5 Tips for Wearing Cargo Pants Over 60, Stylists Say

There are so many ways to make this throwback trend look fresh and modern.

Trends come and go—but some return unexpectedly, as is the case with cargo pants. They've been spotted everywhere from designer runways to fast fashion boutiques, and a number of celebs have embraced them as well. In fact, a recent study found that green cargo pants are the top-trending item this season on Pinterest. And if you're over 60, they make an exceptionally great addition to your wardrobe.

"Utilitarian designs like cargo pants serve as a canvas for designers and individuals to explore and redefine the boundaries between traditionally masculine and feminine aesthetics," explains Carol Himelhoch, president of Himelhoch's Department Store.

Anna Chabura, image consultant, personal shopper, and founder of Health Means Happiness, notes that cargo pants are also surprisingly versatile. "What's beautiful about this trend is that you can style them for any occasion—they are no longer just streetwear," she tells Best Life. "Additionally, they have a looser fit, providing plenty of coverage."

The key to mastering this trend as you get older is to modernize it rather than relying on the retro cuts and colors of yesteryear. Here are some tips to keep in mind when wearing those sought-after cargo pants this season.

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1
Break the norms.

Stylish mature woman walks near city building, wearing cargo denim pants, pink floral trench coat
AnnaZhuk / iStock

"Cargo pants are back in style but with a more refined twist this time around," says Yenia Hernández Fonseca, a stylist, luxury fashion expert, and contributor to Margo Paige. "You'll notice modern-day cargo pants coming in denim, wool, corduroy, and even silk. Silhouettes are being reinvented as well, from an exaggerated wide-leg to a more tailored waist that flows effortlessly down the leg and finishes in an elegantly tapered ankle."

So, think outside the box when shopping for cargo pants. Rather than sticking with traditional olive green, seek out other timeless hues like navy blue, cream, or even burgundy. This will give your look a fresh, contemporary edge.

Fonseca says you can never go wrong with denim cargo pants, either—just make sure to opt for a medium to dark wash, and a mid to high-rise cut that suits your frame.

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2
Accessorize boldly.

A stylish older woman wearing a white shirt, pearl jewelry, and large black sunglasses against a beige background
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

To balance the utilitarian look of cargo pants, consider accenting with feminine touches like red lipstick, oversized pearl earrings, or a statement clutch, says Chabura.

"Even a [classy] belt can add personality to the outfit without overwhelming the overall look," adds Jennie Richman, a stylist at The Apparel Factory.

3
Bust out the heels.

Close up of woman wearing brown bell bottom flare pants and heeled sandals
Oleksandr Berezko / Shutterstock

"I love the combination of high heels with cargo pants," says Chabura. "You can go for boots or open-toe pumps."

Even a low wedge or kitten heel can lend an unexpected hint of glam to cargo pants—whether they're flared or fitted at the bottom.

Or, if you prefer flats, Richman and Chabura suggest pairing tapered-leg cargo pants with a pair of classic white sneakers or on-trend platform loafers.

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4
Go for a fitted, feminine top.

Pink and brown patterned blouses hanging in a closet
Elizaveta Shishlyannikova / iStock

"Since cargo pants are inherently casual, adding a fancier element can create an interesting contrast," explains Smirna Kulenovic, design expert at Next Luxury. "This could be a dressy blouse."

"Combining utilitarian pieces with garments from different styles, such as bohemian or romantic, can create a harmonious blend of masculine and feminine elements," agrees Himelhoch. "For example, consider wearing cargo pants with a lace blouse or cropped sweater."

Always aim for balance, Kulenovic adds, to create a more proportionate silhouette. For example, if you choose looser-fitting cargo pants, pair them with a more fitted top. If you opt for skinny cargo pants, try a more flowy tunic top.

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5
Choose a style based on your figure.

Portrait of mature businesswoman in the city
iStock

There are so many different styles of cargo pants, so stylists agree you should take your body type into account when selecting the perfect pair.

For example, if you have a pear-shaped body with wider hips, you may want to look for boot-cut or flare-leg cargo pants to achieve visual balance.

"People with a more petite frame may prefer cargo pants with smaller pockets to avoid overwhelming their figure," says Richman.

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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