Denim Review: J Brand Houlihan Skinny Ankle Zip Cargo Pants in Vintage Olive wash

Hilary Duff Maintains the Blonde

I never expected to fall completely in love with these J Brand Houlihan Cargo Pants in Vintage Olive! I just got them last week and I have worn them lots already. I had never been a fan of cargo pants since I didn’t really class them as feminine but after seeing these pants on lots of celebs it really changed my mind. I haven’t seen them look bad on anyone yet and so many celebrities are a fan of them! They have really taken the fashion world by storm.

These Houlihan cargo pants are made of Japanese Twill so they are super soft! I had no idea they would be so stretchy and soft against the skin though, I assumed they would be quite rigid and more stiff since they were a cargo pant but I was completely wrong! They are the most comfiest pants I have ever tried and they are extremely stretchy, I love that about them. The fit is also perfect, it’s so feminine and pretty, they are really slim down the legs and even though they only have flaps for the back pockets they are suprisingly flattering on the butt.

I love the way they have long ankle zips just like a skinny jean, it’s nice they still keep that element as it’s unusual on a cargo pant. The leg pocket placement is also perfect, I love the positioning of them, they are just in the right place to keep your legs looking slim. they also have moto style stitching on the knees as you can see and I think that makes them look really good. The colour as well is so pretty, it’s like a dusty khaki green and it matches almost everything. These pants come in 5 other colours as well as this Vintage Olive shade. I really want to buy them in grey and black! I can see myself living in these Houlihan pants for a while. I find they beat my motto of not being feminine because they are super skinny and they look really really good with heels.

So I’m really loving J Brand’s take on the cargo pants and I honestly can’t wait to try more! The cargo pants seem to be a huge trend right now and I really like it! These are just too beautiful to pass up and if you don’t think they will be very flattering or comfy then you are very mistaken, they are gorgeous!

Overall Opinion
I absolutely, 100%, recommend these J Brand Houlihan Cargo Pants! They are the most softest pants I have ever tried and they are so comfy because of how stretchy they are. They are also incredibly flattering and feminine if you pair them with heels or wedges and a pretty top. You definitely wont be disappointed buying these! Buy these cargo pants at Boutique to You.

Click here to view more photos of these cargo pants and for more information on the rest of my outfit on Raindrops of Sapphire.

Click here to read more denim reviews.

Laid Down Photos

Modeled Photos

Images courtesy of Lorna/DenimBlog (not to be copied or used by others) and jeans courtesy of J Brand.


  1. Lorna~

    Very cute outfit! I’m still debating these as I am not sure what my legs would look like in them (I’m normally a 28/29). Did you have to size up in them? You look great in the Houlihan cargos!

    ~ Renae

  2. I stuck with my normal J Brand size but I could definitely take a 27 I think, they run true to size but really stretchy πŸ™‚ It depends how you want to wear them, I could size down 1 for a tight fit but if I want them a bit looser I stuck with my true to size size πŸ™‚ They really are great!

  3. Singer 22 has listings with 2 different shades of Vintage Olive wash. Is there more than one vintage olive color? I just ordered them, and I’m hoping it’s the right color.

  4. I was only aware of the one Vintage Olive wash. I just had a look and they only list one in the menu to order from, I think it varies with the lighting, in some lighting they look light green and in others they look darker πŸ™‚

  5. i still think these are really cool, ever since i saw gwen stefani in them. if only the inseam was a bit longer i would be more willing to try them out. i do think these look better on the looser side. they fit you perfectly lorna and great review.

  6. I really like these. Not to sound crass, but the butt fits a lot better on these than a lot of cargo pants I see girls wearing.

  7. Yeah…right now I am eyeing the olive green JET cargos that will be coming out in late July

  8. great review, thanks.
    I have one question. I am wearing 26 J brand pencil leg and I ordered this cargo in Olive green size 26 too.
    I found some reviews about the size about this pants that recommend to take 1 or 2 size bigger, is it true?
    I am living in Berlin and I don┬─t want to return and reorder…

  9. Hi Nina, I took my true to size so you should be fine. I think people suggest taking a size bigger so they can wear them baggy. I like to wear mine tighter πŸ™‚ You should be fine if you want to wear them tighter. Plus they are super stretchy πŸ™‚

  10. I got these in my true size as well and really like the fit but do you notice when you sit down that the front of the crotch has a lot of excess material? i find there is so much that i am wondering if i should have gone a size down but think it is just how the pockets are cut.

  11. I think it’s the fabric, since it’s not denim or a really thin fabric it will bunch up, I don’t think it will make a difference if you size down though, it’s the way they are πŸ™‚

  12. thanks for the reply. I wasn’t sure if it was the size so it is reassuring to know that is just how they are.

  13. Hello, Lorna, you really look great with J Brand β€œHoulihan” skinny cargo pants in vintage olive !! I have been considering to purchase it but I am not 100% sure which size I need to take….. just in order to avoid any extra difficulties of size exchange, extra work due to customs caused by size exchange, etc… as I am living in Europe and would like to purchase it in US. Mostly I wear size 25 in almost all jeans brands ( AG, True Religion, Paper, current etc… ) and it fits snug on me. But sometimes I need to take 26 in case the jeans run smaller ( like J-brand lovestory 22″ bell, some styles of 7 all. m. ).
    Now I am not 100% sure which size I need to take…. as some people say it runs smaller, the style is quite slim, tight and recommend to size up and some say it is true to size. I am 159cm tall and around 52kg weight and I wear normaly US2 or bottom size 25/26. I wish to have a suitable size like you are wearing ( on your pictures )!! I like “snug ” fit but I do not like ” too tight “. Could you please advice me which size you recommend? I think this pants looks good if people wears just size even I heard it looks good if it is a bit roomy and there are some lint… Thank you so much for your feedback and honest advice!

  14. Hi Jucca πŸ™‚

    Thank you for the compliment! I would say get a 26 if that is your J Brand size, a 28 is my J Brand size and these fit perfectly. They are quite slim but my waist to leg ratio is a bit different to most peoples, I have a wider waist and thinner legs so I often find most jeans to be baggy in the leg area if it fits the waist but these fit my legs and my waist so I think it is safe to say they are quite slim. I would go with your larger jean size as I think these look better fitted or slightly loose, they don’t look so good tight πŸ™‚

  15. Hello, Lorna,

    thank you so much for your kind, honest and fast feedback and advice!
    After receiving your advice, I am almost going to take size 26, but let me explain a bit more for making sure πŸ™‚
    I have only 1 x J Brand Jeans and this only one jeans from J Brand is Lovestory Bell Bottom which runs 1 size smaller than usual Jeans size. Normally I wear 25 in almost all jeans brands, that is why I took J Brand Lovestory Bell Bottom in size 26 at that time as it runs 1 size smaller! Therefore unfortunately I do not know which J Brand size is a perfect fit for me generally ( standard ). I wish to wear like you on your pictures or like Rachel Bilson on picture – not too skinny fit like leggings but nice fitted and not baggy, just wish to have comfortable fit. I just afraid that size 26 will be later a bit baggy after wearing few times caused by streching out. Are you still recommending me to go for taking size 26 instead of 25? So sorry for asking you again but I highly appreciate your kind help and advice!!

  16. Hi Jucca,

    I understand your concern! Don’t worry about asking too many questions. I’ve never tried the lovestory jeans so I can’t say based on how they fit. I do find I am a 27 in a lot of brands and a 28 in J Brand generally. These Houlihan pants are very stretchy and they do stretch out a bit. I have size 27 and 28 in these pants and they both fit but the 27 is quite tight and I prefer the fit of the 28 which I am modeling in the review. I think it’s a tough choice and I wouldn’t want to advise you the wrong size. In my personal opinion I do think they look better a littler looser or fitted, I don’t think they look as good really tight. So many people say they run 1 size small though, even J Brand themselves say they run 1 size small so maybe that might help you πŸ™‚

  17. Dear Lorna,

    thank you so much for your very honest and detailed advice!!!
    You help my decision so much ! I will go for purchasing 26 instead of 25.
    Wishing you a good evening!

  18. @ Jucca

    I have the same ‘sizes-problem’. I really want this houlihan cargo pants and i think i’m going to need a size 26. My lovestory bell bottom from J Brand is also a 26 which fits perfectly. Now I really have doubts about the Adriano Goldschmied Ex-boyfriend. I saw you usually wear a size 25 also from AG. Do you have the Ex-boyfriend? if so, what size do you wear? I don’t know which one I should order. I don’t want them to be to lose, but also not to tight.

