LEVI´S 501

There are pieces that with no double thinking and without any doubt should be a part in every wardrobe. The talk is not about those garments, that depending on trends come and go and after some time, this process will be repeated - a typical cyclic effect in fashion industry. It´s about..mhm, you´re right. I will use that word again - timeless pieces. We all mind the evergreen “titans”, like the Burberry trench coat, Gucci´s loafers, Hermés` Birkin and Kelly or Roger Vivier´s and so on. One special spot belongs to a garment, that after 142 and some little modifications, still is on everyone’s wish-list (especially in the last year) and can´t get old. Levis 501, with their iconic straight-fit, the red tab and the signature button fly. They are even cooler if having that vintage- experienced scent, achieving through time and (different) owners. Of course you can buy them new, but if you found a pair from the 60´s, 70´s in your parents or even from the 50´s in your grandparent´s closet or in any flea market, vintage shop with a wide choice, it´s like more than finding a true treasure.

For this occasion we would like to give you few tips/indicators, to define the year of your pair. Happy hunting!

- selvedge or no selvedge
The first thing you should take a look for when inspecting a pair of vintage 501 jeans is whether it’s selvedge denim. If so, the jeans are likely to be produced before the mid-80´s.

- the red tab
If it´s a big "E" on it you can really jump of joy. If the red tab has only lettering on one side (the one facing the front) the pair is from pre-1955. 

- care tag
You should inspect for a care tag, if you find one the jeans are post-mid-70`s. Be aware that fakes and Levi’s Vintage Clothing jeans can have both big E and care tag.

- single stitch back pockets
If the pair hava a "single stitch" on back pockets (lock stitches and not chain stitches on the horisontal double felled seams on the top of the pockets), than the jeans were produced before 1976.

- rivets
Take a look on the rivets. If the back pockets have hidden rivets (replaced by bartack around 1966) and if the back plates of the rivets are silver coloured with lowered letters the jeans are post-1966. If the back plates are copper it’s really getting interesting. And if the letters are raised and not lowered you have found a pair of pre-1960s jeans.

- patch
A leather patch, contrary to the "leather-like" cardboard patch, is a true indicator that the jeans were produced before 1955.

- buttons
The next thing you need to inspect is the front of the buttons. If its donut buttons with laurel leafs then the jeans were produced during second World War. This can be verified by painted arcuates (if they are still visible) and front pocket bags of varying fabrics (for example in green). These jeans are very hard to come by. A true catch if you have/found them.

- cinch or no cinch
If there is a back cinch and everything above has been checked off, then the jeans are pre-1937. This can be verified by a crotch rivet at the base on the button fly. Most jeans this old are on the hands of either the Levi’s Archives or collectors.
/ Photo ©tedore /

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