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Levi's 501 - a visual guide

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Levi's 501 - a geek's guide

This visual glossary is based on LVC models. For original denim photos, buy a book!

LVC codes

All early LVC have factory codes on the fly button. I believe the correct coding is:

555 (Valencia St), 554 (San Antonio), 822, u nknown Levi's factory used around 2001. 643 usually signifies a non-Levi's factory in the US - one such factory is Taylor Togs in North Carolina (conveniently near Cone), which prodocued LVC up to spring 2008. LVC have since moved production, reportedly to Caitac Garment Processing: these jeans bear the 233M stamp.


New sizing advice. Best practice to to check ACTUAL measurement and size up by one inch - this will provide best fit, allowing for moderate stretching.For the 1920s 201, and 1955 501, buy your actual waist size, as measured (these are generously cut). For the earlier jeans - 1890 - 1936 - you can buy actual size, or size up by one or two inches (again going by measured size, not the size on the tag) according to taste.

Acutal Dimensions

Here is a partial list of dimensions for LVC, spring 2009 production. Note these are different sizing from previous years, , in general larger. Use this list as a guide, only if your retailer won't confirm the actual size

Measurements are for jean tagged 32W 32L.

W= waist, R=Rise, L=leg length, Lo=leg opening (measured across hem) S=seat (width just below the front pockets), Th=thigh width 7 inches below the crotch.

1901 501 W34, R13, L31.5, Lo8.75, St22.25, TH10.5

1922 201 W34, R11.5, L 32.5, Lo10, St20.5, Th11.25

1927 501 W35, R13, L32.5, Lo9.5, St 21, Th11

1933 501 W33, R12.5, L31 , Lo 9.25,St20.5 , Th 10.75

1937 501 W32.5,R13, L31.75, Lo9, St 20, Th10.125

1944 501 W35, R13, L32, Lo 8.75, St 20.25,Th10

1947 501 W32, R12, L32, Lo8.5, St20.25, Th10

1955 501 W35, R12, L31, Lo8.5, St20.75, Th10.75

'54 501Z W32, R11, L33.5, Lo7, St20.25, Th10

1966 501 W32, R11.5, L32 , Lo8.25 , St21.75, Th10.75

1978 501 W35, R11, L32, Lo8, St21, Th10.5

1983 501 W34, R12, L31.75, Lo9 , St20.75, Th10.25

501 - the main variants


Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patent riveted jeans. The first Levis' come in a cotton duck fabric (one example has survived in an orange-brown, and has since been repro'd) and in blue denim. The denim finish soon proves more popular.

There are TWO early models of Levi's jeans. It's probable they came out around the same time, although records are limited and no one is certain. These two jeans are generally known as the 'XX' - the forerunner of the 501 - and the 'Nevada', which has more of a workwear look. 'Nevada' is not an official name - rather, it's what Levi's people call this model, after one found in the Nevada desert and purchased by Levi's for $42,000.

Early jeans have one back pocket and a selvage waistband. These jeans were originally made of denim dyed with natural indigo, with a selvage that featured a simple white stripe at the edge (no red line). Reissues are mostly made in synthetic indigo denim, from Kurabo, Japan.

XX Features:

Also been termed the 'Oldest Oldest by LVC'.

Pockets: 4 (one back pocket). Watchpocket sits below the waistband, and is less deep than later models.

Rivets: early, squarish design (flat-topped) with "Pat May 1873 LS&Co SF" legend.

Belt Patch; early "Levi Strauss & Co" version in a Victorian serif face, size written in by hand. On originals I've seen, the patch is on the right. The LVC patch is in the middle, though.

Arcuates; vary widely on originals, hand done.

Cut of LVC version: anti fit, baggy in the seat, high rise, straight legs, which are reasonably wide. I haven't worn soaked versions of this model, but suspect the best wearing option is to buy your actual size waist and cold-wash them. If you size up, as normal, they will sit lower on your thighs.

Denim: Plain blue selvage. LVC repros are usually 9oz; most have been made with synthetic indigo denim from Kurabo.


