There’s a joke in Amy Schumer’s new book about pairing knee-length jean shorts with a Tasmanian Devil t-shirt for a trip to an amusement park in the early ‘90s because she “knew what’s up” that hit pretty close to home. I.e., I am grateful the only proof Amy and I have this ensemble in common – and, boy, do we ever – sits in a shoebox along with all other remaining visual evidence of my childhood in the guest room closet at my mother’s house.
The former, of course, is why I am, to this day, a huge proponent of capri pants – see, there’s a very specific length of shorts I deem acceptable. Anything shorter than that is booty – and we can cue the Snoop Dogg and all that ass hanging out – and anything longer might as well be mom jeans. So few brands get it right, I more or less gave up.
But we’re not here to talk about me, are we?
‘Bulky, Uncool and Just Flat-Out Ugly’
No, I’m not quoting my Tinder profile…
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal published a story about how much women hate cargo shorts and how dearly men cling to them as their last vestiges of freedom and/or youth.
The WSJ piece, while maintaining neutrality, not only referred to detractors who cite them as “bulky, uncool and just flat-out ugly,” it ALSO included a seemingly serious survey of the entire world history of cargo shorts – Fun Fact: They are descendants of cargo PANTS. Learn something new every day, don’t you? — with a nod, naturally, to one-time teen retail mecca Abercrombie & Fitch and this gem of a quote about the men who wear cargo shorts:
They don’t evolve.
And that, guys, was said by a man who wrote his PhD THESIS on cargo pants, so he, like Schumer and I, knows what’s up. And y’all are going extinct unless you 86 those shorts, mmmkay?
And, as if that wasn’t enough, the provocative WSJ story also included this helpful illustration that clothes are more expensive at luxury department stores than discount retailers:
At Walmart, a pair can be bought for $8.50, while Neiman Marcus sells linen cargo shorts for $995 a pair.
I think I finally understand the difference. You?
So…I know summer is winding down, SEOs, and you’ve been waiting for bated breath to get WTFSEO’s official take on this divisive issue and know once and for all whether you can continue wearing cargo shorts through Labor Day weekend. (I assume, of course, that you already know seersucker is unacceptable thereafter.)
And, of course, insert joke here about how women are always late, amIright?
But we also, of course, know everything about clothes. Because what else is there to think about besides SEO and boys and makeup and shoes and Scandal?
So, to kick things off, here’s your first fashion tip, SEOs:
I don’t care what kind of shorts you buy, if you spent $1000 on them, YOU SPENT TOO MUCH.
I honestly think the answer to many – if not most – things in life is balance. Cargo shorts are no exception.
Although, hey, if you have $1000 to blow on a single pair of shorts, more power to you, I guess. At the same time, $1000 cargo shorts sort of contradict that footloose and fancy-free college boy aura they have about them, don’t they? Perhaps Judd Apatow is the only one buying cargo shorts at Neiman Marcus. I feel like Kim wouldn’t let Kanye…
You don’t understand us. The comfort! The draw string! The pockets! The draw string! We can pretend we’re not fat. https://t.co/SbaXwvce48
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) August 3, 2016
Content Begets Content
In a follow-up on August 6, a thoroughly pleased Nicole Hong apologized – to the WORLD, no less – for “igniting the Cargo Shorts Wars of 2016” before proudly showcasing the follow-on content her story inspired. Content that begets content! It doesn’t get much better than that, does it, content marketers?
However…we were actually debating cargo shorts before Hong took a break from her court beat. (Although, to be fair, she DID inspire casual clothing brand Dockers to seek some real-time action with #TeamCargo. And – hey – wait a second…doesn’t this particular debate sound an awful lot like an EPISODE OF SEINFELD?)
In June, Vogue included cargo shorts among its “menswear crimes to avoid this summer.” And BuzzFeed railed against them almost exactly a year ago while Redditers sought answers from women. And, this, naturally, was followed by some cargo-shorts-specific advice from GQ.
So this is clearly an issue that begs for our input, too — and not just because Internet Slang Dictionary defines WTFSEO as a “a bunch of slovenly dudes.”
In other words, I hear you, men/SEOs. I understand that you want to carry lots of things, but don’t want a manpurse (…another Seinfeld plot point, BTW…) and that some of you may be a little insecure about wearing more form-fitting shorts. Perhaps someday, I’ll get over my aversion to booty shorts and you can slip into some tailored man shorts and we can hit the town and drop some jaws. But, until then, you do you, SEOs. You fill those pockets with cell phones and wallets and Chapstick and Slim Jims and single female SEOs’ phone numbers (but only if you, too, are single, okay?).
In short, here’s some legit fashion advice, SEOs:
Again, like anything in life, there are good cargo shorts and bad cargo shorts. Steer clear of the bad ones. You’ll be fine.
I think people who call cargo shorts the worst thing ever perhaps need a little perspective, but it seems obnoxious to mention genocide or childhood cancer in this context.
So…suffice it to say: If anyone hassles you on account of cargo shorts, refer them to either the last two paragraphs of Hong’s original story in which she discussed cyclical fashion trends – everything old is new again, right? – and/or tell them GQ eased its stance and so should they. #Burn
Hungry for more?
Here are our favorite cargo pieces for 2016:
Yes, you read that right. No, you didn’t die and go to heaven.
Fully clothed? Check.
Pockets galore? Check.
Jealous, ladies? I found a pair for you, too.
And, fellas, if your woman STILL won’t stop about your shorts, teach her a valuable lesson with these Heavy Duty Cargo Work Trousers with Kneepads.
Trust me. She’ll never complain again.
And might we suggest completing your cargo-themed get-up by pairing your shorts with a Backyard Safari Cargo Vest?
More pockets = more adventure.
Think cargo shorts can’t be dressy? Think again. Just look at these MC-Hammer-inspired combination Cargo Gaucho Crop Pants.
Annnd…we maybe saved the best for last with this Cargo Kilt.
Yes, it exists IRL.