Khaki Malarkey: Where to find cargo pants that don’t cost a fortune
On the podcast this spring, Lucinda Chambers told me that cargo pants could be considered her signature piece, and that she has dedicated her life to finding the perfect pair. Well, I think I’ve come pretty close to finding pant perfection myself. These Khaki Malarkey cargo pants, bought last year from US workwear brand Stan Ray (M65 Cargo Pant in Drab Olive) are regularly on parade. My Stan Rays cost over a £100 but they are good for year-round manoeuvres and designed to be durable; meaning, I won’t be buying another pair anytime soon. The best place to find cargos that don’t cost a fortune is to look for army surplus at local markets, proper vintage shops, or on re-sale sites like Depop, Etsy (Ham Yard Vintage has some HERE and there’s a British army issue pair HERE) eBay. As a general pointer, I like an M59 Swedish cut or M65 American cut, in classic earthy colours, like khaki green, beige and navy.
Cargo pants can be worn in a Casually Glamorous way. I’m more casual than glamorous in the first photo, this is how I wear utility pants at the weekend, when working from home or going for a relaxed Business Coffee. Adding a blazer, a silk shirt and heeled ankle boots or brogues, creates an outfit ready for everyday action.
For surplus-inspired style: Mango’s ‘cargo jeans’ in stretch cotton are available in four different colours and have a slim-leg shape, while Urban Outfitters has a couple of slouchier pairs available HERE and HERE. Other non-military cargos can be found at Baukjen, the brand’s Finn trousers are perennially popular, and Mint Velvet’s khaki utility tapered trousers come in three lengths (short, regular and long). Home of monastic, pared-down cool, Arket has chic, wool/cashmere navy cargo pants HERE and an army green viscose satin style HERE. My assistant, Helen, recently turned up in this streamlined pair from Zara, with a slightly higher fit on the waist and a slimmer leg, made from 100% ecologically sourced cotton. For a slim leg shape without the side pockets, J.Crew’s vintage straight, garment -dyed, stretch chino or Boden’s Richmond trousers in Broad Bean should do the trick.
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