Oldest Oldest reissue from 2008


Oldest oldest reissue. Note the single line of stitching at the yoke, which seems to have been a feature of all pre-1880s Levi's


The Oldest Oldest is also available in a nice (but pricey) distressed finish, 'Precious Grime].

Nevada Features:

This model has been termed the Nevada for some LVC reissues, while the 'Knappave' seems to be based on a different sample of the same jean. Both date from around 1880.

Pockets: 4 (one back pocket), wide hem on back pocket, plus pliers pocket on 'Nevada' version. Raised watchpocket overlaps waistband on Nevada/Knappave, and bottom sits clear of main pocket.

Rivets: early, squarish design (flat-topped) with "Pat May 1873 LS&Co SF" legend.

Belt Patch; early "Levi Strauss & Co" version in a Victorian serif face, size written in by hand, placed in centre, between cinch, .

Arcuates; vary widely on originals, hand done.

Cut of LVC version: anti fit, baggy in the seat, high rise, straight legs, which are reasonably wide. I believe that, like other other early versions, the raw versions tend to be made slightly oversize, but there have been many different versions of circa 1880 repros, hence you might expect model variation. Most versions are oversize, so if you don't have a chance to try them on first, best option will be to buy actual waist size. If they're too snug, cold-wash only.

Denim: Generally, as for the XX. There was a lovely reissue of the Nevada around 2001, shown below, which used natural indigo fabric, and distressing by Bart Sights.

If anyone has any more photos of the Nevada, or Knappave, please send me them. Note the high watchpocket - which is clear of the main pocket - and the selvage waistband.


These were some of LVC's nicest reissues, and have fetched $2000 on eBay. They have been reissued in raw form, around 2008. Sugarcane do a nice homage to these jeans, the Edo Ai 40501 in a combination natural/synthetic denim, and Edwin too have launched their own similar distressed jean.

The 'First Blue Jean or '1873' reissue

In 2001, and 2008, LVC introduced a reissue made of attractive, streaky, natural indigo denim from Kurabo. Although they supposedly resemble an 1873 model, I believe they're inaccurate - they should have, for instance, a single line of stitching at the yoke. Some of them also feature a patch which mentions a patent revision in 1875. These natural indigo jeans have retailed between £195 and £300. For that price, I'd prefer a more painstaking replica. I believe you'll have to wear this fabric very hard to get good fading, and suggest you buy actual size.

This is the current version, 2008 season:


This is a version from around 2001 - mine were oversized, I boil-washed to try and shrink them, and they came out horribly bland.



By now, familiar features such as the two horse patch have appeared; it's placed on the right hand side of the jeans. There is no definitive date for when the patch moved to the right of the jeans; the design changed, according to Levi's records, in 1886 (there is only limited information, because most of Levi's records were lostin the fire following the 1906 earthquake). There is still one back pocket, making these '4 pocket' jeans. Levi's jeans are already being copied fairly widely, and by 1900 or so rival makers include Special, Stronghold and Can't Bust Em, all of which look pretty similar - many of them have Levi's-style arcuates, too.


Pockets:4 (one back pocket), back pocket assumes the shape we all know. Watch pocket moves down, just below the waistband, bottom inside pocket, but is higher than later jeans.

Rivets: Read " LS&Co SF". These remain flat-topped, giving a more agricultural look...

Belt Patch: 2 horse patch in leather, no size printed on

Arcuates; vary widely on originals, hand done. Cut of LVC version: broadly similar to 1873 version.

Cut of LVC version: LVC repros of 1880 and 1890 jeans tend to be oversized. A 34W might actually measure 35. This will shrink to around 33. But being loose fitting, they will not stretch a huge amount. Best guess, is that your 34W jean will measure 33 when washed. Shape of jeans is similar to 1880s versions. You can probably get away with wearing these actual waist size.

1890 jeans from '06 season





Note the flat-topped rivets, the 2-horse patch - which appeared in 1886, and at this point doesn't have the size printed on. The arcuate is a different shape from the 1901 version, with the two lines hand-done, and placed quite close together (although this varies on originals) and the single pocket is quite small with a distinctive, more pointed shape.

