cargo pants men

Popular Ways to Style Cargo Pants for Men in the 2020s

Casual and Cool: Pairing Cargo Pants with a T-Shirt and Sneakers

One of the most popular ways to style cargo pants for men in the 2020s is by creating a casual and cool outfit. Start by choosing a pair of slim-fit cargo pants in a neutral color like khaki or olive green. Pair them with a fitted t-shirt in a complementary color, such as white or black. This creates a balanced look that is both comfortable and stylish.

To complete the outfit, add a pair of sneakers. Opt for classic white sneakers for a clean and minimalist look, or choose sneakers with bold colors or patterns to add some personality to your outfit. Finish off the look with some simple accessories like a watch or sunglasses.


  • Choose cargo pants with streamlined pockets for a more modern and sleek appearance.
  • Experiment with different t-shirt styles, such as longline tees or graphic tees, to add variety to your outfits.
  • Consider rolling up the cuffs of your cargo pants slightly for an extra touch of style.

Elevated Casual: Dressing Up Cargo Pants with a Button-Up Shirt

If you want to take your cargo pants outfit up a notch while still maintaining a casual vibe, try pairing them with a button-up shirt. Opt for a well-fitted shirt in a solid color or subtle pattern, such as gingham or plaid. Tuck it into your cargo pants for a polished look.

To keep the outfit balanced, choose footwear that is slightly dressier than sneakers. Loafers or boat shoes work well for this style. Add a belt that matches your shoes to tie the look together. You can also layer a lightweight jacket or blazer over the button-up shirt for a more sophisticated touch.


  • Choose cargo pants in a slim or tapered fit to create a more tailored and refined appearance.
  • Experiment with different patterns and textures for your button-up shirt to add visual interest to the outfit.
  • Consider rolling up the sleeves of your button-up shirt for a relaxed and effortless look.

Incorporating Cargo Pants into a Casual, Everyday Outfit for Men

Pairing Cargo Pants with a Basic T-Shirt

When it comes to creating a casual, everyday outfit with cargo pants, one of the easiest options is to pair them with a basic t-shirt. Opt for a neutral-colored t-shirt, such as white, black, or gray, to keep the focus on the cargo pants. This combination creates a laid-back and effortless look that is perfect for running errands or hanging out with friends.


  • Choose cargo pants in a slim or tapered fit to avoid looking too bulky.
  • Roll up the cuffs of the cargo pants for an added touch of style.
  • Add sneakers or loafers to complete the casual vibe.

Layering with a Denim Jacket

To elevate your casual outfit featuring cargo pants, consider layering with a denim jacket. The combination of cargo pants and a denim jacket adds depth and dimension to your overall look. Opt for a light wash denim jacket for a more relaxed feel or go for a darker wash if you want to create contrast.


  • Wear a plain white t-shirt underneath the denim jacket for a classic and timeless look.
  • Add some accessories like sunglasses or a beanie to enhance your outfit.
  • Complete the ensemble with sneakers or boots depending on the occasion.

Footwear Options that Pair Well with Men’s Cargo Pants

Sneakers: Classic and Versatile

Sneakers are an excellent choice when it comes to pairing footwear with men’s cargo pants. They offer comfort, style, and versatility. Opt for classic white sneakers for a clean and minimalist look or experiment with bold colors or patterns to add a pop of personality to your outfit.


  • High-top sneakers can add an edgy touch to your ensemble.
  • Consider matching the color of your sneakers with other elements in your outfit, such as a hat or accessories.
  • Choose sneakers with contrasting laces for added visual interest.

Boots: Rugged and Stylish

If you’re looking to create a more rugged and stylish outfit, consider pairing your cargo pants with boots. Whether it’s leather boots, Chelsea boots, or combat boots, they can instantly elevate the overall aesthetic of your look. Opt for neutral-colored boots like brown or black for a versatile option that can be worn with various outfits.


