14 July 2008

My summer of the cargo-short

Since being laid off in April by the massive corporation that formerly employed me, I have been in the ranks of the nominally unemployed. Which is not to say literally "unemployed"--I have plenty to do, dammit, and I find it amazing how short the days have become, not to mention how little I accomplish in any given one.

At any rate, I now have no work-imposed dress code and am free to wear whatever I choose (within self-imposed bounds). I've spent the entirety of a few days wearing what is called "loungewear" (the word conjures visions of John Lurie garb, but it is meant to denote a pajama-type clothing). My kids can't seem to distinguish between my "loungewear" and my underwear, however, and for some reason I seem to accomplish even less than normal when I'm wearing it so I've dropped the long boxer-short-with-drawstring look from the daylight rotation and have been wearing a variation of the cargo short almost every day.

Certainly this ubiquitous article of clothing need not be described: a cotton or ripstop material, (sometimes with an adjustable waist) that is cut approximately at the knees and sports generously-sized pockets on the side of the leg. They can be seen in great numbers anywhere tourists frequent--waterfronts, National Parks, malls, etc.

I'm not really a sartorial rebel, understand; never have been. That's not to say I normally join the lemming-like hordes in my fashion choices, either. I'm happy with khakis (no pleats, please) or Levis. Not much for hats, sandals, epaulets or scarves. Same for ironic t-shirts, large logos or the skinny, striped leather sneaker. Too old (read: fat) for stovepipe pants or fitted shirts. But for me, as so many others, the cargo short is the perfect summer trouser. As you might expect, there are a few rules. Most important is probably the length (the hem should just cover the patella). Too much longer and you look like a 40-something white wanna-be gang banger. Too short and you look either like Lt. Dingle on RENO-911 or one of those annoyingly-fit guys who read Outside magazine and backpack the Grand Canyon. They should also not be made of blue-denim, for similar bad-connotation reasons (Joe Dirt, Kid-Rock--these kinds of things).

The key to the appeal of the cargo is the side pocket: a voluminous one is best, with space for wallet, notepad, pen, cell phone, even prescription bottles, if you don't mind the rattling sounds they make. It's a bit puzzling why the pockets should be the primary appeal; I could never imagine myself wearing full-on cargo pants. Too para-military, I guess.

I could go on to enumerate the virtues of the best pair (last-year's Red-Sand, of which I stupidly bought only one khaki pair), the runner-up (Polo Jeans Co.) and the cheap also-rans (Union Bay) but I guess I've gone on long enough. Soon enough the c-short will land on the scrap heap of fashion history and become a specialty item. Like something your father would wear.

No comments:

Post a Comment