Men's Cargo Pants Turn Refined for Spring
MIKE TROIANO NEEDED to get something off his chest, and he went to social media to do it. In a recent Instagram post, the CMO of Waltham, Mass.-based tech company Actifio announced to the world, with a mix of liberation and mourning: 'Retiring Bigass Suburban Dad Cargo Shorts. Godspeed, old friend. #itssohardtosaygoodbye.' The accompanying photo showed a forlorn and weathered pair of olive cargo shorts. The pockets sagged like old skin, clearly distressed from years of carrying, as Mr. Troiano told me, 'anything smaller than a toaster.'
Like many men, myself included, Mr. Troiano, 47, responded to the cargo craze of the 1990s, when the military-inspired shorts and pants were introduced as casual wear for civilians. Cut above the knee, they were 'the manliest shorts out there,' Mr. Troiano said. As pants, they were rough, tough and workable for carpenters, adventurers and ordinary men who just needed to carry more stuff.
At some point, however, Mr. Troiano decided the baggy cargo look was no longer appropriate. They were a 'stage-of-life' pant, he said, and he was well beyond his undergraduate days. His reaction isn't entirely uncommon-particularly among men who associate the look with sloppy collegiate bros burdened by bloated pockets.
But there may be life in those pockets yet. 'If you asked us if cargo pants were stylish just a few seasons back, we would have answered with a resounding, 'No,' ' wrote the editors at Esquire on the magazine's site in 2012. In the next sentence, however, they confessed to changing their tune. As well they should: In the past couple of years, the cargo has experienced a complete reputation rehab to become one of the most stylish and versatile go-to pieces of a man's wardrobe.
This spring you can find debonair cargo pants from labels like Michael Bastian, Todd Snyder, Ovadia & Sons, Balmain and Michael Kors. Even Dockers, which reported that its sales of cargoes have grown in the past year, this spring introduced a trimmer and more stylish pair, called the Alpha Slim-Fit Cargo.
These new styles have evolved greatly from the original '90s cargo, which had a Rambo-in-Passaic look. 'These aren't college-fit cargoes that are baggy and beyond,' said Michael Kors. 'Ours are polished with a cleaner fit. I wear cargoes all the time.'
Mr. Kors's version is slender and comfortable with real New York attitude. It has the crisp lines of a chino with a great deal more visual appeal. With four smooth zippered pockets, these cargoes are a slap in the face to the bulkiness of the past, and pickpockets of the future.
American designer Michael Bastian has included cargoes in his collection since his first spring season in 2007. Mr. Bastian's spring cargo pant, pictured at right, is softened up, with slim legs and neater, flatter pockets. They could replace your linen slacks for a languorous soiree on the beach, but they're polished enough for a smart weekend in the city or even a summer Friday at the office. 'I think [the cargo] is the one pant that falls directly in that spot between jeans and chinos,' said Mr. Bastian. '[It's] a little more dressed up than a jean and a little more special than an ordinary chino. It covers a lot of ground.'
He said he wears corduroy cargoes for much of the year; in winter, they're heavier and blended with cashmere; in summer, they're lighter weight and off-white. 'Pair [cargoes] with a very tailored blazer,' he advised, 'and you're well-dressed enough for anything.' Seeing the designer's signature cargo look-rolled to the ankle and paired with a soft-shouldered blazer, shirt and tie-is enough to banish any frat-boy associations you ever had.
One association designers would do well to hang onto is cargoes' connection to military history, which lends them a cool, rugged appeal. 'Cargo pants' longevity is all about their utilitarianism,' said American designer Todd Snyder, whose resume includes stints at Gap, J.Crew and Polo Ralph Lauren dating back to 1992, and who shares Mr. Cucinelli's fondness for pairing cargo pants with a sport coat. 'That functionality endures over time.' Mr. Snyder's olive-hued Infantry Cargo pants, shown above, have slim modern lines but also a historical military feel: You can almost see them on Alec Guinness in 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' or in a 'Downton Abbey' war scene.
Adhering even closer to the style's military roots, Rag & Bone designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville collaborated this spring with Crye Precision, manufacturers of modern-day combat apparel, to create their Precision Pants. With inverted pleat pockets on both leg fronts and backs, the trousers are severely stylized. The collaboration, said Mr. Wainwright, telegraphs that their cargoes are 'all about vintage and authentic military clothing,' cutting to the heart of men's appreciation for the look.
But loving cargo pants doesn't necessarily mean that you're one step away from re-enacting the Battle of the Bulge on the weekends. There's something purely aesthetic in the power of the pocket. 'It gives the pants just a little extra interest, rather than just a regular flat-front trouser,' said Bruce Pask, men's fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman.
And so what started as a utilitarian pant and advertisement for masculinity, has morphed into an endlessly interpreted design staple. Will the cargo ever go away? Avowed cargo enthusiast Alex Kasavin certainly doesn't think so. Mr. Kasavin, a co-owner of Brooklyn menswear shop IDOL, sees only continued evolution. A designer's sensibility can come through even when he works within the conventions of cargo pants, Mr. Kasavin said. 'It's still a cargo, but it's also clearly that designer's pant.' At his store, he is selling the Matrix-like 'Memphis' pants from Rick Owens's Drkshdw label. He also admires styles from other designers, such as Balmain.
