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What the Team at Levi's Wears to Work

Welcome to Working It, where Racked follows street style into the office.

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Levi’s denim originated as a workwear textile popular among Gold Rush laborers in the 1850s, but the blue jean wasn’t officially born until 1873 when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent on the process of putting rivets in men’s work pants. Over the last 142 years, hundreds of companies have put their own spin on denim, but the original San Francisco jeans have remained a global sensation.

Just as Levi’s led the 19th century rivet movement, the brand continues to focus on denim innovation today. In the company’s Eureka Innovation Lab—just down the road from the brand’s world headquarters in San Francisco—employees look for ways to improve denim for modern customers.

After more than a century, jeans have come full circle: the garment that started out as workwear has once again become a work staple for many Americans. And who better to demonstrate how jeans can be worn at work than the people who actually bring those jeans to the world? Here’s how seven Levi’s staffers wear denim for their day jobs.


daniel-levis

Daniel Calderon, Assistant Merchant for Women’s Tops and Outwear, is wearing a Club Monaco jacket, a Levi’s Made & Crafted shirt, Levi’s 501CT jeans, Air Jordan Future sneakers, and a Beyoncé hat.

In three words, describe your personal style.
Easy, boyish, San Francisco.

What’s your typical office look?
Hat to the back, jeans worn low. It sounds a bit hoodrat, but it works.

Canadian Tuxedo: yay or nay?
A loud and resounding yay!

What’s the most interesting thing happening in denim right now?
Watching the first jean ever made be re-imagined and modernized for today has been a really exciting journey.

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What would you say to the denim naysayers who are touting athleisure?
No one thinks you just came from the gym strutting around with that Céline purse and full face of makeup. It’s time to throw on your favorite pair of Levi’s!


Amanda-Schweiger-levis

Amanda Schweiger, Global Merchant Accessories, is wearing Levis Made & Crafted jeans, a Levi’s belt, a Madewell tee, Vans sneakers, a Belstaff jacket, her mother’s signet ring, In God We Trust jewelry, and a Rogues Gallery necklace.

What’s your typical office look?
I tend to live in jeans, especially at work. You'll most likely find me in one of my many jeans, with a cropped tee, sweater, or a flannel, but always layered with some my favorite pieces of jewelry.

What’s the dressiest look you’ve ever assembled with denim?
I have this sequin mini skirt from J. Crew that I love and often pair it with a denim shirt and loads of jewelry for a date night to balance the high and low vibe that I love.

In roughly three words, describe your personal style.
Effortless, casual, slightly-refined.

What's the craziest DIY project you’ve ever tackled with denim?
When I was young I was very tall and very skinny, and it was really hard for me to find pants that fit right. When I was in middle school, I decided to make my own bellbottoms, and took two different pairs and basically reconstructed them, making the legs more narrow by resewing the inseam and using the fabric from one pair to create a huge bell-bottom at the end of the pant. They had a classic '90s look.

Share one happy memory you associate with a great pair of jeans.
One nostalgic memory that comes to mind is when my sister and I found out that my 80-year-old grandfather had never owned or worn a pair of jeans. We promptly bought him a pair and he loved them, but he would call them his "winter pants" because of the heavier weight of the fabric. So now when I throw a comfy pair of jeans on on a cold day, I often think of him and it always brings a smile to my face.


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Steven Burns, Director of Design Men’s Bottoms, is wearing a second-hand workwear jacket, a Levi’s Made & Crafted tee, Levi’s 501CT jeans, Bensimon x Okura trainers, and a Kapital rosette made of tabs.

steve-burns-levis-2

In roughly three words, describe your personal style.
Casual, oversized, and undersized with a touch of blue.

What’s your typical office look?
Jeans (either 501CTs or 606 Orange Tabs), short sleeve sweats, and Bensimons.

What’s the dressiest look you’ve ever assembled featuring denim?
We made a beautiful three-piece suit using a 2x1 (7oz) denim. The fabric had grey fill, making the indigo cast really rich. The 2x1 construction combined with the light weight gave the suit a super refined look and feel. It was gorgeous, man!

Who are your style icons and why?
The Ramones, Hedi Slimane, and the Japanese stylist Yohei Usami.


Takumi-Maemura-levis


Takumi Maemura, Senior Designer of Men's, is wearing customized Levi’s 501s, a Levi’s button-down shirt, Yuketen Moc chukka sneakers, a Field fedora, a 1930s Japanese indigo boro fabric stole, a vintage Rolex Datejust, and vintage Native American bracelets.

