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Levi's Buying Guide for Men

Updated on March 15, 2016
Levi's is a company that has churned out one classic pair of jeans after another.
Levi's is a company that has churned out one classic pair of jeans after another.

"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

leg opening
16" to 17"
100% cotton
straight, regular
athletic & timeless
16 1/2"
straight, regular
modern & classic
13 1/2"
always some elastic
super skinny & slim
form-fitting; rock star
14 1/2"
always some elastic
slim; metrosexual
16 1/2
slim & straight
slim & straight
18 1/4"
100% cotton
boot cut
modern cowboy
16 1/2"
100% cotton
relaxed & tapered
100% cotton
comfortable & tapered
comfort fit
Levi's come in a wide array of size, style, and color options. You can get them in various different weights of denim: some 100% cotton and some with spandex. They're even available with holes already worn into the fabric.
Levi's come in a wide array of size, style, and color options. You can get them in various different weights of denim: some 100% cotton and some with spandex. They're even available with holes already worn into the fabric. | Source

Which Levi's Fit Me Best?

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 are just like the original 501s but with modernized legs. Because one of the main alterations guys were having done to their old 501s was having the legs tapered, Levi's did it for us here.

501 Original Fit
501 Original Fit

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.

505 Regular Fit
505 Regular Fit

510 Super Skinny Jean

With a very skinny and an 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.

510 Skinny Fit
510 Skinny Fit

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.

511 Slim Fit
511 Slim Fit

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.

514 Straight Legs
514 Straight Legs

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.

527 Slim Boot Cut
527 Slim 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 denims 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.

550 Relaxed Fit
550 Relaxed Fit

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 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.

560 Comfort Fit
560 Comfort Fit
Levi's Fit Guide
Levi's Fit Guide | Source

Which Levi's Do You Wear?

Which style fits you best?

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Browse Levi's Styles Online Now


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    • Husky1970 5 years ago

      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.

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      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.


    • Lisa 3 years ago

      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?

    • Dave Neame 3 years ago

      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)

    • Rayne 4 months ago

      Thank you very much for putting up this article. Very helpful!

    • Silverbulletca 5 weeks ago

      Will you please update the chart to include the new Men's 512 courdoroy?

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