Very late in 2011, I bought a pair of Levi’s commuter jeans in the 511 skinny cut. I included them in a post about the various pants that I have tried for biking. I finally got around to wearing them in 2012 once the weather warmed up, and although they fit pretty tight to begin with, the stretch in the fabric made it bearable. When it came time to wash them for the first time, I was leery about putting them in the dryer, but I knew that the Nanosphere coating is refreshed by heat, so I hung them out to dry and then put them into the dryer. BIG MISTAKE. They shrank so much that they now fit like the jeggings that are sold at stores where my tween daughter and her peers shop. So, unfortunately, I’ve stuck them in the bottom of a drawer since then.
Levi’s has expanded their “commuter” collection since then, and I saw that they redid the jean in a 505 cut that would be a better fit for me, so I picked up a pair. For some reason, the US Levi’s site only has the 505 commuter in a cropped version, and for a while they also had it in spruce. In Canada, you can get them in indigo.
The instructions say (paraphrasing):
- don’t wash these jeans if you can avoid it
- wash cold, line dry
- wash and dry inside out
- wash cold, medium dry
- home washing may cause shrinkage
- do not dry clean
- for best water repellency, iron every five washings
Very confusing. There was also a warning about colour transfer to upholstery. This last bit was certainly true as you can see from the indigo accents on my pink leather saddle after five days of commuting with the jeans. I’m not too upset. Just a bit of beausage after all.
I was happy commuting in the new jeans all last week. They are regular jeans off the bike so I wore them around work. My Outlier pants aren’t quite as appropriate for day to day wear at work.
The cuffs are just a little wider than my outlier slim dungarees: for 30-32 jeans, the cuffs are 7.5″ wide, 7″ for the dungarees, and just a bit narrower for the outlier climbers. I don’t like turning up my cuffs unless I have to, so the jeans are just narrow enough not to get caught in the chain (with a round chainguard)
The good news is that they survived their first washing this past weekend. Cold water wash by themselves (they bled a bit), then hang to dry. They seem to have shrunken just a bit, but it’s hard to tell. Water still beads up on them.
If they hold up, then I will potentially like them has much as my Outlier slim dungarees. They were fine in -8°C weather last week, and they might even be a bit more windproof than the Outliers. The one downside is that they are sewn offshore. If you want a nice pair of pants sewn domestically (i.e. in the US), then consider the Nyco Slims. I have a pair, and although they are not stretchy like the more expensive Outliers, I hope that they will wear in. They also have a nice gusseted crotch. The waterproofing is not as good as the Schoeller Outliers, but they are half the price. Another alternative would be Diamond Gusset Jeans, although I have no experience with these.
Update: I have some notes about additional shrinkage here.