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The 501 now has two back pockets, making it a '5 pocket jean'. The shape is still antifit, with straight legs, suspender buttons and no belt loops. The originals would still have used natural indigo denim, from the Amoskeag factory complex, although the reissues mostly use synthetic indigo.


Pockets: 5 (two back pockets), rear pockets are widely spaced. Coin pocket is squarer and higher than later jeans, just under the waistband.(in fact, this is one item that changes throughout the 501 - on this model, the bottom of the coin pocket ends only just below the main pocket, whereas the on the 55, say, it sits a couple of inches below).

Rivets: read "LS&Co SF"

Belt Patch; Two horse design, no size

Arcuates; vary widely on originals, single needle, hand done.

Cut of LVC version: anti fit, baggy in the seat, high rise, straight legs, like the 1880s jeans. The 1901 jeans, and those before, are narrower than the 20s and 30s versions. These LVC are made slightly oversize; it's probably best to size up two inches for a traditional, baggy fit ( although you will inevitably have problems with the completely useless cinch buckle) although the 2008 run is apparently more trim.



These fade very differently from the 1930s or later jeans. (Suspicious patches are water splashes. Honest). This pair has been hand-washed twice, with perhaps five or 6 months wear. The fade pattern is pretty like originals, few whiskers & honeycombs, but more general, streaky wear. THis denim was quite a dark blue-black when new - the jeans are synthetic indigo - but with fading looks reasonably close to an original.


By this time, Levi's had almost completely swtiched to a new denim supplier, Cone in North Carolina - production from Amoskeag had probably been problematic for some years thanks to union and other labor problems, plus a recession in the cotton industry. It's likely that Levi's had used fabric from both companies in the preceding years.

The Cone fabric has a red line by the selvage - this was used by Cone originally to differentiate denim made for different companies. (Lee often used yellow selvage). Earlier jeans have no selvage line. The Cone denim used synthetic indigo, as is the case for all 501 jeans in future .

By the late 20s, fabric was 10oz, slightly heavier in weight. Reissues use 12.5 or 13oz fabric, still from Cone. These jeans have straight, wide legs. Note the classic leather patch, cinch, and back pocket rivets. From 1910 or so, the leather patch has the size printed on. From circa 1922, jeans now have both suspender button AND belt loops. And, detail freaks, bottom hems are now chain-stitched.

From the 1890s, or earlier, Levi's also produced cheaper lines - the 201 was a cheaper version of the 501 and has also been reissued by LVC.

1922 201

The 201 was the budget version of the 501 - it already existed in the 1890s. It used 'No 2' denim from an unspecified supplier (amosekag was always mentioned in their easrly pricelists, so presumably the factory's output had a good reputation) - the denim perhaps looks greener and more slubby on the originals, and the jeans were 'cottton-stitched' as opposed to 'linen-sitiched', and had a cloth, as opposed to leather, 2-horse patch, and black-enamelled fly and suspender buttons. On the reissues (and, I would guess, the originals) there is a blue selvage line.

Rivets look different (copper plated rather than solid copper?). The shape is different from the 501 too - a narrow waist, wider around the bum, with straight, slightly wider leg; the pockets are larger, and closer together (compare them with the 1901 jeans, for instance, and they look very different). Depending on the fit you want, you might want to downsize on the replicas. The original reissue of the 201, produced in Valencia St SF, with 555 on the buttons, is regarded by some as the finest LVC reissue. It has lovely, greenish fabric. The RED series jeans, which hit the mass market as the Type 1, used denim inspired by the look of the 201.


Pockets: 5: back pockets are square, large, closer together than 1920s 501

Rivets: late style, with rounded tops, in what looks like a bronze-colour alloy

Belt Patch; white linen 2 Horse.

Arcuates; single needle

Cut of LVC version: waist is narrow, these flare out more from the waist than the 1933 501, and feel very full around the top of the thighs. Along with the 1933 501, these jeans have the widest legs of any LVC. With these jeans in particular, my suggestion would be to buy your actual size in these, unless you like them very baggy - the waist will stretch out, and the legs will still be reasonably roomy. Note that on the 20s jeans, and thereafter, the waist-band is made from one piece of fabric. Earlier ones were two-piece.


