My relationship with jeans has been a loooong hard road, with so many highs and lows that it often feels like a love affair which turned terribly sour. I pretty much only ever wore jeans until my body shape changed so much that it didn’t fit into any at all, no matter the brand or the cut, so I stopped wearing them. I swung right over to always wearing dresses and skirts… and pretended it was my choice.
But that’s not really good enough is it? And in recent years I have again and again tried jeans from a variety of plus brands, always optimistic but usually disappointed. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I declared something ‘the one’ with regards to denim. I settled for jeggings for a long time, because I thought I had to, and I then advocated hard for the Simply Be High Waisted Lucy jeans for a while. Admittedly, the Lucy jeans were the closest I’d ever come to ‘perfect denim’… but they’re not denim, they’re a thin stretch cotton.
Just as I was beginning to give up hope again, Levi’s – the brand I wore and loved as a teenager – brought out their new plus size range and changed my life.
Is it a bit silly to say that a brand changed my life by finally making something that will fit me as a fat person? Possibly… there is a lot going on in the world after all, but it’s how I feel ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I’ve definitely been missing out on a huge piece of the style pie because I haven’t been able to find good jeans to wear; my casual wardrobe hasn’t been what I want it to be for over a decade and I’ve been making do with ‘okay but not quite right’.
WELL NOT ANY MORE.
So, let’s talk about these jeans. The first pair I tried were the Levi’s Plus 314 Straight Leg Jeans in Water Crackle (so, like, blue) and oh my god do they fit well. I was a little apprehensive at first, as after ordering my regular size I saw reviews recommending that you size up at least once but it turns out I needn’t have worried. For my body shape I found them to be very true to size: I’m somewhere between hourglass and apple (I hate these terms and I’m so sorry for using them but I guess they’re useful here). Anyway, I found them to be comfortable around the waist and accommodating for my lower belly… not to mention how great they make my ass look!
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These 314’s – being straight cut – have a wonderfully relaxed fit from the hips down, there is so much room for my legs! The material is thick but not stiff, with the expected reinforced stitching and some big back pockets (I’ve never understood why the back pockets on own brand plus jeans are generally so small??). The only caution I have is with the leg length: make sure you double check it as I ended up with a 30″ inside leg which is too short. I’m a turn up’s kinda gal so in everyday life it doesn’t matter, but Levi’s do offer multiple lengths in their plus styles so there’s no need to settle for a 30″ leg if you need more or less.
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Next up are the Levi’s Plus 311 Skinny Jeans in black. I was most excited about these ones to be honest, as black skinny jeans are extremely my jam; I’d live in them if I could…. and now it looks like I can! All the features I love about the straight leg jeans are present in the skinnies too: thick material, big back pockets, reinforced stitching, attention to detail. The evidence that the range might just be great across all the styles is starting to stack up!
Again these fit very well, just like the 314’s they are a classic mid-rise, which I don’t normally go for but turned out to be incredibly comfortable. I found the leg length to be better on the black pair too, although technically the same inside leg measurement, the 311’s feel longer.
One thing to note, these aren’t super tight skinny jeans, there is definitely room to spare on the thighs and down to the ankle. I’m happy with this as it’s a great mid point between skin tight and relaxed fit which I’m very much enjoying, plus my chunky calves are grateful for the extra room. However, if you’re after a very close fitted all the way down kind of deal, then perhaps the Plus Size Levis’s 310 Super Skinnies would be a better bet.
To find one pair of jeans online that you just buy in your usual size, arrive at your door, and have them fit brilliantly is rare; to have that happen with two different pairs… well, that’s simply never happened to me before. At around £70 a pop, these jeans aren’t the most affordable, but from my time wearing Levi’s when I was younger I remember these last for absolute years. I can’t comment on the longevity of the plus range just yet, but I’m very interested to see if they are still as durable as ever and I will revisit this post to update if and when they give out on me.
So what am I saying? Am I about to (once again) declare something as my definitive, ride or die denim? YES. Do I mean it this time? ALSO YES. There is not one feature of either pair that I am compromising on – even the slightly short legs just make cuffing them easier – there’s nothing that makes me think ‘oh, these’ll do’, I feel like I’ve arrived at my dream denim which makes me the happiest little clam.
You can currently get your hands on the plus size Levi’s range from the Levi’s site and a variety of retailers; including Navabi, ASOS, Simply Be (and all the other JDWilliams companies), La Redoute, Curvissa, Amazon and I’ve even seen some in Debenhams.