How Each of the Most Popular Levi’s Jeans Fit IRL


Last year while I was in NYC for work and while catching up with some of my colleagues, the topic of Levi’s jeans 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 jeans fit you can imagine, from its new silhouttes to vintage finds. Plus, the 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 videos to capture them in action, I was surprised to find that my picks were all new styles.

I’m a bona fide 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 the best jeans fits, plus my point of view too. PS: 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 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 my 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 a fan favorite, but I was excited to try Levi’s newer style making waves in the fashion world—the Ribcage…

Levi’s Take: “The Ribcage launched in November 2018, 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 a 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. 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 jeans 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 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. 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. 

Levi’s Take: “We love a good vintage-inspired short pair of shorts à 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. 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 long shorts. All the cooler denim brands are offering their takes, and they’re 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 long shorts 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. My Take: If you are looking for the classic body-hugging vintage jeans that are super popular now, 501 is likely the Levi’s jeans fit you’re after. This pair has been my ride-or-die vintage jeans for several years now. And although they definitely fit my rear end the best, 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.

We love a straight-leg moment.

Two-toned denim is so chic.

This silhouette is everything.

Loose jeans are truly having a moment right now. 

I love a good pair of utility pants. 

The perfect pair of jeans for fall.

All about that crop.

If you still love your skinnies.

These jeans are everything.

Here for this.

I’m obsessed.

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