Levi’s Lot 1 Bespoke Jeans: Review

A few months have passed since I covered Levi’s Lot 1. This is a follow-up review of their bespoke service.

Levi’s bespoke jeans start at $750 or $950 (excluding tax) depending on your customization.

During the summer in northern California, I had the opportunity to commission Levi’s Lot 1 in San Francisco.

I had read stellar reviews about Lizzie Radcliffe and her work at Levi’s Lot 1 in London. It was an easy decision but a financially big investment. I’ve long since needed a good fitting pair of jeans and took the plunge.

Bespoke tailoring is rare in California, so I wanted to share my experience. Plus, the jeans were to be made in San Francisco, birthplace of the Levi’s jeans company. I spoke on the phone to Marco, one of the Lot 1 tailors who agreed to make my jeans.

So began the journey to San Francisco. The experience has brought both pros and cons. Unfortunately, the trouser’s fit has not turned out. From what I can see, the stitching is quite good (with exception to the buttonholes for my last pair), but achieving the fit has been frustrating.

Let’s begin with the positives. Marco is attentive and listens to my feedback about aesthetics and adjustments. Knowing the kind of stye I was going for (basic and slim but not skinny), Marco gave helpful suggestions and options to change certain details. He nailed the type of pockets, thread, and styling details I wanted.

Now for the fitting. The first two fittings were actually better (but not perfect) compared to the latter three pairs. During the final fourth visit/third fitting, Marco used the final cloth; however the legs turned out very baggy, perhaps because the trial cloth was different. At this point I think the measurements went awry.

Those had to be amended and sent to me. Marco changed the waistband to a stiffer “cinched waist” to prevent gaping at the back.

At this point I had moved. Receiving the mailed fourth pair was disappointing: I couldn’t wear them on account that the waist and hips were so tight, probably because of the tighter cinched waist. They wouldn’t button.

Fourth pair mailed: legs fit well, but waist and hips were too tight

Over the phone a fifth pair was arranged — this time too big. And the leg opening adjustment from 15″ to 14″ was left out. The difficulty about exchanging feedback over the phone is that the tailor cannot see the garment on you. I had to provide specifications, which was difficult without guidance in-person, or a video call.

Now another pair is about to be made. Part of the poor fit, I believe, stems from not having measurements taken. This could’ve saved a lot of guesswork on my and Marco’s end.

Initially, my measurements were gauged by wearing trial pants with different waists and rises. The fit slowly became less reliable — lost in the process of fitting and adjusting the patterns. In retrospect, I think Marco could have also observed my rise based on pants I wore. Things like this would’ve expedited the process.

From reviews, Lizzie Radcliffe’s customers usually go through one fitting before receiving a solid, final pair. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

Personally, Marco is a very open, friendly tailor. We communicated quite well in terms of style points and he works very hard at his craft. But being a fairly young tailor, there was a steep learning curve for the fittings.

After expressing my feedback, Marco apologized for the inconveniences and offered to keep trying. I commend his work ethic. I notified him ahead of this review, so there aren’t any surprises. I learned that this was going to be an ongoing process.

I’m happy seeing bespoke on the west coast. I also see positive changes that can come from constructive feedback and hope this opens an engaging conversation between brands and consumers. I do anticipate the new pair and intend to report with an update on changes.

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