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About A Week: Cargo Pants

Peter Hinchliffe goes travelling, with pants legs flapping in the breeze.

These green cargo pants make me feel like Huddersfield’s answer to Michael Palin. the TV world traveller. Click tight the belt buckle, and I’m ready to leap on a camel’s back and go swaying across the Sahara’s mighty dunes.

Actually I only wear these britches for jet-plane journeys. They perfectly accommodate every necessity when I'm are outward bound from Manchester airport.

Airline ticket and passport in this zipped pocket. Foreign currency and credit card in that. And this cavernous pocket on the right is big enough to take a paperback copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, plus two ham sandwiches in case the airline food is lousy.

Cargo indeed. A garment was never more appropriately named. A pity though that the legs of these wonderous strides seem to have been designed to fit elephants rather than humans.

You appear to be flapping out a coded distress signal as you walk down the street. Wear the cargos on a windy day and you feel like a storm-bound yacht rounding Cape Horn.

How amazing then to hear that generously-cut trousers are currently in fashion. Wear cargo pants or combat britches in Chelsea, Hampstead or Islington, and you will be cool and stylish.

“Variations on the military look have been with us for many seasons but this trend is now becoming a fashion staple to rival denim and jeanswear. Battlefield combat trousers are the new blue jeans,’’ announces a writer in a fashion magazine.

“Combats are more sexy, more powerful than jeans, which for me are too wholesome,’’ says a stylish young thing.

Call me wholesome then. Cargos for travelling, but jeans every other day.

During 45 working years I was a jacket, tie and grey slacks man. Jeans are my symbol of work done. A declaration of freedom. Of no longer being a wage slave.

If that sounds like too much philosophy to pin onto a simple denim garment hear what the world’s leading jeans manufacturer has to say.

Levi Strauss, who have been manufacturing jeans for horseless cowboys since 1853, state that the company’s core values are empathy, originality, integrity and courage. Courage?

“Generations of people have worn our products as a symbol of freedom and self-expression in the face of adversity, challenge and social change. They forged a new territory called the American West. They fought in wars for peace. They instigated counterculture revolutions. They tore down the Berlin Wall. Reverent, irreverent - they all took a stand.’’

My words! That makes you stand up tall as you buckle on the blue denims.

Some folk are prepared to pay a huge whack for denim comfort. A Savile Row firm offered tailor-made jeans at £600 a pair. Of course you got to choose the number and positioning of the pockets, plus the colour of the thread used in their stitching.

A matching denim jacket would have cost you £1,460 - though that did include value added tax.

I think I’ll stick to my regular high street jeans supplier. £32 a pair, with a touch of Lycra in the cotton to accommodate a comfortable man who enjoys a comforting hot dinner.


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