Cargo Trouser Buying Guide

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Cargo Trouser Buying Guide

Cargo trousers are characterised as loose fitting with rugged construction intended to withstand the wear and tear of an active lifestyle. Their most distinguishing features are the large patch pockets on the outside of each trouser leg. These pockets are usually located about halfway down the thighs, are secured by large flaps with snaps, buttons, or a hook and loop system, and have accordion folds in the fabric that open up and allow the pockets to hold more items. The trousers are not only limited to the two large pockets, though. Some trousers have multiple pockets going all the way down the legs.

These large pockets can be used in many ways. For some women, they are simply stylish, while other women consider the trousers to be utilitarian and ideal for outdoor activities that require them to carry around a lot of items or store items that they get along the way. The women in the military as well as women in certain professional fields also find these trousers to be useful throughout their work day. Overall, at least one pair of these trousers would be useful in every woman’s wardrobe.

History of Cargo Trouser Trousers

The British Army was the first to introduce cargo trousers to the world in 1938. The trousers were essential items to the military personnel because they offered a functional way to store supplies and gear for those who were out in the field for long periods of time. Originally, the trousers had one pocket on the thigh, and another on the other hip. In the 1940s, the United States also began using the trousers with their paratroopers’ uniforms.

The fashion of civilians wearing cargo trousers did not spread until the 1990s when hip-hop musicians wore them during their performances. The trend spread like wildfire and soon everyone, including women, were wearing them on a daily basis. Their place in women’s clothing fashion was solidified in 1998 when Ralph Lauren presented silk cargo trousers on the runway. Since then, many variations of the trousers have been released and the characteristic pockets have spread to other clothing such as capri trousers, shorts, and skirts.

How to Size Cargo Trousers

Sizing cargo trousers requires women to take some simple measurements of themselves. The size of their waist, hips, and inside leg will determine what size to look for. After measuring the waist and hips, use the chart below to find the most accurate trouser size.      









Hips (cm)








Hips (cm)








Waist (cm)








Waist (in)








Unlike men’s trousers which have specific inside leg lengths, women’s trousers have more a more general selection. They are sold in short, regular, or long sizes. Measure from the crotch to the middle of the heel to find the inside leg length.

UK Size




Inside leg(cm)




Inside leg(in)




Keep in mind that the majority of women’s cargo trousers are designed to fit loosely. However, some of the more trendy styles may be tighter.

Types of Women’s Cargo Trousers

Cargo trousers are very versatile and come in a variety of options with different materials and designs. A pair of trousers can be found to match nearly any lifestyle from hard play to high fashion.

Type of Cargo Trousers



Cotton cargo trousers are lightweight, durable, and easy to maintain. They are the ultimate combination of comfort and functionality. Typically these are worn by those in the medical and health care industry


Made from denim, these trousers are dense, durable, and warm. They vary in appearance but are built to withstand tough conditions


Khaki cargo trousers are the most common on the civilian side. The fabric is lightweight, durable, and usually a neutral colour such as tan. They are ideal because they last a long time, are easy to maintain, and they are comfortable


Maternity cargo trousers are typically made with a khaki material and have an elastic waistband allows for the expansion of the stomach. They are particularly popular because moving around during pregnancy is tedious so these trousers give women the option to carry around more items with them instead of having to go and fetch them all the time


The military wear a version of cargo trousers called battle dress uniforms, or BDUs. However these are also seen on the streets in addition to military areas. It has become fashionable for civilians to enjoy the functionality of the BDUs as well as the military forces


Many professionals such as the emergency medical staff and the police wear cargo trousers as part of their uniforms. Typically they are constructed with very durable materials that are designed to hold up against heavy wear and tear


Silk cargo trousers are designed purely for style. They are thin, lightweight, soft, non-breathable, and have a somewhat shiny finish. The trousers are difficult to maintain because they cannot simply be thrown in the wash


Zip-off trousers have a dual purpose. Just below the knee, the bottom half of the trousers can be removed by being unzipped. This means that the trousers can instantly be converted into shorts when the weather is warmer

Cargo trousers come in a variety of colours and with some added features. The more stylish trousers may come with embellishments such as fancy buttons and ribbons on the pockets. Be sure to check the pockets and make sure that they are ideal for their intended purpose. Some of the trousers that are designed purely for fashion have flat pockets rather than the accordion ones that expand out. This means that they cannot store as many items in them.

How to Wear Cargo Trousers

Cargo trousers are fairly simple in nature and therefore they are easy to pair up with shirts, shoes, and accessories. For a cute and comfortable look, select a soft sweater with a simple pattern like stripes and wear ballet flats. A pair of trousers that are trim rather than loose or tight can be worn with a more fitted shirt. A beanie cap, comfortable pair of clogs, and a fitted, plaid shirt will make the outfit look trendy with a tomboy feel. Any number of variations will work with these trousers.

Where to Shop for Women’s Cargo Trousers

Although cargo trousers are popular, they are not as common as denim jeans, slacks, or regular khakis. Typically shops will have a large selection of other trousers with only one or two options of cargo trousers. For women who are looking for specific style, it can be frustrating trying to find the perfect cargos without having to travel from shop to shop. Online retailers like eBay make the shopping process much easier by allowing women to view all of the styles and designs in one place. They can browse through thousands of cargo trousers for sale and select the pairs that meet their criteria without ever leaving their home. Originally, shopping online was considered to be a waste of money because of additional shipping costs. However, now many sellers on eBay offer free shipping incentives and shoppers can even elect to only view the items for sale that have no shipping charges.

How to Purchase Women’s Cargo Trousers on eBay

Once you have a good idea of what you want, pull up the eBay website on your computer and begin shopping. Start by searching for what you are looking for. For example, enter "women’s cargo trousers" into the search bar. If you know what you want, you can narrow down your search from the beginning with more specific searches, such as "cotton cargo trousers" or "maternity cargo trousers". Since there will be so many trousers for sale, you can save some time by entering in a few of your preferences and narrowing down the products shown. First, select your trouser size. Then click on the brands you like, any colours you want, the material of the trousers, whether or not you want to look at new or used items, and enter in your price range. This will allow you skip over the products you wouldn’t be interested in.

Take a few precautions before you order anything, though. Double check the product details and verify the shipping charges and the trouser size. Some sellers offer multiple sizes and they may be out of the size that you need. Also look at the seller’s reviews from their past customers to make sure that they are reputable.


Women’s cargo trousers are undoubtedly popular for their comfort, function, and even their stylish appearance. These reliable trousers can last years and conveniently store things like notes, chequebooks, pens, and other essential items. Styles are available for all women of all ages so that everyone can find the perfect pair that fits their needs. Finding a good pair of cargo trousers is not difficult and only requires that women first understand what they need the trousers for, and what sizes to get. Thicker, more durable materials are best for those who intend to use the pockets for carrying items, and the lighter weight materials with a more fitted cut are ideal for fashionable women who only want the pockets for their appearance and not their use.

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