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Women's Cargo Pants - The History Of Women's Cargo Pants

women’s style war pockets

As one of many pant styles, women’s cargo pants have evolved from the merely useful to the ultra fashionable. While still the basis of military training and combat wear for male and female service personnel, the cargo style has proven to be wearable in everyday life for a variety of reasons.

Women’s cargo pants came from not-so-humble beginnings. Cargos were first developed as part of a military dress uniform for British soldiers around the late 1930’s. Made of a heavy duty fabric, they sported a large patch pocket on the side of the thigh and front of the leg. Firm top-stitching and rugged details rendered the cargo pant battle ready. America adopted the style a short time later for Air Force pilots, since the extra large pockets on the side made it easy to reach their gear. The cockpit of an airplane didn’t allow much room for necessities and the pants pockets were able to provide the soldier with room for ammunition and personal comfort items.

Cargo pants remained the province of the military through the World War II years, fashioned in camouflage fabric as well as khaki. The Second World War was as heavily a ground war as an air war, with factories employing “Rosie the Riveter” to weld, machine and stitch supplies of every type to aid the war effort. Women began wearing cargo pants themselves due to the “unfeminine” stance a female would have to adopt to weld or rivet a tank. And the baggy style of the pant was suitable for covering women’s curves. Although pants of any type were still not accepted day wear for ladies, the cargo pant was enormously popular in the factory.

As pants became more common women’s wear in the 1960’s, and jeans became the uniform of choice for the non-conformist, men and women alike wore jeans, carpenter’s pants and cargo pants as the linchpin of anti-establishment protest fashion. Cargos were made from denim and defined the wearer as being sympathetic with the working class man. Pockets previously only on one leg had multiplied to both legs, including a larger, flapped patch on the lower leg rather than on the thigh. The rear pockets also grew in size.

Finally, pants became acceptable not only as day wear for women, but a staple in the office. Pant suits gained popularity and great style in the 1980’s as the glass ceiling became the final frontier for the working woman. Is it any wonder that the serviceable cargo pant took it’s rightful place in fashion? Manufactured in ever more luxurious fabrics, this formerly anti-establishment symbol became a symbol of prosperity. Featuring many different additions like button tabbed ankles, or a drawstring waist, they had made it to the top.

Today women’s cargo pants are shown on couture runways and aircraft carrier runways. Made in a skinny style from denim and other woven fabrics, women’s cargo pants are ultra chic. Baggier styles are also widely available in silkier fabrics. The cargo pant has also become one of the most popular shorts styles as well. Although still usable, the pockets on women’s cargo pants have shrunk somewhat to serve as a design detail rather than an actual necessity. And camouflage is no longer merely green, even in the military. With women serving their country world-wide, camouflage is printed to suit the environment, including the desert. A woman can choose cargo pants in decidedly un-military shades of red, orange and pink.

From the Battle of Britain to the newest nightclub to the boardwalk, this distinctive style has evolved with history. The fashion forecast looks good and so do modern women in fashionable, functional cargo pants.

Women's Cargo Shorts - Finding Great Women’s Cargo Shorts for Your Style [next] [back] Women's Bomber Jacket - A Women's Bomber Jacket Equals Style

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