Looking for new jeans? Read this review of Levi’s 501 ribcage straight-leg jeans before you buy to see if these are right for you!
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Do the perfect pair of jeans exist?
I don’t know, but I’ve heard that Levi’s come pretty close.
I’ve been on the hunt for a good pair of long-lasting jeans for a while now. After watching YouTube videos, reading reviews, and assessing what I wanted out of a good pair of jeans, I decided on Levi’s 501 Ribcage Straight Leg Jean. I picked these up on Amazon, and I wanted to write a long-form review in case you’re interested in picking up a new pair.
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REVIEW: Levi’s 501 Ribcage Straight Leg Jeans
Why this pair?
Levi’s are one of the long-standing champions of denim (heck, they invented it). So when looking for a good pair of jeans, this brand was already front of mind. I wasn’t looking for the cheapest pair of jeans, but rather a good style that will hold their shape and still feel current for years to come. Thankfully, jeans styles don’t change as often as other areas of fashion. This way, I felt comfortable investing a bit more in this pair of jeans knowing they wouldn’t feel tired by fall.
Size purchased: 25
What they’re made of: 85.5% cotton, 13.5% polyester, and 1% elastane
Back: 17 3/8″
I knew I wanted a jean that was super high rise. Over the years I’ve found that this type of rise looks most flattering on my body type, and also comfortable. These jeans are called ribcage because the rise is about an inch above the belly button, and hits right at the bottom of the ribcage. As a result, they stay up well and draw attention to the smallest part of your waist. They also have a 5-button fly, which I love because I don’t have to worry about the dreaded zipper down situation. Plus, a button fly feels a little more high fashion and stays put better.
The Leg Shape
Since I was looking to replace an older pair of essential jeans I had in my closet, and the straight leg is perfect for an anytime jean. While skinny jeans are technically on their way out, wider leg styles are becoming increasingly popular. The straight leg fit bridges the gap between old and new beautifully. This style also pairs well with both sneakers and strappy sandals.
Overall I’m very pleased with the fit of these jeans. I am curvier in the bottom, and tend to gain wait in my thighs and booty and this is always a consideration when picking up new jeans. For this reason, I’m hesitant to pick up rigid denim jeans because I do need them to fit both my waist and my legs, and jeans with no stretch are more of a gamble. At the waist (about an inch above my belly button) these jeans gape slightly, but are still flattering. The elastane in the fabric of the jeans allows them a bit of comfortability and stretch, which I love.
Typically I am between sizes 25 and 26, and since these jeans reportedly run small I opted for a size 25. After agonizing over this decision for about a week (that’s Amazon prime in Hawai’i for ya) they finally arrived. I was surprised to find that not only did these jeans fit well, but with the additional stretch I probably could have sized down to a 24. I’m still very content with the size and fit, however if I choose to order this pair from Amazon again I will definitely try a size 24.
Since I live on an island where summer lasts all year, I wanted a lighter pair that feels casual and breezy. This color is called Worn Out and is true to the photos I posted in this review. They are the perfect mid-wash denim that will easily go with any top you throw at them.
At 5’4″ I’m considered petite, so that is always a concern when buying jeans or pants. I figured these would be a little long and awkward for me, and it turned out I was right. To remedy this I cut about 2″ off of the hem of the jeans and threw them in the wash. The result is a pair of raw hem denim jeans that look like I bought them that way. If you still want the finished hem, you can easily take these to a tailor and have them shorten the leg while keeping the hem.
Buying on Amazon vs. Levi’s Store
Picking these up on Amazon is easy if you’re a regular Amazon shopper. You can pick them up with a Prime membership, and get them in just a few days. While these are Levi’s, the jean material does seem different than what I expected. Most ribcage straight leg jeans on the Levi’s store are 99% cotton and 1% elastane, making them more rigid denim (it will also explicitly say “rigid denim” in the description). The Levi’s that I picked up definitely have a good amount of stretch and are comparable to my favorite Topshop jeans (see them here, here, and here). So if you’re looking for the straightforward rigid denim style of jeans that Levi’s delivers, I would shop on their site or places that carry the rigid Levi’s denim such as Urban Outfitters or Revolve.
These jeans don’t hold their shape as well as I’d hoped. While I am grateful for a little stretch, it does take away from the overall feel of the Levi’s. They aren’t quite the authentic jean I was looking for, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many reviewers also commented on Amazon that these don’t feel quite like other pairs of ribcage jeans that they bought directly from Levi’s. After poring over both sites, it’s clear that the 13.5% polyester in these jeans makes a difference. Comparing jeans on Levi’s versus Amazon, the polyester is what makes the price point slightly lower and provides a different material feel. Personally I don’t think this takes away from the overall quality, but is an important consideration.
Final Thoughts – Levi’s 501 Ribcage Straight Leg Jeans
Overall I’m very pleased with these jeans. While there are a few pain points, I think this was a great purchase for my closet and I can see myself wearing these for years to come. They didn’t fit into the exact place in my closet that I’d planned, but I’m still happy with what I have. I will likely still pick up one or two pairs of rigid Levi’s denim, but it’s nice to have a comfortable pair. These are quickly becoming my favorite everywhere jean, and are a total compliment magnet.