That's what Levi's now says. The brand that first brought denim jeans to consumers nearly 130 years ago says the longtime emphasis on waist-size and silhouette - boot-cut versus skinny-leg, for example - hasn't really given women what they're looking for: jeans that complement their body type.
A new line, called Levi's Curve ID, will, pledges company president Robert Hanson.
"One of the most frustrating things for women is that they are not finding the right jeans for their body," he says, putting jeans in the same shape-sensitive category as bras and swimsuits.
To make his point, Hanson and senior vice president of women's design, You Nguyen, met last week at the Levi's Manhattan office with three models, all fit, trim and a Levi's size 27 waist. Not much else about their figures were similar, though. One woman had a very narrow bottom with only a small difference in width. She typically struggles with pants that, if they fit her in the hips and thigh, are tight around her waist.
Another woman had a more proportional shape, but jeans that fit her in the waist weren't flattering to her hips and thighs. The third had the problem of pants that fit her wider hips and thighs gap at the back of the waistband.
A nice, snug fit
The models were like so many of the 60,000 women around the world that participated in Levi's-sponsored body scans, Hanson says. The dilemma almost always came down to the differential between the waist (which should be measured at the natural waist, the point at which the torso bends), the hips at the spot that is exactly four inches below the waist, and the seat, which is eight inches below that.
Wearing their new Curve ID jeans, the models showed off jeans that hugged but didn't pull nor hang. The rise was different on each pair and so was the placement of the back pocket. One had a thicker waistband, while the contrast stitching stretched down farther on the leg for another.
"These are completely different patterns," says Nguyen.
Still, these women all had enviable shapes - they are models, after all. Wouldn't anything look good on them?
So, they switched them. The narrowest woman, who wore the Slight Curve so well, now had on jeans that were way too high waisted, and the proportional Demi Curve model couldn't button the Bold Curve jeans that had fit the more hourglass-shaped woman. And the Bold model was back to her gaping waistband.
That's where the connection between fashion and self-esteem goes awry, Nguyen says. To look good in your clothes, you have to feel good in them, and to feel good in them, they need to fit, he says.
But not every woman is the same…
The three styles of Curve won't work for every woman, at least not yet, Hanson allows. There's a fourth body type the brand is still working on and hopes to launch by the end of the year. The size range is 22-34, but there are 45 distinct choices - adjusting for curves, leg style and fabric - for each of those waist measurements.
This is a program just for women, one spawned by countless conversations with female customers.
"This is particularly a women's issue because of the diversity in body type," Hanson says. "Men tend to wear jeans that are a little less shape-enhancing, and most men don't want to have a discussion with you about shape and they really don't care."
So it took Levi's more than a century to wake up and see that women aren't all created the same. Does this show progress in the fashion industry?