As if it weren’t enough that I don’t take a proper cold shower, apparently I also routinely engage in a major fashion faux pas by wearing cargo shorts. If the Wall Street Journal — always on the bleeding edge of fashion trends — is to be believed, I could very well be destroying my marriage by wearing my bright blue cargo shorts:
Relationships around the country are being tested by cargo shorts, loosely cut shorts with large pockets sewn onto the sides. Men who love them say they’re comfortable and practical for summer. Detractors say they’ve been out of style for years, deriding them as bulky, uncool and just flat-out ugly.
I don’t give a flying fuck what the fashion industry and its aficionados think is cool when it comes to clothing. I’ve long given up on trying to be stylish and my rule is “if it feels good, wear it.” Hence I tend to wear t-shirts with a pocket on the chest and Hawaiian shirts at all times of the year and mostly jeans for pants.
When it comes to shorts I don’t have a lot of them because I generally don’t spend a lot of time outside in the summer and I can’t wear them to work (it’s bad enough I wear jeans everyday). As a result I only own one pair of bright blue cargo shorts that have some insignia on them that looks like they were aimed at surfing fans or something. If I’m going out in public in shorts then these are the pair I’ll probably be wearing. They’re comfortable and they have lots of pockets to carry things like my phone, glasses, and whatever the fuck else I need to carry. According to some folks, I should be tarred and feathered for being a middle aged man who dares to wear such an atrocity:
Around 2010, slimmer men’s shorts started to replace baggy silhouettes. By then, the backlash against cargo shorts was well under way.
Fashion guru Tim Gunn said in a 2007 interview with Reuters that cargo shorts were the least fashionable item of clothing in his closet. British tabloid Daily Express called cargo shorts “a humiliation for any man over 21 and should be sold only after proof of age has been presented.”
Leading the charge against the humble cargo shorts are the wives:
Jen Anderson, a 45-year-old freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y., said she used to tease her husband gently about his fashion choices, until he made a purchase that crossed the line: denim cargo shorts. That was “just too far,” she said.
Through what Ms. Anderson described as “strong mocking,” she convinced him to return the shorts. She said she doesn’t like the idea of being seen in public with her husband when he’s wearing cargo shorts, which make him look like “a misshapen lump.”
“It’s a reflection on me, like ‘How did she let him out the door like that?’ ” she said.
I’m fortunate that my wife is more concerned with my happiness than my fashion sense. Honestly, I think she’s happy if what I’m wearing only has one hole in it someplace (some of those Hawaiian shirts are getting pretty tattered). The WSJ article I linked to above talks about a number of wives who are throwing away or donating their husband’s cargo shorts when they’re not around which seems like a pretty duplicitous thing for a wife to do.
Besides, fashion tends to be cyclical. It won’t be too long before cargo shorts are all the rage again. The damned things have been around since the 1940s. Bell bottom pants made a brief comeback in 2014 that made absolutely no sense to me having had to live through them in the 1970s. If there’s one silver lining to the current backlash against cargo shorts it’s that it appears to make them relatively cheap so I think I may have to add a couple more pairs to my wardrobe.