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Founded in 1853 in San Francisco, Levi's, founded by Levi Strauss, introduced the world to a novel trouser style specifically designed for workers—the riveted 501 jeans. A favorite amongst denim-loving editors, jean devotees, and everyone and anyone on the hunt for the best jeans, the style was (and still is) one of the best jeans, crafted from a durable twill or cotton blend fabric. In May of 1873, the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office made the design official and yielded a patent to Strauss, giving their stamp of approval on the first official blue jean.
Fast forward 149 years later, and the Levi's name still stands strong. Today, they've perfected hundreds of different iterations of the classic five-pocket 501 styles, alongside a host of other silhouettes— from tapered to high-waisted (opens in new tab) to wide-leg jeans in washes ranging from quintessential indigo dyes to acid washes. While everyone has their jean preferences, Levi's continues to hold a place in our jean-loving hearts. Their ongoing dedication to a more sustainable denim future aims to help keep denim a part of your wardrobe without harming the planet.
Whether you stand by your beloved skinny jeans or prefer to wear jeans that have had a previous life cycle, we've broken down six of the best Levi denim styles out there with input from Jill Guenza, Levi Strauss & Co's. Global VP of Women's Design (opens in new tab). Once you've found the pair that suits you best, scroll down to the bottom for pro-care tips.
Levi's 720 High-Rise Super Skinny
There's been much debate over Gen Z's aversion to the skinny denim style. Still, skinny-jean loyalists will argue that the super slim style, narrow through the leg and often high-waisted, is one of the most flattering pairs of Levi's jeans out there.
"Levi's 720 High-Rise Super Skinny jeans are stretchy and comfortable. They wear similar to leggings but look like real jeans and show off curves in the best ways," says Guenza. Made from a combination of cotton,TENCEL™ Lyocell, polyester, and elastane, 720s have plenty of stretch capabilities, but "what differentiates this style is that they're reminiscent of vintage Levi's," Gueza explains.
Levi's 312 Shaping Slim
Another style to add to your jeans vocabulary is slim-fit jeans, which offer support with shape-enhancing stretch panels. They're one of Levi's most reliable denim varieties and are designed to provide comfort all day long.
"The Levi's 312 Shaping Slim jeans have a flattering slim leg made with an innovative tummy-slimming panel that subtly smooths the body," says Guenza. "We use soft, stretchy fabric that makes the 312s one of the most comfortable jean styles."
Levi's Wedgie Taper
A tapered jean gradually narrows at the ankle, offering a sleek style that differs from skinny jeans. Primarily consisting of high-waisted styles, Levi's tapered fit is an ideal silhouette for casual Fridays at the office.
"Let me start by saying that every girl should have a pair of the Wedgie!" Guenza says. "Inspired by vintage Levi's, the Wedgie has an authentic denim character that molds to your body, giving your backside a little lift," she explains.
Levi's 715 Bootcut
Levi's 715 styles have a mid-weight denim fabric with a slight stretch for comfort and a practical five-pocket design. "The original bootcut jeans were created for cowboys looking for slim-fitting jeans that flared at the bottom to fit over their boots," explains Guenza. "As the world soon discovered, the bootcut silhouette is extremely flattering to a wide range of body shapes. We've designed our Levi's 715 Bootcut to be the perfect blend of authentically-textured, stretchy fabric with styling that references our original bootcut jeans from the '70s," she says.
Levi's 501 Original
Own and wear a slice of history with the first blue jean style, the 501, Guenza's favorite style developed by Levi Strauss in 1873. The most iconic denim to date, the 501 continues to reinvent itself as the years go on.
"The Levi's 501 Original is our number one fan favorite and for a good reason: they are iconic (and worn by icons), comfortable, super versatile, and work on a wide range of shapes and sizes," Gueza says.
While there are two main 501 fits: the 501 Original and the 501 Skinny, Levi's most recent 501 '90s jean has a slightly slouchier fit. "We offer them in a few inseam lengths and almost any finish and jean shade you could dream of, including with and without perfectly worn-in holes. They are available in 100 percent cotton for that classic 501 look and with a bit of stretch for ultimate comfort."
Levi's Vintage Jeans
Levi's secondhand initiative provides their denim lovers with a sustainable denim option that helps contribute to more a circular fashion industry. Their vintage styles gain more character with every new wear. "Levi's SecondHand includes jeans and jackets that have been broken in, making them better and better with time," says Guenza. "Repurposing and repairing clothes requires minimal additional energy input, no water, and no dyes. Buying a used pair of Levi's jeans through our SecondHand program is sustainable and allows you to find that rare jean that no one else has."
How to Care for Your Levi's Jeans
"I give people three "to-do's" to help their denim last longer," says Guenza. "First, wash your jeans less. You should be washing your denim once every ten wears, at most! Secondly— line-dry. Dryers are jeans' enemies, so instead, hang them to dry to avoid breaking down the lint in your jeans. When you do wash your jeans, wash them in cold water. That will help keep them in their original color and avoids shrinkage," she explains.