Levi's 300 Shaping Series Jeans Review

The Bottom Line

Levi's 300 Series Shaping jeans
Levi's 300 Series Shaping jeans. Levi Strauss & Co.

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The Levi's 300 Shaping Series of jeans -- marketed under the tagline, "Own what you got" -- is designed to act like shapewear to flatter real women's bodies, by flattening the tummy, lifting the seat, and lengthening your legs. But do these jeans actually do what the brand claims?

Made from sturdy, high-quality denim, Levi's 300 Shaping Series jeans may feel a bit stiffer than many the jeans you're used to, but the heavier denim fabric also means they're built to last.

This high quality denim construction, plus smart seaming and a healthy degree of stretch in the fabric, help these jeans to deliver on the brand's promise of streamlining your natural figure, so you can feel more comfortable about your shape in jeans.

Every pair of jeans in the 300 Shaping series are strategically designed to suck you in and lift you up where you need it most, but they are fitted to your curves rather than squeezing them, making them appropriate for wearing to the office, as well as for all your casual and dressier occasions. Curvier women will especially appreciate the comfort-stretch fabric and contour waistband that helps to contain a tummy, while providing ample coverage in the rear end.

Because most women today stock their wardrobe with different styles of denim, from skinny jeans to wider-hemmed styles, the 300 Shaping Series offers Levi's customers the latest body shaping technology from the brand in a variety of stylish fits and fabric washes, including attractive plus-size options.

 Levi's 300 Shaping Series jeans come in a wide variety of styles from skinny to boot cut, and your choice of dark wash, black denim and faded vintage shades. They retail for an attractive price point, too -- these jeans are a great value, starting at about $65.00.

Pros

  • Shaping technology provides figure control in targeted areas
  • Back pocket placement is flattering to wider bottoms
  • Great range of denim styles, including super-skinny legging, skinny, slim, straight and boot cut
  • Available in different fabric washes, from light to dark
  • Plus sizes of all styles available, up to size 24
  • Different leg lengths available (from 28 to 34 inches)
  • Durable denim fabric is made to last
  • Excellent price for the denim quality

Cons

  • Stiff denim may feel a bit rough (find out how to soften stiffer denim jeans here)
  • Fabric dye bleeding (darker denim blends only)

Expert Review

These Levi's jeans offer a real denim fit innovation from the brand that invented jeans. Back in 2010, Levi's launched a Curve ID collection of jeans, marketing fits that match a woman's specific degree of curviness. In 2015, Levi's took this innovation one step further by introducing a new body-shaping technology and launching the 300 Shaping Series of jeans.

The secret to Levi's 300 Shaping Series is in the brand's strategic approach to body contouring. Levi's customized shaping technology is applied to the stretch denim fabric, to regulate the level of stretch in targeted areas. This provides a structure to the jeans and creates a figure-hugging shape, rather than uniform stretch.

In this way, these Levi's jeans are like actual shapewear, with invisible panels of fabric designed to attack "problem" body areas, especially in the tummy and hip areas.

I shop-tested this jean by using the Levi's website to select my ideal 300 Shaping Series jeans by sorting through a number of features, including size, fit (aka skinny, straight leg, etc.), length and fabric color. My selection was a skinny jean in the brand's "Lived In" wash, a perfect medium blue.

These jeans have a higher rise than I'm used to wearing -- while they're sold as a mid-rise fit, the 300 Shaping Skinny has a waistband that sits slightly below my belly button in front -- but this jeans construction does help to suck in the stomach area. I definitely noticed my tummy sticking out less than usual after a big lunch (which I loved), so I can vouch for the brand's claim that these jeans control your middle.

I also liked the Shaping Skinny's contour waistband, which not only creates a slimming effect but prevents gapping at the waist, even if your waist-to-hip ratio is on the high side, so I didn't accidentally flash by backside when sitting down at a coffee shop in these jeans. Because these jeans feature a higher rise in back (about an inch higher on my body), these jeans also made my flattish rear end look curvier, which has actually convinced me to seek out other higher-waisted jeans for my figure. While these jeans didn't do much to lift my butt much at the bottom, the back pocket placement -- close together, and angled inward -- is a genius touch for making the backside look less wide. (Get more tricks here for choosing jeans thatl make your butt look great).

While I found these jeans fairly comfortable overall, I was always aware that I was wearing jeans. By that, I mean the jeans are stiffer than my normal skinny jeans, as I tend to choose designers that use softer fabrics, such as Second Yoga, J Brand and AG Adriano Goldschmied. The upside of heavier denim is that it's built to last, so if you care for these jeans well, they should hold up to plenty of wear. But if you like a thinner stretch denim fabric, you may find the stiffness a bit annoying, as I did after a full day of wear.

One caution about the fit of Levi's 300 Shaping Series -- these jeans size a bit large, due to their stretchiness, or at least they did on my body. I tend to fluctuate between two sizes and ordered these jeans in my smaller size, but I could have gone another size down.

You'll also want to wash these jeans before wearing them, if you buy them in one of the darker denim washes, to avoid fabric dye transfer issues. Due to the rich dyes used to treat the fabric, these jeans tend to bleed when new and may transfer dye onto upholstery. Wash them on their own in cold water, and hang to dry. (Get more tips in our ultimate guide to washing your jeans).

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