When I reviewed Levi’s 511 Skinny Commuter Jeans for men in 2011, I really liked the features of the pants, and so I wasn’t alone in asking: When will Levi’s introduce a women’s version?
The answer is now. The denim giant has launched the Levi’s Commuter Skinny Jean for women as part of a new denim and apparel collection for female cyclists. It’s meant to blend performance and style in clothing essentials for women (like us!) who make cycling, for commuting or just getting around town, part of their daily lives.
The Commuter jean, available in three colors, stays true to the spirit of the now-classic men’s version, but incorporates subtle changes based on testing among women cyclists, according to the company. Among these are a closer-to-the-body fit, a higher rise in the back for coverage, and adjustments in the pitch of the pant (angle from front to back) to fit a woman’s figure and form on a bike.
Levi’s Commuter Skinny Jeans for women in cityscape, $88
It Starts With the Fabric
Lead designer for the line Sally Leon says form follows function.
“We work on Commuter in a different way from a fashion collection,” Leon told the company’s blog. “Instead of starting from ethereal inspiration, we begin with fabric innovation concepts.
“A lot of R&D time goes into the fabrics for the line,” she continues. “Nothing is off the shelf — every fabric is designed from scratch and rigorously tested.”
For the jeans, that means lightweight, breathable fabric with a hint of stretch (94 percent cotton, 4 percent polyester and 2 percent elastane) and reinforcement for durability and comfort, a finish that repels moisture and dirt, and a 3M reflective strip at the out-seam for night safety. Denim shorts with similar features also are included.
Leon says the Commuter line for women is part of a wider focus on how women wear jeans and how the company can introduce new concepts to appeal to women.
From left: Levi’s Commuter Water Proof Windbreaker, $358, and Levi’s Commuter Lightweight Windbreaker, $138
The collection is rounded out with versatile basics that sport bike-friendly features, including two windbreakers with deep pockets and a stowable hood, one water resistant, and the other wind- and water-proof. Two styles of shirts have a buttoned down front placate, a drop hem for coverage at the back and a center pleat at the upper back to make it easier to reach to the handlebar.
From left: Levi’s Commuter One Pocket Shirt, $78 and Levi’s Commuter Button Down Shirt, $68
Inspired by Urban Cyclists
Levi’s perhaps originated the “performance” category when it created the first pair of riveted work pants in 1871. Fast-forward 140 years, and the company launched the Commuter line for men in 2011 in recognition of the growing popularity of urban cycling for transportation. The Commuter jean drew inspiration from the fixed-gear set, incorporating features like a hidden U-lock holster on the waistband. Levi’s subsequently expanded the line with additional styles of trousers, shorts, shirts and jackets. The men’s Commuter assortment currently comprises 19 pieces; gents can check out new arrivals for spring here.
I’m delighted to be among the first test-riders of the women’s Commuter jeans (below), and I’ll report back after I’ve worn them for a while in my daily travels around the NYC bike lanes. BTW, the company is celebrating the launch with community events in New York, Portland, San Francisco and Chicago. You can sign up for email updates here.
Photos: Levi’s; #commuter box above, velojoy