Thai fakes often try to copy these jeans. But the fabric never looks as nice as these. Shown here are the early LVC reissue, on the left, and the current reissue, on the right. Note that by 1922, the hems were chain-stitched - earlier jeans were single stitched. You might also see a mutant variation of these jeans, when LVC fucked up - in 2006, I think - and put on the wrong pockets (too small) and the wrong arcuate (the 1947 style). The spring 2007 reissue, shown here, got it right.

1927 501

These jeans are very similar to the 1901 model, but for the paler stitching. On the 2008 model the pockets are a different shape, too. LVC produced these jeans because they mark the point at which Cone, in North Carolina, took over from Amoskeag. These were therefore the first 501 made with synthetic indigo, and the red line selvage which has become synonymous with vintage 501. On the jeans I've seen, which were factory samples rather than production versions, the back pockets were assymetrical, with quite quirky hand-done arcuates... I'm not sure how authentic this is, but it's quite an intriguing look.


1927 501


1933 501

Like its close cousin, the 20s 201, the 1933 501 has belt loops AND a cinch, plus the suspender buttons. Again, these have the widest leg of any 501 jean, reflecting fashions in the 30s. Note also that these have a more lemon-coloured stitching. The denim now carries a red selvage line, which denotes that it is made by Cone, for Levi's (Cone still makes all the reline selvage for LVC to date).


Pockets: 5 (two back pockets), rear pockets are the last to feature visible rivets.

Rivets: read "LS&Co SF"

Belt Patch; Two horse design, which now has the size printed on.

Arcuates; vary widely on originals, single needle, hand done.

Cut of LVC version: a more shape backside, with wide legs. Like all the earlier jeans, the 1933 are made slightly oversize. I would buy actual size in these; they will be one inch larger than the tag (2009 sizing) and will still be fairly generously sized aorund the thighs etc.


1933 jeans from the 2004 season. Courtesy of THe Clerk. THese photos show what a vintage-style fade you can get from the Cone fabric.



NEw example from the 2002 or 2003 season, complete with NRA tag.


Two key changes: the red tag appears on the back pocket, a new invention that is heavily trademarked, to help distinguish Levi's from new competitors like Lee. (Levi's will heavily defend this trademark, which eventually applies around most of the world, except Japan). The back pocket rivets are now covered. These can readily be distinguished because of the stitching on the back pockets, which is wider around the top to run around the hidden rivets. The suspender buttons have now gone - they were supplied as optional clip-on versions, in the original jeans.


Pockets: 5 (two back pockets), rivets are now covered, and a single-sided red tab appears on the right hand pocket.

Rivets: read "LS&Co SF"

Belt Patch; Two horse design, which now has the size printed on.

Arcuates; vary widely on originals, single needle, hand done.

Cut of LVC version: Less full leg than the 1933 jeans.

On LVC, the 1937 fabric is, according to some collectors, including airfrog on this board, darker than the 33, and wears better. The 1933 seems to fade to a more royal blue - although it's hard to be conclusive, as samples can vary so much. Remember that current distressed models of LVC are made in Turkey (some previous models came from Romia) and the fabric comes from Italy, I believe, rather than Cone, causing more variation.

The LVC 1933 should generally be a looser fit, although there's considerable sample variation - again, many apparent differences in fit are simply the fact that the 1933 seem to be made slightly bigger. One day I'll speak to the LVC pattern cutter and find out more.

This pair courtesy airfrog:


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Cinch and crotch button disappear, thanks to wartime cutbacks, rivets are copper plated. On some replicas, pocket fabric is patterned, or striped. Arcuates are painted rather than stitched, supposedly to save cotton. I would decribe the shape of the LVC replicas as broadly similar to the 1933. The weight of denim was supposedly lighter, again to save on raw materials. For the LVC repros, denim weight is usually 12oz, compared to the 12.5 or 13oz of the 1937 and 1947 jeans. Most wartime jeans, and originals, have pale yellow stitching.

THis pair of LVC, courtesy of fre$co, show how well the Cone denim can wear:



Notice the painted arcuates, which are still visible on fre$co's rather lovely pair. my guess is he's downsized on these - it's harder to get good wear on baggier jeans, which is why you seem to see more nice fades on 47 LVC, than on the 33 or 1901 examples...