  • Tuck the hem of your cargo pants into the boots for a sleek and polished appearance.
  • Add a leather belt that matches the color of your boots to tie the whole look together.
  • Experiment with different boot styles to find the one that suits your personal style best.

Fashion Rules and Guidelines for Styling Men’s Cargo Pants

When it comes to styling men’s cargo pants, there are a few fashion rules and guidelines to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to choose the right fit. Opt for cargo pants that are slim or tapered rather than baggy, as this will create a more modern and streamlined look. Pair them with a fitted t-shirt or button-down shirt to balance out the relaxed nature of the pants.

Another key rule is to avoid overloading the pockets of your cargo pants. While they may have plenty of storage space, stuffing them with too many items can create a bulky and unflattering appearance. Instead, choose one or two essential items to carry in the pockets and leave the rest empty.

Choosing the Right Footwear

The choice of footwear can greatly impact how cargo pants look. For a casual and laid-back vibe, sneakers or loafers work well. If you’re aiming for a slightly dressier look, opt for leather boots or even brogues. Just make sure that the shoes complement the overall style you’re going for.

Accessorizing with Belts

A belt can be a great accessory when styling men’s cargo pants. It not only adds an extra element of style but also helps to define your waistline if you’re wearing looser-fitting cargos. Choose a belt that matches your shoes or other accessories for a cohesive look.

Dressing Up Cargo Pants for Formal Occasions: How to Do It Right

Cargo pants are typically associated with casual wear, but with some careful styling choices, they can be dressed up for formal occasions as well. The key is to focus on creating a polished and put-together outfit while still incorporating the utilitarian aesthetic of cargo pants.

Start by choosing a pair of cargo pants in a sleek and tailored fit. Opt for darker colors like black or navy, as they tend to look more formal. Pair them with a crisp button-down shirt and a blazer for a sophisticated look. Make sure the shirt is tucked in and add a belt to further elevate the outfit.

Choosing the Right Accessories

Accessories play an important role in dressing up cargo pants for formal occasions. Consider adding a tie or pocket square that complements the color scheme of your outfit. A stylish watch and polished dress shoes can also enhance the overall formal appearance.

Experimenting with Different Fabrics

To give your cargo pants a more formal touch, consider opting for pairs made from different fabrics such as wool or twill instead of traditional cotton. These materials have a dressier feel and can instantly elevate your outfit.

Trendy Accessories to Enhance the Look of Men’s Cargo Pants

When it comes to enhancing the look of men’s cargo pants, trendy accessories can make all the difference. They not only add style but also allow you to personalize your outfit and make it unique to your taste.

One trendy accessory that works well with cargo pants is a statement belt. Choose one with interesting buckle details or unique textures to draw attention to your waistline. Another accessory that can enhance the look is a stylish backpack or sling bag, which adds functionality while also complementing the utilitarian vibe of cargo pants.

Adding Layers with Scarves

In colder weather, adding layers with scarves can be both fashionable and practical when styling men’s cargo pants. Opt for chunky knit scarves or patterned ones that add visual interest to your outfit. Drape the scarf around your neck or experiment with different tying techniques to create a stylish and cozy look.

Statement Socks for a Pop of Color

If you want to add a pop of color to your outfit, statement socks are a great choice. Opt for bold patterns or vibrant hues that contrast with the color of your cargo pants. This small detail can make a big impact and show off your personal style.

Creating a Streetwear-Inspired Outfit Using Cargo Pants as a Base

Cargo pants are often associated with streetwear fashion due to their relaxed and utilitarian nature. To create a streetwear-inspired outfit using cargo pants as a base, it’s important to focus on incorporating trendy and urban elements into your overall look.

Start by choosing cargo pants in a loose or baggy fit for an authentic streetwear vibe. Pair them with oversized t-shirts or hoodies featuring bold graphics or logos. Layering is key in streetwear, so consider adding an open flannel shirt or bomber jacket on top.

