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Cargo Shorts are loosely cut trousers designed for outdoor activities and distinguished by an abundance of cargo pockets. Since emerging as a fashion trend during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the cargo shorts remained a staple of men's summer clothes for over a decade. In July 2016, they became the subject of an online debate after the Wall Street Journal published an article about their waning popularity.
It is believed cargo pants were developed in the mid-1940s for World War II soldiers, but they did not reach popularity until the mid-90s, when they were sold by popular teen retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch.
Sales of cargo shorts continued to grow until 2016, when sales dwindled for the first time in a decade. This came after a few years of backlash to cargo shorts. Several Reddit threads from the early-mid 2010s are devoted to discovering why exactly cargo shorts went out of style. Answers include that their supposed practicality made it unwelcome in fashion circles, they became a part of the MRA uniform, or that they were simply ugly and the extra pockets have no functionality to most wearers.
In 2014, Matthew McConaughey appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and the two of them mocked cargo shorts wearers for trying to fool people into believing they were doing hard labor and required pockets for tools.
The Wall Street Journal Article
While the conversation surrounding Cargo Short had been touched upon by publications before, the debate surrounding them truly exploded when, on August 1st, 2016, The Wall Street Journal published an article humorously suggesting that cargo shorts were tearing marriages apart. This marked the first volley in what would develop into a deluge of publications writing pieces about cargo shorts. Some defended cargo shorts, like Today.com, The Washington Post, and Deadspin. Others, including Broadly, Maxim, Woman's Day, The Cut, and more, were against them. Others like The Daily Dot and NPR covered the debate.
 Joseph Hancock II Dissertation – 'THESE AREN’T THE SAME PANTS YOUR GRANDFATHER WORE!'
THE EVOLUTION OF BRANDING CARGO PANTS
IN 21st CENTURY MASS FASHION
 The Daily Dot – Bros militantly defend their right to wear cargo shorts
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