Streetwear Cargo Pants: Tips for Creating a Stylish Look
Cargo pants have been a streetwear staple since the 1990s, and now, over two decades later, they continue to dominate urban casualwear collections and club dance floors. While this style was once all about function, today’s streetwear cargo pants are more about form. You’ll find updated, fashion-forward cargo pants styles in an array of luxury fabrics.
If you want to add a streetwear edge to your wardrobe, cargo pants are an easy go-to base for any outfit. With their unique versatility and wearability, these streetwear pants seamlessly combine comfort and style.
Here’s our ultimate guide to streetwear cargo pants, including tips on how to style your outfit to keep pace with the latest trends.
The Origins of Streetwear
Streetwear is a distinctive style of fashion that began with Californian skate culture and includes elements of hip-hop and high fashion. While it is hard to pinpoint the birth of streetwear, most fashion historians point to the emergence of the punk rock and hip-hop cultures in the 1970s and 1980s. These trends featured “do it yourself” looks that borrowed fashion features from industrial and military uniforms and haute couture.
Unique looks became a form of expression in the alternative, anti-establishment scenes. Eventually, some of the fashion trends overflowed into surf culture, pop culture, and even mainstream culture. By the mid-1980s, streetwear was becoming a huge market. Brand names in sportswear entered the scene, and in the 1990s, the most exclusive fashion labels began following the trend during the “bling” movement.
Today, streetwear is a popular and ubiquitous fashion movement that incorporates styles from the fringes of fashion to the trendy mainstream.
How to Master Streetwear: Bottoms
If you want to create an edgy, urban look, you can choose from a variety of men’s streetwear pants styles. The top five streetwear bottoms are:
Cargo pants - Cargos are by far the best streetwear pants, both for their fashion cred and wearability. Choose classic cut cargos like UNIONBAY’s Survival Cargo Pant paired with an oversized tee-shirt layered under a hoodie for the classic cargo pants streetwear outfit.
Cargo shorts - For an urban style that can beat the summer heat, a pair of classic or wide-cut men's cargo shorts, like our Cordova Cargo Messenger Short, ticks all the right boxes. With a looser fit and generous length, these shorts fit right in with the streetwear look.
Joggers - With elastic waistbands and cuffs, joggers are another streetwear bottom staple. Many of the biggest names in fashion have released collections with luxury urban joggers in high-end fabrics like silk or even leather. Cargo-style joggers are also a growing trend in streetwear.
Oversize jeans - When in doubt with streetwear, go big. This means loose-cut jeans that channel the classic hip-hop 90’s style. Make sure you choose the right fit around the waist to avoid the “paper bag” effect. However, from the waist down, bigger is better.
Painter pants - Much of streetwear is borrowed from functional work clothes or industrial uniforms, including streetwear cargo pants and painter pants. Originally worn by working painters who appreciated the utilitarian pockets and comfortable fit, today, they are an increasingly popular streetwear style.
How to Master Streetwear: Tops
While streetwear pants form the foundation of your urban outfit, tops offer an opportunity to really highlight your personal style. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Hoodies - The most iconic top for edgy style, the classic hoodie pairs with any bottom from streetwear cargo pants to oversize jeans. Choose a zip front or pullover style and layer it with a tee-shirt beneath and track or puffer jacket on top.
Layered t-shirt and flannel button-down - Layered looks are fundamental to streetwear style. Mix and match your collection of tops by wearing a distressed flannel button-down shirt open over a plain or printed tee-shirt.
Logo tee-shirt - As streetwear has become less DIY and more label-conscious, branded tees have become a wardrobe must. Opt for t-shirts with a prominent logo or branded design — just be sure to order a larger size for that loose streetwear fit.
Track jacket - Hip-hop stars were the first to move the tracksuit from the gym to the stage, and joggers and track jackets continue to be hot streetwear basics. Choose a style with a bold athleticwear feel or designer logo for a true urban edge.
Puffer jacket - Even streetwear needs to adapt to the seasons. So, when temperatures plummet, throw an oversize puffer jacket over your hoodie and cargo pants for a stylish look that will keep you warm.
Cargo Pants and Streetwear
Cargo pants have come a long way since they were first invented by the British Armed Forces in the 1930s. From purely functional and utilitarian, these wardrobe staples are now a streetwear superstar and come in a variety of styles and fabrics. Though cargo pants are a streetwear staple, the style remains mainstream enough to wear to work or school.
Update your wardrobe with a trendy urban edge by adding some of the fundamental bottoms and tops listed above. Then, mix and match for creative, personalized looks. Begin by browsing the streetwear cargo pants for men collection at UNIONBAY or contact us for more tips and suggestions for creating the latest streetwear styles.