At long last, Levi Strauss & Co. has created a bike commuter clothing collection for women. The men’s collection has been out several years and is quite popular, but women who bike have long asked why the denim giant neglected their market. Now there is no need to ask – it has arrived with several pieces, everyday basics including the jeans, shorts, a few shirts and some jackets, even a classic denim jacket. All are styled like classic Levi’s products in basic colors for everyday wear.
I received a pair of the Commuter Skinny Jeans in “Cityscape,” a classic dark denim color; they are also available in gray and black. I went a size up and still found them to be initially a bit too skinny, although wearing and washing them repeatedly has broken them in enough to be comfortable. The biggest difference with the fit of these jeans is that not only is the waist high in the back for better coverage, but the front is high as well. The cut of the legs is so skinny that I have to peel them off my calves, but they are not uncomfortable.
To the chagrin of many women, these bike commuter jeans are lacking in many of the bike features that the men’s jeans have, specifically no U-lock loop nor a reinforced crotch. The outside seams have reflective trim on the inside, visible when the pants are cuffed, and the lined back pockets are deeper than most jeans. They also feature what Levi’s calls “Ecropel,” a water-resistant technology, and claim to be odor repellent as well. The denim isn’t as stretchy as expected, so initially a bit stiff on the bike, but has broken in just fine. I don’t want to test out the odor repellent feature, but that may be important to some. The water repellent finish didn’t repel dog slobber, by the way.
I personally find these jeans to be extremely flattering, and quite on trend, as high-waisted jeans are creeping back into style. The high waist seems to slim my hips, and the deeper back pockets tend to be flattering on most women as well. I wish I had a longer length (the website shows that a longer inseam was once available but is no longer). Shorter women have expressed regret that there is not a more petite version as well. They do not look like “bike commuter” jeans, and even the sleek black leather Levi’s patch on the back right hip is subtle and more chic than traditional Levi’s jeans. These you can wear out and not feel like you are in your weekend jeans!
These jeans are priced at £80/$88, a fairly average price for good jeans. The denim doesn’t seem to be the highest quality denim, and in fact left my legs blue the first few times I wore them, from the dye. But as I’ve washed them, the denim has softened and no longer leaves me blue, so they have become more like the good jeans I owned long ago. I assume that these jeans will last me for a while, although I’ll have to keep an eye on the crotch – the fact that it’s not reinforced, even at that price, is a bit disappointing.
I don’t consider these to be the highest quality jeans on the market, even on the bike jeans market, but they are definitely the most flattering – the ones I want to wear out on date night. The denim isn’t high end Japanese denim, but it doesn’t need to be. I wish the reflective detailing on the seams was of higher quality; it’s just painted on rather than stitched-on fabric. That being said, I feel that I can make these my everyday jeans and not worry about anything happening to them. And I’ll know that I look good in them, and isn’t that what we all want from a pair of jeans?
You can read more from Elizabeth on her blog, tinlizzieridesagain.