Barry Saunders

These cargo shorts may lack style, but they’re useful – Saunders

Cheer up, ladies. There are more summer days behind us than ahead of us, which means it won’t be long before men will mothball – until next year – the one garment of theirs you deplore more than any other.

That’s right: cargo shorts.

Judging by the number of words dedicated to the topic, this has been the summer of women’s discontent. There’ve been many screeds against cargo shorts, which some consider the most polarizing garment any man can wear.

A writer for Business Insider, an online magazine, wrote, “Cargo pocketed shorts are the single worst item a man can wear in spring and summer. Yes, we’re willing to go that far. We feel that strongly about it.”

And that was written by a dude. He’s obviously never seen those skinny jeans hipsters favor.

Decorum and my editor prevent me from repeating what some women have said about them – and certainly not what the aging hippie in a tie-dyed T-shirt and cargo shorts said to me this week when I asked whether his wife was cool with his ensemble. Over the past month, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and just about every other media outlet with a fashion arbiter has sounded the death knell for the full-cut short pants with pockets on the thighs.

Cargo shorts are the summertime equivalent of Crocs and sweatpants, a sartorial combination which – when you see them being worn – you know the wearer has given up on trying to be cool or even appropriate. There are few men who can pull off wearing a pair of cargo shorts and make them work. I mean, you’d have to be Steve McQueen cool to really make them work for you, but really, can you even imagine McQueen wearing cargo shorts?

Cargo shorts are the summertime equivalent of Crocs and sweatpants, a sartorial combination which – when you see them being worn – you know the wearer has given up on trying to be cool or even appropriate.

There are no human beings who can pull off wearing Crocs.

The Journal, citing a report from the market research firm NPD, contends that the waning popularity of cargo shorts is evidenced by the fact that the sale of them has dropped for the first time in 10 years. ’Tain’t necessarily so, though. That could just mean that everyone who is going to wear them has already bought them, and those bad boys are pretty near indestructible.

Despite being considered a fashion faux pas, there are times when the utilitarian design of cargo shorts comes in handy, times when you can justifiably sacrifice style for utility. To wit: when storing candy.

When you’re going to the movies and don’t want to pay $15 for a box of Jujubes and Mike & Ikes, you can go to the general store next door, load up on the same confectioneries for a dollar each, and stuff them into the thigh pockets of your cargo shorts. The theater ticket taker will know what’s up by the rectangular bulges in your thighs, but they’ve probably already been instructed to not mess with anyone wearing cargo shorts. There’s no telling what such a person will do.

There are, however, no occasions, fellas, where flip flops are appropriate outside of on the beach. I say that as a man who, by universal acclaim, has some of the prettiest, most classically formed toes you’d ever want to see – and even I don’t want to see them.

You’ll never see me wearing flip flops unless the ocean is 10 feet away.

You may, however, see me wearing a pair of cargo shorts. You can bet, though, that it’s because I’m smuggling some Jujubes.

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