Skinny jeans have gone through many phases over the years. Originally, jeans had minimal to no stretch, and were made as workwear with a more relaxed fit. They were made to be tough! Despite the fact that the stretchy jeans of today, which were created in part as a response to activewear becoming ultra popular (and giving denim a run for its money), were a huge hit, vintage denim is still preferred by a significant amount of denim fans. Jeans with some stretch definitely prove to be a better and more comfortable fit in most cases, but denim fabric technologies over the years has blurred the lines between jeans and leggings which has turned out to be quite the love/hate ordeal. I personally love a lot of my super soft stretchy jeans that I could take a yoga class in, but after trying a few 100% denim pairs myself, I have to say I get it. A lot of people don’t want skin-tight, figure hugging jeans, and like the durable feel of thick cotton denim.
The Levi’s 501 jean is a relaxed fit that has stood the test of time. As Levi’s began to reinvent themselves to meet the modern demands of the more stretchy styles, many of the fans of the tried and true fits were loud in declaring their love for the originals. Brands like RE/DONE (once called RE/DUN) was born and still thrives off fixing up, re-beautifying and reselling pre-owned genuine vintage Levi’s, and Levi’s itself revamped the 501 jean with new washes and upgraded fits. However, last year the brand responded with something truly innovative which, in my opinion, has kind of taken the denim world by storm and filled a need that we had for quite some time: the 501 Skinny.
I covered the Levi’s 501 Skinny a little bit last year, but never wrote a full post about them. I wanted to try them myself, and I have to say, being a fan of the super stretchy styles, these are some of my all time favorites. Unlike most 100% cotton jeans of yesteryear, these have a modern, upgraded fit that takes most of the pain out of trying to find the perfect vintage jean. No matter what anyone says, skinny jeans will always be “in style,” and the release of this fit has been highly successful. The 501 Skinny comes in a wide variety of washes, and some come in a 1% elastane, 99% cotton fit which feels close enough to the full cotton makeup but with a slightly more comfortable feel. There are even a few selvedge pairs! I own the 501® Skinny in Old Hangouts, a 100% cotton beautiful blue distressed style (shown in the top photo of this post), and the 501® Skinny in Black Coast which has 1% stretch. The latter is now my favorite jean at the moment, and might very well be for a long time! I can’t stop wearing these. As far as fit, they go generally true to size, but I sized down in the 1% elastane version based on reviews. They are high rise just like their originals, with a button fly, and although it can be tricky finding a comfortable high rise, these are classically great and super comfortable. I’m amazed at how flattering they are!
The great thing about shopping Levi’s jeans online is there is a large number of reviews to read before choosing the style and size that will fit you best. Some people claim some fit more relaxed, and some are a bit tighter, so even though it’s not as much of a pain as finding a true vintage jean that fits you right, it can still take some diligence. However, It’s so worth it! Of course, if you have a Levi’s store near you, trying on a few pairs in person is the ultimate way to find your new favorite jean. Check these out if you love skinny jeans but hate the newer stretchy fabrics…I doubt you’ll be disappointed! These are amazing and I’m already craving more!
Shop all Levi’s 501 Skinny jeans, including some sale styles, here!