Recently I was in NYC for work and while catching up with some of my colleagues, the topic of Levi’s jean fits came up. They asked me for any wisdom about which styles were best and what they should look for. The next day, an invitation to come to Coachella with
Levi’s landed in my inbox. Denim destiny? I thought so.
Fast forward a few weeks, and there I was in Palm Desert surrounded by every Levi’s jean fit you can imagine, from their new product to vintage finds. Plus, their design team was on hand to give fit advice and walk us through each and every pair. I tried on a giant stack of jeans—I’m embarrassed to admit I was a bit of a dressing room hog that day, but anything for the story right? After photographing my favorites including some Boomerangs to capture them in action, I was surprised to find that my picks were all new styles. I’m a bonafide
vintage jeans devotee, so this was not what I expected at all. To get more insight into the backstory of each style and how they fit, I sat down with Karyn Hillman, Levi’s Chief Product Officer. Keep reading to hear her take on all of my favorite Levi’s jeans fits, plus my point of view too. P.S.: If you’re thinking about snagging a pair yourself and need a reference point, I’m 5’4’’ and wear a size 26.
Levi’s Take:“The Wedgie is an absolute best-seller. It was really inspired by an ‘80s vintage 501 mashed up with a ‘50s vintage 501, kind of a pin-up jean. The Wedgie is snug throughout the top-block (aka the top section of the jeans) and it nips in throughout. We launched the jean fit with a skinny leg, and when we introduced a straight-leg version (pictured), people loved it. It has the best of both worlds: I’m sexy on top and I’m nipped in, but then has that cool-girl leg shape that’s a little bit more relaxed.” — Karyn Hillman, Levi’s Chief Product Officer
My Take:Even though I knew tons of fashion girls loved the Wedgie, I had actually yet to try it before this trip. The blue pair I tried is 100% cotton, meaning it’s a non-stretch denim, just like my favorite vintage pairs. Because it’s non-stretch, I had to go up a size to get the right fit. The white pair had a bit more stretch, so I could take my normal size 26. The top-block reminded me 100% of how a vintage pair looks and feels, which in my opinion, is hard to find in the denim world. In the non-stretch blue pair, I felt like they flattened by butt just a little, and this is likely because of the material. The white pair with stretch made my rear view a bit more appealing (to myself at least!). I can absolutely see why this style is fan favorite, but I was excited to try their newer style making waves in the fashion world, the Ribcage…
Levi’s Take: “The Ribcage launched in November, and it’s inspired by 501 again, but actually the ‘90s versions of the 501 mashed up with the ‘70s versions of the 501. The Ribcage is the highest rise ever. Compared to the Wedgie, the Ribcage is tad bit more extreme in the uprightness and how it shapes you and holds you in. But also, right at the hip it is a bit straighter and releases a little bit compared to the Wedgie, which nips in at every point.” — Karyn Hillman, Levi’s Chief Product Officer. My Take: At the Levi’s Coachella event I saw people with different shapes, sizes, and style types trying on the Ribcage, and it was surprising how good one jean style looked on everyone. My favorite version was the Ribcage Wide-Leg (pictured), but they also have the Ribcage with other leg silhouettes. I have since incorporated this pair into my top three pairs of jeans on rotation, because I love them so much. The wider leg feels fresh and relaxed compared to a straight leg, but I love that it still has the super tight, high-rise top block that lends some sexiness to the look. These jeans play incredibly well with a cute crop top, and made my butt look shapely, but in a more relaxed way. This exact pair isn’t available yet, but the straight-leg version is shoppable now, which has the same top-block.
Levi’s Take: The Dad Jean is different from the Mom Jean, which is high and nipped at the waist with an extreme taper. The Dad Jean is inspired by how cool girls in the ‘90s wore their 501s upsized with just the right amount of slouch. The Dad Jean is made for today with a rise that sits just below the waist, relaxed through the hip and thigh, and extends into a loose straight leg.” — Karyn Hillman, Levi’s Chief Product Officer. My Take: The Dad Jean definitely has a slouchy cool-girl effect. They’ll probably be your comfiest jeans you own, because they’re not made to fit your body like a second skin. If I was to pick a pair to wear on a flight, they’d definitely be these. They’re not available yet, but will be launching soon.
Levi’s Take:“We love a good vintage inspired short pair of shorts a la the High Rise 501 Short. However, we also have been feeling for a slightly slouchier fit with a longer length, hitting around mid-thigh, which is why we created the super easy and effortless Slouch Short.” — Karyn Hillman, Levi’s Chief Product Officer. My Take: As someone whose job it is to identify trends before they blow up, I can say with confidence that Levi’s is smart for getting in on the long short. All the cooler denim brands are offering their take, and it’s poised to give short shorts a run for their money. I liked that this pair is just loose enough so they’re not like denim bike shorts, but are still tight enough to make a long short flattering on me.
Levi’s Take:“Of all vintage jeans, the iconic Levi’s 501 are the most sought-after jeans in the world. If you want to try another vintage cut, we are also obsessed with the 517, a classic bootcut popular in the ‘70s. Bootcuts are universally flattering, and we’ve introduced several bootcut and flares into the line, from a sexy Ribcage Split Flare and Ribcage Cropped Flare to our beautiful 715 Bootcut.” — Karyn Hillman, Levi’s Chief Product Officer. My Take:If you are looking for the classic body-hugging vintage jeans that are super popular now, 501 is likely the Levi’s jean fit you’re after. You can see from the rear-view shot that it makes my butt look the most lifted and full of any of the styles. Although full disclosure, I have had this pair altered to custom fit my body. If you’re in L.A., the geniuses at Denim Revival are experts at this. You can see how they took in the jeans in the back, making the back pockets closer together for an ultra-snug fit. This pair has been my ride-or-die vintage jeans for several years now. And although they definitely make the booty pop the most, this also means they’re so tight that I won’t wear them when I want to be super comfortable. After trying the Ribcage style, I had the realization that my go-to vintage 501s were perhaps trying a bit too hard for that perfect butt-hugging look. It’s obvious they are tight with a capital T. Perhaps that’s why the slightly subtler, though definitely still appealing, rear view the Ribcage provides has become my new favorite.
Next up, check out the new trends everyone is wearing with jeans.