Takumi-Maemura-levis-3

In roughly three words, describe your personal style.
Classic, American, casual.

What's the worst denim trend of all time?Personally, I don’t like super stretch denim for men.

What is the craziest DIY project you’ve ever tackled with denim?
A long time ago, I customized a 501 low-rise fit. It was the craziest.

Canadian Tuxedo: yay or nay?
Of course I love denim on denim.

Share one happy memory you associate with a great pair of jeans.
One day, I was wearing a pair of Levi’s jeans I made and someone asked me about them, because he loved the color and silhouette. After chatting with him, he went to the Levi’s store and bought them.

What’s the dressiest look you’ve ever assembled with denim?
A tailored jacket, button down shirt, tie, leather loafers, and slim rigid denim.

What’s the most interesting thing happening in denim right now?
Hybrid-style denim engineered with technical fibers and a special weaving machine, which hasn’t really been used before.


Lauren-Sornberger-levis-1

Lauren Sornberger, Manager of Global Consumer Marketing Services, is wearing Levi’s vintage 501s, an Acne tee, and Zara boots.

In roughly three words, describe your personal style.
Simple, boyish, easy.

What’s your typical office look?
Jeans and a tee. Depending on the day, I’ll switch up the shoe to make it more interesting. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate a simpler look.

Is there anywhere you won’t wear jeans?
Absolutely not. We just started making denim jammies, so...

Who are your style icons and why?
Melanie Laurent, the French actress and pianist. She perfectly balances dressing like a boy, but always looking chic, like most Parisians do.

What is the worst denim trend of all time?
I’ve got nothing but love for Britney and Justin, but who let them leave the house in their matching denim ball gowns and tux number?

Lauren-Sornberger-levis-2


What’s the most interesting thing happening in denim right now?
I love a mom jean, so the revival of vintage denim really excites me.


levis-sf-hq-raul

Raul Mendoza, Manager of Global Marketing, is wearing Human Made Polar Trainers, Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1954 501s, a Levi’s Made & Crafted tee, and a Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1960s suede bomber jacket.

In roughly three words, describe your personal style.
Minimal, detailed, easy.

What’s your typical office look?
Levi’s with a few layers up top.

Is there anywhere you won’t wear jeans?
My mom's suede couch. She swears the indigo stains it every time. She’s probably right.

What's the worst denim trend of all time?
Huge, poorly-designed back pockets.

Canadian Tuxedo: yay or nay?
I run this look a few times a month—easy.

What would you say to the denim naysayers who are touting athleisure?
I don’t hate it, but denim gets you in anywhere and always will.


Jill-Guenza-levis

Jill Guenza, Head of Women’s Design, is wearing a Levi’s tee, vintage Levi’s customized flares, a Pamela Love bracelet, and Saint Laurent boots.

In roughly three words, describe your personal style.
California tomboy.

What’s your typical office look?
There's no typical day at Levi’s, which is one of the reasons why I love it. However, a fairly standard uniform is a slouchy taper (aka 501 CT) with a tee or a boyfriend shirt tucked into the front of my jeans, and an oversize cardigan or 3/4 sack coat.

The shoe choice depends on how many times I’m planning to run to Eureka, (our development center located four blocks from the office), and what kinds of meetings I’ll be in. I spend much of my day in motion, so my outfits tend to be fairly uncomplicated. But I try to mix a little high/low into every look.

What is the craziest DIY project you’ve ever tackled with denim?
So, it’s not technically my project—it's my mom’s—but it’s the best DIY project ever. In the early 70s, my mom made a beach blanket with all the Levi’s she and my dad wore throughout the previous decade. It’s a beautiful, faded patchwork of selvedge leg panels and random back pockets with the red tabs and arcuates still attached. We still use it on our annual summer trip to Tahoe. It’s our family heirloom.

Share one happy memory you associate with a great pair of jeans.
I learned to ride a bike in Levi’s flares with a matching vest. I believe there was floral embroidery involved.

Jill-Guenza-levis-1

What’s the most interesting thing happening in denim right now?
The return to vintage-inspired, homespun, non-stretch fabrics, and the resurgence of the anti-skinny jean. Skinnies will always have a place in women's closets, but fits like the 501 CT in worn-in, non-stretch fabric give that authentic feeling women are seeking right now.

Is there anywhere you won’t wear jeans?
As a native Californian, I can honestly say there is no place I would not consider wearing jeans. In San Francisco, few events rate above "business casual," so a pair of heels and a leather jacket can conquer pretty much anything when worn with great fitting Levi’s.