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This Femme Started Wearing Cargo Shorts, and You Can Too

When I was trying to figure out my wardrobe after coming out, there was one thing I was very firmly against: cargo shorts. As a femme presenting person, I perceived cargo shorts as something that only mascs and dads at Costco wore. I had never seen cargo shorts presented in a feminine way that appealed to my sensibilities. Shorts have always been tricky for me — I have long legs and so usually shorts were too too short. I went through a long period of time where I didn’t even wear shorts because I couldn’t find styles that felt comfortable and flattering.

My wife is a big fan of cargo shorts. But she dresses like a Costco Dad, so this isn’t a surprise to me. It wasn’t until we got together that I started to understand the appeal of the cargo short. They are definitely useful! She had multiple pockets, which was great for me. Women’s shorts are not well known for having useful pockets. My phone wouldn’t even fit in the back pocket of the tiny high-waisted shorts I preferred, or they dragged down the pockets of the thin shorts I would throw on to run errands. But my wife’s cargo shorts could hold both of our phones and keys. I can’t say I wasn’t intrigued by the idea of having such useful pants.

Two summers ago, I decided to give cargo shorts a try. I was worried, because trying to find cargo shorts that were cut for my body was hard. My wife wears men’s shorts and always complains about the way they fit over her hips and butt. My butt is one of my favorite features, so I didn’t want to hide it with men’s pants. When I started looking, I kept finding that a lot of cargo shorts were more for function than for fashion. I didn’t need shorts that I could wear hiking, I just wanted cargo shorts that looked cute and eliminated the need for me to carry a purse if I was running to the store. Eventually, I found a pair that looked like they would fit my hips, thighs and butt well and had the kinds of pockets that I needed.

Wow, what a game changer! I couldn’t believe that I slept on cargo shorts for so long. They were so comfortable and had an inseam that wasn’t too long or too short. More importantly, I found ways to fit them into my femme aesthetic. Most days I just go full dyke and wear them with a tee shirt and Toms, but I will also pair them with a cute floral top and ballet flats. They’re great for trips to the pool and pair really well with a bikini top. If you’re a femme like me who is afraid of cargo shorts, well you’re in luck. Shop these cargo shorts this summer! (If you’re curious about how men’s cargo shorts fit, I also included a couple pairs!) I promise you will become a cargo short convert.

Old Navy High-Waisted Cargo Utility Shorts ($30, sizes XS-4XL)

black cargo shorts

Raroauf Women’s Relaxed-Fit Cargo Shorts ($35, sizes 2-18)

dark green cargo shorts

Levi’s Womens Mid Rise Cargo Short ($50, sizes 26-34)

Levi's cargo shorts

St. John’s Bay Womens Mid Rise Cargo Bermuda Short ($32, sizes 2-30)

khaki shorts

Natural Reflections Canvas Cargo Shorts ($25, sizes 2-18)

olive shorts

Survivor Mens Belted Cargo Shorts ($50, sizes 30-52)

navy shorts

365 Mid Rise Cargo Bermuda Shorts ($70, sizes XXS-XXL)

black cargo shorts

Women’s Ultra Lux Comfort with Flex-to-Go Relaxed Fit Cargo Short ($44, sizes 2-18)

lilac shorts

Women’s Relaxed Fit Cargo Shorts ($40, sizes 0-16)

gray shorts

Cordova Men’s Cargo Messenger Shorts ($52, sizes 30-54)

gray shorts

Women’s Stretch Canvas Cargo Shorts ($50, sizes 2-18)

khaki cargo shorts

AE Dreamy Drape Linen-Blend Perfect Bermuda Cargo Short ($60, sizes 000-20)

light green cargo shorts

Women’s Ripstop Cargo Shorts ($40, sizes 2-14)

black shorts

FOURSTEEDS Women’s Cotton Loose Fit Cargo Shorts ($40, sizes 2-20)

bunched khaki cargo shorts

IVIR Cargo Shorts Knee Length ($36, sizes S-XXL)

dark green shorts

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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 121 articles for us.

1 Comment

  1. I, too, am a femme who enjoys cargo shorts! I love the LL Bean Women’s Stretch Canvas Cargo Shorts, but it looks like they’ve changed the style slightly and increased the price to $70! However, limited sizes of the original seem to be on sale for $40. Femme style, rugged, durable and cute!

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