    @ Lorna
    I saw your review about the AG Ex-boyfriend whick btw looks great on you.
    What size do you recommend? I’ve been told that this jeans run a little bit bigger than normal. I don’t want them to be tight (like a legging) and I don’t want them to be to big eather. I normally were a size 26, sometimes a 25. (7 for all mankind a 26)

    Hope that one of you could help me. Thanks

  19. Hi Sandra πŸ™‚ I sized down 1 size in the AG Ex Boyfriend jeans from my normal AG size and I took 1 size down from my 7 For All Mankind size πŸ™‚

  20. Hi, Sandra,

    Unfortunately I do not have AG Ex-boyfriend and I can not tell you about the sizing…. but I own a Current?Elliott Boyfriend and my normal size ( most brands ) is 25 or 26 ( in case jeans run smaller… ) and I bought and own size 24 ( it means 1 size down ) and fit great! I hope it could be helpful for you πŸ™‚ Cheers, Jucca

  21. hello, I usually wear 26. but I don’t have J brand jean.
    “houlihan” my first purchase to J brand.
    I have read all reply. but I still concern about my size. 26 or 27
    I don’t want too tight. I want to snug (?) like jessica alba fit.
    please, help me-

    (sorry, I’m japanese so I can’t english very well.)

  22. hi : )
    thankyou for reply-
    actually thesedays I didn’t purchase premium denim.
    years ago, hudson jean wear 26 size.
    I wear most size 26. : )
    help help –

  23. hi πŸ™‚ I’m around a 26 in black orchid & siwy but I don’t have J brand jean. I want to know what size for me in the Houlihan πŸ™‚

  24. Black Orchid seem to run a little bigger, as do Siwy so I would suggest a 27 πŸ™‚ You could probably do a 26 if you want them quite tight though πŸ™‚

  25. i┬─ve bought size 28 last wk. but today i just changes the size down to 27 cause after i worn them just 1 hr. pass they very stretchy then look to lose on me, Anyway with 28 it more comfort but in 27 look better. So still not sure which is right size for me?? (but J brand staff they all prefer 27 on me….)

  26. Hi there!

    Yesterday I bought this olive houlihan’s in size 24 ( Iam UK size 6 so maybe somebody know did I choose good size? Iam scared now that they could be too small or too big ;(
    I am very skinny and short person ;/
    Iam totally in love with this jeans, hope they will fit on me!

    (sorry about my english :D)


  27. Thank U Lorna :*

    So maybe I should buy size 23 =( couse I want them thight =(

    Lorna, what size are yours?
    U look soo great!


  28. Thx 4answer!

    I think that I’ll get my houlihans in next week ..cant wait!!!!! πŸ˜€

  29. Yeah, off course I will πŸ˜€
    I just have no idea what I will do if they will be too small/big … I mean where I will get them in good size (23) couse on ebay there’s no more left in this size πŸ™

    U are so lucky that U live in US. It’s so sad that I need visa to go there or to live…its like a win on lottery ;(

  30. Ohhh,sorry πŸ˜€ I was sure that U live in US =)
    Doesn’t matter, even UK is better then IE πŸ˜€ There is so many amercian brands what I can not say about Dublin ;/ Dublin is a big village πŸ˜€

    So u bought your houllihan pants online or in store in Ur city?

  31. Wow, thats nice!
    But how it happened? First U wrote to them or what ? πŸ˜› Couse u had to get them before make a review πŸ˜€
    Really nice, lucky girl ! =)

  32. All right, now I understand πŸ˜€
    Very nice occupation!
    I hate my work, I dream about work in fashion ( I love River Island) but it’s hard to get job there,they preffer Irish workers then somebody out of Ireland ;/

    Its really good to have a job which U like..wake up every morning and go there with smile on face.. ehh…I going to my like to hell πŸ˜€

  33. I am a true convert. I will NEVER purchase another pair of CHEAP jeans again! I now see the value in spending a few extra (ok – A LOT of extra) bucks on a pair of jeans. I may have thrown-up a bit in my mouth when the registered added ALL the taxes ( I am in Canada … !), but totally worth it!!!

  34. Dear Lorna,
    Thank you so much for an excellent denim-blogg. You look amazing in all the clothes and shoes you wear! It is very dangerous to “roam around” here; I want to buy everything! Today, I “caved in” and bought a pair of Houlihans. I have been oogling them for months now. In the beginning I really didn’t like the look, but every time I saw them, I liked them more and more. Until they seemed completely irresistible! Today the situation became unbearable, and I ordered them from the US. I live in Spain! So I am nervously biting my nails, hoping I got the right size! But after reading your recomendations to other people here, I feel calmer. I think I got the right size, my size in TR, 7s, CoH, R&R is 25/26 (Paiges 26/27 because they are so small in the tighs), and ordered Houlihan in 26. I ordered Sharkskin though, and they seem to run a bit smaller!? I will just have to wait and see! Thank you so much again!

