A Breakdown of the Best Levi's Jeans for Women

Whether you're getting into your 'Cowboy Carter' era or refreshing your wardrobe basics.

Beyonce wears all denim ahead of 'Cowboy Carter' release date
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Founded by Levi Strauss in 1853, Levi's 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 most revered, 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 to wide-leg jeans in washes ranging from quintessential indigo dyes to acid washes. They're also a celebrity favorite. What feels like every major model (Hailey! Kendall! Bella!) owns several pairs of vintage 501s; Beyoncé's new country album Cowboy Carter includes a four-minute ode to a love that feels as good as each pair looks. (Naturally, it's titled "Levii's Jeans.")

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, and Marie Claire's Fashion Features Editor, Emma Childs. Once you've found the pair that suits you best, scroll down to the bottom for pro-care tips.

The Best Levi's Jeans

Levi's 501 Original

Own and wear a slice of history with the first blue jean style, the 501. Developed by Levi Strauss in 1873, the most iconic denim to date continues to reinvent itself as the years go on. And it happens to be a personal favorite across Team Marie Claire, too: "I own a pair of vintage 501s and can wholeheartedly attest to their appeal," shares Marie Claire's Childs. "The straight-leg silhouette and 100-percent cotton fabrication offer a laidback, casual effect while the high-waist ensures the bottoms feel put-together and never sloppy.

Gueza chimes in: "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."

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. "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.

They're one of Levi's most reliable denim varieties and, as Childs can attest, are designed to provide comfort all day long. "When I want an easy wear but won't allow myself to leave the house in sweatpants, I'll slip on my stretchy yet slimming pair of 312s," she shares. "I team mine with ballet flats and a baggy turtleneck for a low-effort outfit that yields a high-impact look. I call it: 'work smarter, not harder' styling."

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. Guenza specifically shouts out one style: "Let me start by saying that every girl should have a pair of the Wedgie!" she expresses about the best-selling style. "Inspired by vintage Levi's, the Wedgie has an authentic denim character that molds to your body, giving your backside a little lift."

Levi's 715 Bootcut

Another cult favorite from Levi's is the 715 styles, which 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 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. "As a girl who values secondhand clothing over fresh-off-the-runway-or-rack pieces, I hold my vintage Levi's near and dear to my heart," gushes Childs. Plus, scooping up a pre-loved pair ensures yours are one-of-a-kind. "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," Guenza points out.

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.

Meet the Denim Expert

Jill Guenza
Jill Guenza

Jill Guenza is the Global VP of Women's Design at Levi Strauss & Co. She's worked at the denim brand for 19 years in other positions, such as Senior Designer and Global Design Director.

Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director for Marie Claire, where she's worked alongside the publication for eight years in various roles, ensuring the brand's fashion content continues to inform, inspire, and shape the conversation about fashion's ever-evolving landscape. With a degree from the Missouri School of Journalism, Sara is responsible for overseeing a diverse fashion content mix, from emerging and legacy designer profiles to reported features on the influence of social media on style and seasonal and micro trends across the world's fashion epicenters in New York, Milan, and Paris. Before joining Marie Claire, Sara held fashion roles at Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine and Self Magazine and was a style and travel contributor to Equinox's Furthermore website. Over her decade of experience in the fashion industry, Sara has helped guide each brand's style point of view, working alongside veteran photographers and stylists to bring editorial and celebrity photo shoots to fruition from start to finish. Sara currently lives in New York City. When she's not penning about fashion or travel, she’s at the farmer’s market, on a run, working to perfect her roasted chicken recipe, or spending time with her husband, dog, and cat. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork