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Which Levi's Fit Me Best?
"Which Levi's should I buy?" is a common question. Levi's is constantly inventing new styles and cuts to accommodate today's taste, and it's hard to keep track of all the new options. Plus, the style that fit you perfectly three years ago might not look so great now, since styles (and bodies) change!
Take it from me: I know how hard it is to find the right pair of jeans, and I also know what looks good. Men, make sure you read this buying guide before you buy your next pair of Levi's. Below, you'll find the perfect cut for your body type, attitude, and style.
Your Levi's Style Guide-at-a-Glance
16" to 17"
athletic & timeless
modern & classic
always some elastic
super skinny & slim
form-fitting; rock star
always some elastic
slim & straight
slim & straight
relaxed & tapered
comfortable & tapered
501 Original Fit Jean
501s are what legends are made of and can be worn by almost all body types and sizes because they are not too tight and not too loose, either. There are two types of 501s: original (with a 16" leg opening) and shrink-to-fit (17" leg opening), but both are made of 100% cotton, sit just below the waist, and have a button-fly style that is timeless and evergreen. 501s are a must-have in every man's wardrobe.
- Body type: Will look best on men with athletic body types.
- Attitude: No-frills, no-nonsense jeans with a raw attitude. If you are a guy who likes bling, this style is not for you.
- Your style: This cut has not gone out of vogue for decades and probably never will.
- First impression: At first glance, you'll look like a normal guy with a timeless sense of style.
- Peculiarities: Make sure which style you're getting (original or shrink-to-fit). Also, the new 501 CT is just like the original 501s but with modernized legs. Because one of the main alterations guys were having done to their old 501s were having the legs tapered, Levi's did it for us here.
505 Regular Fit Jean
Sitting just below the waist with a 16 1/2" leg opening, the 505 is another no-nonsense pair of jeans which lessen the chances of you mucking up your style quotient. As the name suggests, these are a straight-fit jean with a classic style. It has a zip fly and a slimmer leg that modernizes the cut without making it skinny. This style is sometimes made with a bit of elastane mixed in with the cotton, so the denim has a bit of stretch.
- Body type: Will suit men with all body types.
- Attitude: The 505 is the best friend of a guy who hates spending time deciding what to wear.
- Your style: Being a classic, this cut can be worn in almost all types of occasions and in all seasons.
- First impression: Having a very down-to-earth style quotient, you may want to top these off with a nice shirt or else their first impression may be a bit too down-to-earth.
- Peculiarities: None.
510 Super Skinny Jean
With a very skinny and extremely slim cut (a 13 1/2" leg opening), 510s will be worn only by men who want a very tight fit. They're made with a bit of stretchy spandex in the weave to make them even more form-fitting. Sitting below the waist and narrow through the entirety of the legs, 510s are skinny indeed.
- Body type: For men with a small frame.
- Attitude: Great for guys who have a rebellious attitude.
- Your style: Suits a youthful, trendy guy who has a daring sense of style.
- First impression: With the 510, you can have that young, hip, "I don't care" look.
- Peculiarities: Although the 510 will stretch, they are extremely skinny and narrow, one of Levi's slimmest-fitting cuts. These simply won't fit guys with bigger body types.
511 Slim Fit Jean
Extremely popular and one of Levi's best-selling pairs of slim-fit jeans, the 511 seems to be the choice of the man of the 21st century. They have a 14 1/2" leg opening and are a bit loose at the top, slim at the thigh, and skinny as they go down. A bit of elastane in the weave gives them their stretch.
- Body type: The 511 will look best on slim bodies but will also complement athletic body types.
- Attitude: A person with an up-to-date style.
- Your style: Suits a man who is really fashion-conscious.
- First impression: If groomed well, a guy wearing 511s gives a metrosexual impression.
- Peculiarities: None.
514 Slim Straight Leg Jean
Slim and straight is the motto of the 514. They have a slimmer but aren't skinny. The waistband falls on the hips rather than on the waist, the leg opening is 16 1/2", they're straight-legged, and a slim fit make this jean a must-buy for men who like to deviate a bit from the comfort-over-style old-school denim but are wary of skinny jeans. Some 514s are 100% cotton, some have some man-made stretchy stuff in the weave.
- Body type: The 514 will look best on athletic or slim bodies.
- Attitude: Complements a cool attitude.
- Your style: Not baggy but not skinny, the 514 is just right.
- First impression: A guy who cares about his style and looks, but never goes overboard with fashion trends.
- Peculiarities: 514s have one of the lowest rises of all Levi's.
527 Low Rise Boot Cut
Featuring the infamous boot cut style, the 527 will sit just below your waist and will maintain a regular fit until your thighs, after which they form the boot cut. The 527s are comfortable and relaxed. Designed for the modern cowboy, the wider boot-cut leg leaves room for your cowboy boots. The leg opening is 18 1/4" and most are made of 100% cotton.
- Body type: Although they will suit almost all body types, men with larger frames should avoid the boot cut style.
- Attitude: For those with a calm and peaceful attitude.
- Your style: The boot-cut fashion is slowly fading away. However, the 527 is not too wide at the bottom, so you will have a retro, yet fashionable look.
