polo eyeglasses Maligned cargo shorts are now a relationship issue
Many women say they’re “out,” while men say they’re “in.” You either love them or hate them. There is no middle ground.
We’re talking about cargo shorts. And judging from the national media, apparently so is everyone else.
Yet despite what seems like a national campaign to rid America’s closets of the clothing item that may be more pockets than pants, they’re as common in South Jersey in the summer as gulls on the boardwalk.
An Aug. 1 Wall Street Journal story zeroed in on the baggy shorts as a central issue in relationships. Wives and girlfriends confessed to hiding or throwing out their significant others’ cargo shorts, only to often find them somehow back. According to a market research firm quoted in the story, sales of cargo shorts fell last year for the first time in a decade, but about $700 million worth were still sold.
So why do the shorts cause so much friction in relationships?
Many women simply find the bulky, oversized style ugly. But the men wearing cargo shorts have a simple, overpowering reason for keeping them in their wardrobe: They just don’t care what they look like.
It’s pretty hard to win a fashion argument with someone armed with that attitude and enough room to carry half their possessions.
Even National Public Radio took notice of this love hate cargo phenomenon. An Aug. 3 Morning Edition segment references Craig Ferguson discussing cargo shorts with Matthew McConaughey on “The Late Late Show” in 2014 in which Ferguson says, “Who are you trying to kid, man? You’re not doing any maintenance. You don’t need pockets for tools.”
In a recent informal survey in Atlantic City, where a large portion of the summer population is made up of visitors, the shorts were ubiquitous. The men wearing them may not have actually been carrying tools, but they were traveling with a lot of electronics.
“I keep my phone and wallet in the lower pockets. There’s a pocket for everything,” said Al Mortensen, of Staten Island, New York. “I even have pants like this. It’s convenient. It’s a little safer to keep things in the other pockets. I didn’t want one of those fanny packs!”
Michael Toub, of Philadelphia, shared a similar concern for electronics and dignity.
“It makes me mad that more manufacturers don’t make device friendly designs. I used to have dress pants with interior cargos for work and my last pair got trashed,” he said. “I have my iPod, iPhone, and I’m middle aged now and wear glasses. I don’t want to hang glasses or sunglasses on my shirt like a goofball. I refuse to carry a murse. No murse,” he said, referring to a “man’s purse.”
The female opinion generally carries a different tune. Cindy Guzman, of Atlantic City, didn’t sugar coat the garment’s fashion deficit.
“I personally don’t think it’s cute. It’s not fashionable at all. But the style in this area is very casual, and for a lot of guys I think it’s just easy to throw them on,” she said. “All I know for sure is my boyfriend doesn’t have any,” she said.
Angela Davenport, of San Diego, has a much more forgiving opinion. “I feel that beauty is from within, so when I look at a man, I don’t care what he’s wearing,” she said. “I’m interested in his mind and heart, and he could be wearing a potato sack.”
Justin Lee, of New York, said that as a traveler, you can’t be too careful.
“I’m a big fan of them. I carry a lot of stuff. For instance, battery chargers. You’re not going to put that in a back pocket. I always have gum, lip balm, whatever. I don’t carry a wallet because I don’t believe in them. Wallets you lose,” he said. “I keep what I need wrapped in a hair tie in a pocket. And you don’t want to keep it in your back pocket, A, you’ll get pick pocketed. B, it doesn’t feel great on your butt.”
Lee said he’s heard rumblings that cargo shorts have fallen out of style, but he had an argument ready for that.
“I saw a Facebook article about how they’re ‘out,’ but I was thinking, ‘What are you talking about? I’ll wear them for the rest of my life,'” he said. “And good brands are making them, like these are by Polo (Ralph Lauren). I’m not here for sophistication. I’m here to be comfortable.”
So, ladies, you can argue against them all day, but if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the main arguments for cargo shorts comes down to utility, safety and manliness. All of which are very difficult to argue against.