Sneakers: The Go-To Footwear

Sneakers are the go-to footwear when it comes to creating a streetwear-inspired outfit with cargo pants. Opt for chunky sneakers in bold colors or unique designs that make a statement. High-top sneakers can also add an extra edge to your look.

Accessorizing with Baseball Caps

To complete the streetwear aesthetic, accessorize your outfit with a baseball cap. Choose one that matches the color scheme of your outfit or features an embroidered logo or graphic that adds visual interest. Wearing the cap backwards or slightly tilted can further enhance the urban feel.

Color Combinations that Work Best with Men’s Cargo Pants

Choosing the right color combinations can greatly enhance the look of men’s cargo pants. While neutral colors like black, khaki, and olive are classic choices, there are several other color combinations that work well with this versatile piece of clothing.

A monochromatic look is a stylish option when styling cargo pants. Pairing different shades of the same color creates a cohesive and sophisticated outfit. For example, combining different shades of blue or gray can result in a visually pleasing ensemble.

Contrasting Colors for Visual Interest

To create visual interest, consider pairing your cargo pants with contrasting colors. For instance, if you’re wearing khaki cargo pants, try pairing them with a navy blue shirt or sweater. The contrast between the two colors adds depth to your outfit and makes it more visually appealing.

Color Blocking with Bright Hues

If you want to make a bold statement, experiment with color blocking by pairing your cargo pants with bright hues. For example, pair olive green cargo pants with a vibrant red t-shirt or yellow hoodie. This combination creates a striking and eye-catching look that is sure to turn heads.

Alternative Options to Traditional Cargo Pants for a Utilitarian Aesthetic in Men’s Outfits

If you’re looking for alternative options to traditional cargo pants while still embracing the utilitarian aesthetic in men’s outfits, there are several stylish alternatives to consider.

Cargo shorts are a popular choice for warmer weather. They offer the same functionality as cargo pants but provide more breathability and comfort. Pair them with a simple t-shirt and sneakers for a casual yet practical outfit.

Utility Vests: Functional and Fashionable

Utility vests are another alternative that can add a utilitarian touch to your outfit. These vests often feature multiple pockets and can be worn over a t-shirt or layered with a jacket. Opt for neutral colors like khaki or olive for a classic utilitarian look.

Cargo Joggers for a Modern Twist

If you prefer a more modern and streamlined silhouette, cargo joggers are an excellent choice. These pants combine the comfort of joggers with the functionality of cargo pants. Pair them with a fitted sweatshirt or hoodie for a stylish and comfortable outfit.

Experimenting with Different Fits and Silhouettes When Styling Men’s Cargo Pants

When it comes to styling men’s cargo pants, experimenting with different fits and silhouettes can help create unique and personalized outfits. While slim or tapered fits are popular choices, there are other options to consider as well.

Oversized cargo pants have gained popularity in recent years due to their relaxed and streetwear-inspired look. Pair them with oversized t-shirts or hoodies for a trendy and comfortable outfit. Roll up the cuffs of the pants slightly to add some structure to the overall silhouette.

Cropped Cargo Pants for a Contemporary Look

Cropped cargo pants offer a contemporary twist on this classic style. The shorter length adds visual interest and allows you to showcase your footwear. Pair them with low-top sneakers or sandals during warmer months, or opt for ankle boots in colder weather.

Tapered Cargo Pants: A Versatile Choice

Tapered cargo pants strike a balance between slim-fit styles and looser-fitting ones. They provide a more tailored look while still maintaining the functionality of traditional cargo pants. Pair them with fitted shirts or sweaters for a polished yet casual outfit.

In conclusion, men can easily style cargo pants by pairing them with a fitted shirt and sneakers for a casual look or dressing them up with a button-down shirt and boots for a more polished appearance. The versatility of cargo pants makes them a practical and fashionable choice for any wardrobe.

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