News & Politics

The Week in Cargo Shorts

Illustration via iStock.

On Monday Wall Street Journal reporter Nicole Hong ripped off the final layer of veneer holding American society together: She wrote about cargo shorts. “Relationships around the country are being tested by cargo shorts,” she reported about the baggy garments, which are especially favored by men out of the dating scene.

So much cargo shorts-related content followed that if you printed it out, you’d need extra pockets to hold them all.

Men Are Finally Catching On to How Ugly Cargo Shorts Are,” New York wrote. “It’s time to admit you don’t need all those pockets,” said Maxim. The Washington Free Beacon zigged while others zagged. ” Of course the elitist east coast establishment sneers at it with their dying gasp,” Sonny Bunch wrote. “America will be made great again not by these egghead losers but by men whose shorts sag under the weight of tools and electronics, books, and bottles.” His post included an infographic showing where the small liquor bottles go.

Pitchfork asked Carly Rae Jepsen about them. “I’ve never seen a man in cargo shorts and gone, ‘Rrrrr,’” she said. Leonardo DiCaprio wore a pair to scare Jonah Hill. The author Adam Linn, Tablet’s “Gentile of the Week,”  spoke in a podcast about how “becoming a dad made him embrace an unlikely sartorial ally.” A documentary opens with a guy wearing a pair. “I believe that cargo shorts drove the entire plotline between Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck” in He’s Just Not That Into You, Tufts professor Daniel W. Drezner wrote in the Washington Post (which was uncharacteristically late to this internet topic). NPR spoke with Drexel prof Joseph Hancock, who wrote his doctoral thesis on cargo pants.

I apologize to the world for igniting the Cargo Shorts Wars of 2016,” Hong wrote Friday, noting that some of her colleagues planned to wear cargo shorts to the office in protest.

Enjoy your protest, men. I will end here with the single greatest tweet about cargo shorts.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.