Having proven to be a staple piece throughout the 1990’s, these military-turned-functional trousers have catapulted themselves onto the runway, included in designs from the likes of Givenchy and Isabel Marant, to name a few. It therefore comes as no surprise that vintage cargo pants have hit many shopping baskets and have been a key feature of many street style trends, guaranteeing a casual and relaxed aesthetic which will add a touch of effortless style to any look.
In the advent of fast fashion, translating runway looks at a rapid rate into high street items, authentic 90’s and Y2K cargo pants can be hard to come by, with your Google search results being plagued by low quality mass production and low prices. Our below guide to vintage cargo pants is here to eradicate this struggle and to help revolutionize your wardrobe.
Known for being the leaders of ravewear throughout the 1990’s, Macgear is the ultimate brand for creating a punk-styled look suitable for the dancefloor. Their cargo trousers are distinguishable due to their numerous zip features, often acting as a design feature of the typically wide-legged pants.
An array of Macgear cargo pants are available from a variety of online vintage stores, including private sellers on eBay.
Kikwear describe themselves as a ‘basic, yet edgy’ brand which, in their prime during the 1990’s, saw them flourish in popularity across the USA, Canada and Europe. With cargo pants designed for every situation, whether it be the inclusion of a pocket big enough for a water bottle, or reflective features across the trousers, Kikwear proved themselves to be quintessentially on-trend for their 1990’s audience.
It therefore comes as no surprise that original Kikwear pants are in high demand due to the resurgence of cargo pants, seeing vintage sellers list their pants on eBay, as well as Kikwear re-emerging as a business and selling their renowned looks on their website, although these are newly produced pants, reimagined from the brand’s original success.
With extensive musical influences, the designs sold by Tripp NYC exuded an image of rebellion, alluding to punk culture. With predominantly black cargo pants providing a versatile wardrobe staple for many streetwear looks, it comes as no surprise that many vintage sellers are listing Tripp NYC products on their sites.
Instances such as chain embellished black cargo pants with blue piping across its seams are therefore a desirable piece for anyone wishing to boast an authentic New York streetwear look.
As a classic centerpiece of American trousers, Levi’s rightfully can boast an endless plethora of archive styles throughout their decades of flourishing success. This, of course, includes their take on cargo trousers.
The loose fitting, straight-legged trousers are popular amongst vintage marketplaces and are the perfect choice for those who wish to embrace a 90’s or Y2K look at an affordable price point. Vintage Levi’s cargo pants can be found anywhere from eBay, to Etsy, to independent vintage sites.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Having arguably reached its peak during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Abercrombie and Fitch undisputedly hold a place in the Y2K hall of fame. As leaders of street style during this era, cargo pants inevitably formed a large part of the store’s designs.
With the listing of vintage Abercrombie & Fitch cargo pants comes not only style, but also nostalgia. Many sellers on eBay and Depop embody this trip down memory lane.
Another centerpiece of 90’s American fashion is Ralph Lauren, who, with the introduction of the brand’s sporting line ‘Polo’ exceeded their origins of aristocratic looks and submerged themselves into street style.
The military styled pants with cuffed ankles offer a timeless look, easily accessorized with a vintage T-shirt. These are also sold by private sellers at an affordable price point and are largely accessible across a range of colors and sizes on eBay, Etsy and Depop.
Held in popular stead amongst ravers, Caffeine’s cargo pants were a popular option for those on the punk scene throughout the 1990’s. With adjustable waists and hems via elasticated drawstrings, these pants could be minimally styled to suit the wearer’s ideal look.
Caffeine cargo pants, amongst other items from the brand, are held in high stead across social media and vintage sellers, who value the brand as an authentic reflection of the peak of 90’s and Y2K fashion. Although sellers pitch these at a slightly higher price point, those who opt for Caffeine pants are guaranteed to be wearing the ultimate rave trousers with genuine origins.
Other Noteworthy Brands
It is also notable to make reference to the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Carhartt, who, as leaders in 90’s street style, were notable figures held in high popularity internationally. Carhartt’s specific hardware origins, designed for heavy-duty wear during work, are especially suited to the practicality of cargo pants.
As demonstrated through our vast guide, cargo pants have returned in full swing, breaking their way into many street style looks. Many vintage sellers are optimizing this trend through offering genuine original pieces to ensure you can boast a realistic 90’s look.