  35. Hi, I want to buy them but I don’t know should I take my size or size smaller?

    Some people who have Houlihan’s told me that I have buy size smaller because they are stretchy and they will, during the time, become bigger?
    What do you think?
    Thanks a lot, this will be very helpful.

  36. hi lorna… i love your blog, it really helpful…

    u look really great in the pic with the houlihan J brand.
    I live in australia, and this cargo pant is really expensive. so im planning to get it online.
    i have tried size 25, but its a bit loose not that skinny.

    so do u recommend, it would be better if i get size 24?
    thanks a lot

  37. Hi Widya πŸ™‚
    Did you get Vintage Olive? They do stretch out a lot so if you want a very tight fit then I would say get the 24 but if you like them a bit looser then the 25 should be ok πŸ™‚ And thank you for the lovely compliment!

  38. Hi Lorna…
    thanks for your reply.
    i did get the 24, what u said its really true..
    it look amazing on…

    thank u so much

  39. “I never expected to fall completely in love with these J Brand Houlihan Cargo Pants in Vintage Olive! I just got them last week and I have worn them lots already. I had never been a fan of cargo pants since I didn’t really class them as feminine but after seeing these pants on lots of celebs it really changed my mind.”
    So let me get this straight: Cargo pants were not your style, you have never liked cargos, but then you saw a bunch of celebrities wearing cargo pants and now you like them because celebrities wear them? Br your goddamn self for Christ’s sake. That’s fucking pathetic.

  40. Oh by the way, my wife is getting these for her 25th birthday in 2 weeks, and this bullshit makes we want to return them.

  41. Hi, I adore these pants. I just cant find a shop to try these on in Australia, so I am looking online. Im just confused about the sizing in these pants. Im a 26-27 in jeans (I have not tried J brand jeans) and an 8 in brands like Mossimo. What do you recommend? I like them to be relatively fitted, but hate the muffin top? What do you think?

  42. Actually no, you read it wrong, these cargo pants are a new style and a different take on them. Normally cargo pants are baggy and loose and unflattering, however when I saw these being worn by lots of people, they were flattering on them all and I decided to try them as they are different to the normal cargo pants. I love the skinny cargos now. Not just because celebs wear them. If you are a true fan of DenimBlog and read my reviews you will see I have my own denim style.

  43. I have question regarding the size too!
    If I wear R&R and TR 25 they baggy (like boot cut and straight leg) but when I wear 24 they are too tight and uncomfortable… should I buy 24 or 25 for the houlihan?

  44. hi?just discovered yr blog and loving it. i maybe the last one who’s gonna buy my first cargo here but noticed the length of the pants makes a lot difference. does it come in varied length?because above on celebrities, for instance Jessica Alba is taller than Hillary Duff but her pants are longer than them on Hillary. very confused as i don’t want mine to be that much long though..

  45. Hi Monica, they come with a standard inseam, they don’t do varied lengths. I think they look different because maybe one of them has longer legs and a shorter torso or something πŸ™‚

  46. hi lorna,i love your blog and i have a question for you
    I am a 27 in 7 FAM roxanne . What size should i order for the houlihan j brand?

  47. Hi πŸ™‚ I’m glad you love DenimBlog! Are you a 27 in all Roxanne? I think you might be a 27 in the Houlihan too πŸ™‚ It depends if you want a tight fit or a looser one.

  48. Hi:

    I wear abercrombie fitch super skinny in 25, what size do you reccomend if I want it to be tight, not baggy? Thanks

  49. Yes, I can fit 0 in normal american eagle. By the way, what size are you wearing in the picture?

    Thank you for your reply!

  50. I wore a 28, but they were loose and I have them in a size 27 which fit better. I would say they run tts. I’m a 27 in J Brand Houlihan and size 4 in American Eagle if that helps? Maybe try your usual size of 25 and see how that goes? Where did you find them as the Olive wash isn’t around anymore.

  51. I finally got a second-hand one in 24 on ebay. Besides it’s a little bit snug on the waist, everything is perfect (I do like slim fit on the legs), hopefully the waist will stretch somehow….

  52. They will stretch out, mine did about half a size. If they don’t as much as you would like, you can put some water on the waist band and wear them, then tug at it a little bit, they will stretch out then too!

11 Pings & Trackbacks

  1. Pingback:

  2. Pingback:

  3. Pingback:

  4. Pingback:

  5. Pingback:

  6. Pingback:

  7. Pingback:

  8. Pingback:

  9. Pingback:

  10. Pingback:

  11. Pingback: