Some days, it doesn't pay to go skintight. "Thanks to my cargo pants, I don't have to buy expensive bottled water at the movie theater," explains actress Traci Lords (Blade). "I can stuff an Evian bottle into one of those huge pockets, and off I go."
With their handy compartments originally designed to stash soldiers' radios and ammo, cargo pants (and shorts too) have caught on with cellphone-packing warriors on fashion's front lines. Converts include designer Ralph Lauren, who sells a suede style—for those with truly deep pockets—for $2,295. "They have a rugged performance look that's part of the new urban uniform," says Calvin Klein, whose cargos clothe Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts. "If you've got amazing abs and wear the pants low, they're sexy," says designer Pamela Dennis. And, of course, serviceable. "Kids these days," says L.A. fashion stylist George Blodwell, "have so much to lug around."
with Steven Cojocaru in Los Angeles and Jennifer Longley in New York City