Son of Cargo Pants

October 3, 2014

By Pat Detmer

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DetmerColumn 20141000This is a sad time of year for The Sainted One, and it’s not because he’s turning 75. He’s melancholy because he will no longer be wearing his beloved cargo shorts.

I don’t understand his attachment to them. Here is a man who has one tuxedo, one suit and three blazers, and yet he has 15 pairs of cargo shorts in constant summer rotation. I think that my irritation might be rooted in jealousy. I carry the bulk of my weight in the hips and thighs (“Well thanks for the compliment on my jodhpurs, but I’m not wearing jodhpurs!”) so the last thing that I need are huge, bulky pockets in spots that already scream of excess.

But he loves them. He’s been known to wear cargo shorts in 48-degree weather and claim that he’s not cold even though from 50 yards away his goosebumps look like a lesser range of The Rockies. He doesn’t like to wear jeans but knows that his sweatpants aren’t appropriate for shopping and dining, so as the days turn brisk and short, he’s especially depressed.

He gets like this, attached to specific pieces of clothing. He’s not an overly sentimental guy, but when it comes to certain well-loved pieces, he is a sartorial Richard Bach.

In fact for years he wore a sweatshirt that was frayed and faded and stiff from washing, which gives me hope for the longevity of our marriage since I am much the same. The cuffs were hanging onto the arms by threads and the collar was pulling away from the neck. I told him that he was one good sneeze away from wearing a T-shirt with matching necklace and bracelets. I was his wingman when we searched for the Son of Sweatshirt, and although he would normally walk into a clothing store, point and say, “I’ll take that” and be out the door within nanoseconds, in this case the process was excruciating:

No. Wrong neck. No. That’s sweater material. It needs to be sweatshirt material. No. That doesn’t gather at the bottom. No, I don’t want a zipper. It needs to be buttons. No gray, no black, no white.

Given our past experience and my disdain toward his shorts style choice, it was with some trepidation that I recently suggested — and I can’t believe I did this — cargo pants, the big-boy version of what he wears all summer long. His face brightened. “I never thought of that,” he said with a faraway look in his eyes, part wistful, part hopeful. “Cargo pants. Hmm.”

Can Son of Cargo Pants be far behind?


You can reach Pat Detmer — who hasn’t shopped with The Sainted One since the Son of Sweatshirt experience — at

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