These days, cargo pants speak across cultures, from hip-hop to hipster, beach front to board room. With all these options, I thought, surely I can coax Suburban Dad Mr. Troiano back into the cargo-pant fold.
First, I asked if he would look at some images of the futuristic cargo pants by Rick Owens. He fell silent. It was the silence of countless of us dads who have passed Brooklyn hipster viability. Next, I asked him to look at Todd Snyder's work. 'That's a nice pant,' he said, '[It's] a classic look.' 'How so?' I asked. 'Like Otis Day's 'Shout' classic,' he said, 'everyone loves that song!' Yes, I thought, in their own ways, everyone loves these pants.
But you can't talk about the new generation of high-end, designer-refined cargo pants without mentioning Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli, BC.MI -0.20% who has done more than his share to impart an air of luxury and casual sophistication to the pants. Something of a fashion fortune teller, Mr. Cucinelli has produced a more dapper cargo pant since 1998. 'There is something youthful and practical about them which keeps a man looking modern and comfortable,' said Mr. Cucinelli. 'They've become part of my uniform.'
THAT'S DEBATABLE | Should I actually carry anything in my cargo pockets?
Crazy as it sounds, 'utilitarian' fashion can actually be useful, contends the pro-stash camp. 'You can carry everything in your pockets,' said Alex Kasavin, co-owner of Brooklyn store IDOL. American designer Todd Snyder takes a more conservative approach-restricting the actual cargo to slim and essential objects. 'You can carry your phone and passport,' said Mr. Snyder. 'But nothing bulky.'
Since one crucial element of the revamped designer cargo is sleeker pockets, keeping them empty or near-empty makes sense. 'You don't want to end up looking like a pack mule,' said Michael Kors. But if you must, he allowed: 'Just a slim credit card or wallet.' Bergdorf Goodman men's fashion director Bruce Pask always keeps his cargo pockets clean, with one exception-those days when he's on location for a photo shoot.
Some feel it's a matter of choice. 'That's a very personal question,' said Rag & Bone designer Marcus Wainwright. 'I'm not going to determine that for anybody.'
不过这种裤子或许还有一定的生命力。《时尚先生》(Esquire)杂志编辑2012年在其网站上写道：“如果几年前你问我们工装裤是不是时髦，我们的回答肯定是否。”但是在接下来那句话中，他们却承认他们的态度正在改变。他们确实也应该改变：这几年来，工装裤经历了一次彻底的名誉修复，成为了男士衣橱里最时尚也最百搭的单品之一。 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com
今年春季，你能找到来自迈克尔·巴斯蒂安(Michael Bastian)、托德·斯奈德(Todd Snyder)、Ovadia & Sons、巴尔曼(Balmain)以及迈克尔·科斯(Michael Kors)等品牌的优雅工装裤。就连Dockers今年春季都推出了一款更时尚的修身工装裤，名为“阿尔法修身工装裤”(Alpha Slim-Fit Cargo)。据报道，Dockers去年工装裤的销量有所增长。
设计师仍然很坚持的一点是工装裤和军服之间的联系，这种联系让工装裤有了一种很酷的粗犷的吸引力。美国设计师托德·斯奈德(Todd Snyder)说：“‘工装裤’的长盛不衰在于它的实用主义。”自1992年起，斯奈德陆续在盖璞(Gap)、J.Crew和拉夫·劳伦(Polo Ralph Lauren)供职。他和库奇内利一样，都喜欢将工装裤和轻便上衣搭配。他说：“那种功用性是历久常新的。”上图中斯奈德设计的橄榄色步兵工装裤有着修长的现代线条，同时也有军装的历史感：《桂河大桥》(The Bridge on the River Kwai)中的亚历克·吉尼斯(Alec Guinness)身上或者《唐顿庄园》(Downton Abbey)中的战争场景中就有这种裤子的影子。
今年春季，瑞格布恩(Rag & Bone)设计师马库斯·温赖特(Marcus Wainwright)及大卫·内维尔(David Neville)与现代军服制造商Crye Precision联合推出了Precision Pants，将工装裤与军服的渊源体现得更淋漓尽致。这款裤子前后都有暗?袋，风格化十足。温赖特说，这次合作的工装裤“就是对老式的真正的军服的演绎”，完全颠覆了男士们对这种款式的审美。
但爱穿工装裤并不一定意味着你周末穿上工装裤会让突出部之役(Battle of the Bulge)重新上演。工装裤的口袋有着很纯粹的美感。波道夫·古德曼精品百货店(Bergdorf Goodman)男装总监布鲁斯·派斯克(Bruce Pask)说：“口袋让裤子多了有趣的元素，让它不再是一条平淡无奇的裤子了。”
于是，最开始主打男子汉气概的实用工装裤演变成了有无数种解读的设计单品。工装裤会不会淡出时尚舞台？酷爱工装裤的亚历克斯·卡萨文(Alex Kasavin)肯定不会这么认为。卡萨文是布鲁克林男装店IDOL的老板之一，他认为工装裤只会继续演化。卡萨文说，即使是按照工装裤的传统惯例设计，设计师的感觉也能体现出来。他说：“虽然还是工装裤，但也很明显带有设计师的风格。”他的店里卖的是瑞克·欧文斯(Rick Owens)旗下Drkshdw品牌的工装裤，《黑客帝国》(Matrix)里孟菲斯(Memphis)的那种款式。他也喜欢巴尔曼等其他设计师的款式。