- First impression: Pair the 527s with the right accessories or you may end up looking like a rock star from the 70s.
- Peculiarities: Boot cut.
550 Relaxed Fit Jean
With a 16 1/2" leg opening and a tapered leg, these are easy to wear. No, you will not have to adjust your denim if you find yourself sitting in a small seat, nor will you have to worry about feeling stuffy on a sunny day. True to their name, 550s are casual, relaxed, traditional, 100% cotton, and fit comfortably any and every time.
- Body type: Look best on men with an average body type, not too slim and not too bulky.
- Attitude: Portray an old-school attitude because the back of the waistband tends to sit higher than other Levi's.
- Your style: Fits those whose sense of style is relaxed and carefree.
- First impression: Hate to say it, but these jeans can go dangerously wrong and may give a nerdy look if not paired with the right t-shirt or shirt.
- Peculiarities: As mentioned, the 550 tends to sit higher at the back. If you're looking for a younger, fresher, low-slung cut, stay away from these.
560 Comfort Fit Jean
The 560 is often pegged as the most relaxed style the brand has ever offered. Your search for comfortable 100% cotton jeans that don't look too baggy ends here, because the 560s have a tapered leg and a 16" leg opening.
- Body type: 560s will look best on a heavy body type.
- Attitude: For men with a super attitude and a happy outlook.
- Your style: Forget style, comfort is the name of the game here, gentlemen.
- First impression: Mr. Happy if paired with a spunky t-shirt, or Mr. Gangster if sagging and paired with an extra-large t-shirt and a gangster cap.
- Peculiarities: Extremely spacious.
Craig SCHUTTE on February 29, 2020:
Win on December 17, 2019:
No mention if the 505 "Regular Fit Advanced Stretch".
quester on December 04, 2019:
560 is no longer made, they have nothing to compare
found through trial and error LL Bean relaxed fit to be the closest to the 560
Sharon Cottler on November 12, 2019:
Wow, Amazing Guideline Thank You so much.
Paul Harris on July 08, 2019:
I have a pair of black 519 Levi’s,but you don’t mention that cut,Why?
Juan on June 22, 2019:
I wear 569 but looks like is not good for me anymore
AC on June 01, 2019:
You forgot 502’s! MY favorite
dikgole on May 02, 2019:
is there number 522?
Tom Martz on April 03, 2019:
What about 502
Giorgi Gagnidze on December 14, 2018:
BC on October 25, 2018:
501 Old school pants forever. Thx ;)
Tom Rowland on May 16, 2018:
Need 38-29 but no saggy seat and tighter thigh..
Johnny Vandegrift on April 08, 2018:
What do you call the color of jeans that’s like new denim not pre washed
martin B. on May 08, 2017:
Oh geez...what "rock star" idiocy on the 527. An 18.25 inch leg opening is nowhere near the flare pants of the 70s. For that you need something north of 21". The overt move toward pencil thin (at the ankle) jeans has made it impossible to find any pair of BLACK jeans that are wider than 18.5". Most are slim-straight or slim-skinny. This means for those who fashion a pair of jeans that actually covers the damn shoe you are pretty much SOL. The longer the shoe, the more ridiculous skinny pants look...at least to me...maybe like Ronald McDonald the clown...or like Martin Landau looked in X-Files "Fight The Future". Finally, I have worn 517s (same 18.25 leg opening) at work for years and they look nowhere close to 70s-era bell-bottoms...especially once they shrink the hell up. The silhouette looks straight from ass to floor. My BKE Fultons still have trouble looking not straight even with a 20" leg opening...such is the nature of size 11 shoes...which look like boats if you are not careful.
Kyle Sheeran on March 06, 2017:
What do you think about this pair of jeans?? Its the first time I am purchasing online so I need another opinion.
Silverbulletca on December 11, 2016:
Will you please update the chart to include the new Men's 512 courdoroy?
Rayne on September 05, 2016:
Thank you very much for putting up this article. Very helpful!
Dave Neame on July 27, 2013:
Man' thank you so much, I haven't had a clue what jeans were what re Levi's for ages! Either the jeans were half way up my stomach like my grandpa's or I can't fit into the legs as I'm a well built guy. I am grateful for some explanation thanks. I prefer the waistband to not be so high and I like a stretch jean for comfort in the thigh area if possible. The last ones I tried to buy were for the thinner legged guy, I have larger legs and cannot fit the 'skinny jean' style. I would love some assistance please. Many thanks, Dave (Sussex, England)
Lisa on May 16, 2013:
Looking for levis for my husband who has a large waist (40) but has no rear end and skinny bird legs. Can you help me with which Levi's to buy?
princesswithapen (author) on October 03, 2011:
That's right, the 501s are really what a simple and great pair of jeans should be and they fit well on men with athletic bodies. I'm glad you found this hub useful, Husky.
Husky1970 on October 02, 2011:
Being athletic and not caring for bling, I guess I have to go for the classic 501. So, I'm just a regular guy with a simple sense of style. Thanks for this useful hub for guys, princesswithapen. Voted accorsingly.