Men’s cargo work pants are such an integral part of our lives today that few of us spare a thought about their origin. Surely they have been around from the year dot? It would seem so, but they actually have a cross-continental history that continues to develop today.
Men’s Cargo Work Pants Design Roots
Their design is deeply rooted in military history, starting as ‘modern military legwear’ in Britain, surprisingly, in the 1930s. However, the ‘quite fancy’ Service Dress uniform was old fashioned by the ’30s, so, following extensive research, a new ‘modern’ uniform was created, viz Battle Dress code.
Functionality replaced pomp and flash, especially in the design of the work trousers. Delicate pleats disappeared, and a spacious map pocket was introduced above the left knee. In addition, a field dressing (medical compress) pocket appeared on the right hip. This design changed the trousers from ‘leg coverings’ to working, wearable equipment – something that our Tradie clients appreciate.
You are most likely not surprised to hear that a few older officers were outraged, with one famous quote being, “I’m not going to die dressed like a third-rate chauffeur”. However, Canada, India, and our troops here in Australia quickly adopted this wearable equipment approach.
A US Army paratroopers’ commander saw the advantages, especially concerning distributing the 50kg of weight the troops carried when jumping out the aeroplanes. So their jumpsuits were replaced with a two-piece uniform and an assortment of pockets. The work trousers had two very spacious pockets for socks, hand grenades, a cap, etc., and, voila, ‘cargo-carrying pants’ were born.
By 1943 the entire US Army adopted this new style.
The design has changed again and again over the decades, becoming more streamlined in the ’50s, but they came roaring back in the ’60s. War-time surplus resulted in a plethora of army surplus shops popping up in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. With outdoor and hiking clothing not being invented yet, industrious folk saw this high-quality, rugged clothing as an ideal solution. A whole subculture was created when famous Hollywood heartthrobs started appearing in army fatigues on the silver screen. As the design and fabric have matured, and people have seen the worksite benefits, the humble cargo work pants have become an everyday staple – for work and play.
Get your slice of fashion history with a pair of men’s cargo work pants. Contact our switched-on Stitchem team for your ladies and men’s cargo work pants and workwear. Remember, we can print or embroider logos onto them so your whole ‘regiment’ can look in top form. Stitchem can help you stand out from the crowd!