On originals, the arcuate is often more assymetrical than on the LVC. More like the Evisu back pocket design, in fact. Mr Yamane was obviously quite smart, because I suspect the arcuate trademark, which Levi's has defended so remorselessly, only applies to stitching and not a painted design.


More 1944 here:


...and here...



This is an iconic year for 501, for by now the jeans have all the modern features: red tab, five pockets and belt loops: the suspender buttons, cinch, and crotch rivet have gone forever. The jeans still have a leather 2-horse patch, and the red tab is single-sided, ie it has the word LEVI'S printed on one side only.

These jeans were a slimmer fit than prewar models, and on LVC reissues these are made slightly undersized, emphasising the slimmer profile. IN reality, the 1947 jeans probably were slimmer than their predecessors, but LVC's peculiar sizing exaggerates the difference. I guess they do this to reflect the way people actually wore their jeans at the time, ie it was fashionable for bikers to downsize their jeans in the late 40s.

Although often touted as antifit, the 1947 jeans are more fitted than both the 40s and 50s jeans. Fabric is red-line, and on the raw jeans the fabric is still supplied by Cone Mills. Note also the new arcuate design, sewn with a double-needle machine and a different jig, it's more symmetrical, with a small diamond in the stitching at the bottom apex of the arcuate. The stitching on LVC 1947 jeans is a darker, more copper color.


Pockets:5, modern shape, smaller than, say, the 1937 jeans.

Rivets: Read " LS&Co SF"

Belt Patch; 2 horse patch in leather, size printed on, model number reads 501XX in a sanserif font.

Arcuates; double stitiched with diamond, modern shape.

Cut of LVC version: LVC repros of the 1947 jeans tend to be undersized. A 34W might actually measure 33. This will shrink to around 31, before stretching back to 32. But remember, the thighs etc will not stretch as much, so these will still be a fairly slim fit. It's likely that these repros are slimmer than the originals - Sugar Cane 1947 jeans are cut looser, more like the 1955 LVC.

Denim weight of the repros, as per the originals, is 12.5 oz - this equates to roughly 14oz once washed. Codename for this denim is XUVS. It's grainer than that for the 1955 jean.


Note these jeans also feature heavy leg twist. This either means (a) the owner has had an unfortunate industrial accident or (B), as the fabric shrinks on unsanforized it tends to follow the direction of the weave - Levi's twist to the right, Lee jeans, with their left-hand weave, twist to the left. Why do some Levi's twist more than others? I don't know. I do know that Levi's lifted the idea for their Engineered range, though, and other manufacturers like Michiko Koshino, Teddy Smith and True Religion lifted it from them...



This shows a one-wash pair against a new pair. As mentioned, a 34W 1947 501 will actually measure 33; so down-size at your peril. Quite a few people have sized up by one-inch, soaked and then dried while wearing them, and been fine.

More 1947 (search thru the thread to see the jeans above at 6 and 9 months)


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There are a few minor changes for the 1955 jeans compared to the 1947: the red tag is now double-sided - this change happened around 1954. On original jeans, the rivets look different too (this is hard to fake). The leather 2-horse patch is changed for a 'leather look' patch, which still retains the 'Every Garment Guaranteed' legend, which will disappear by 1960. (what did that guaranteemean? Could you take your jeans back if they split when you attached two horses to them?) .

The shape changes too: slightly higher rise, a boxier profile, with a more antifit bum. The difference in shape between the 55 and 47 is exaggerated on the LVC jeans, because the 55 are generally sized bigger. If you downsize on the 55, they make great skinny leg jeans. Levi's Japan have produced a 1954 replica, which features a leather patch, but the later shape.

One feature of the LVC 1955 reissue is the 'lemon yellow' stitching - which you'll see on many, but not all, originals. I've seen original 1940s jeans with beautiful, all-lemon stitching too. Apparently the thread colours varied from factory to factory. Many original Levi's 501 from the 1950s had an off-set centre back belt loop - probably so the operator didn't have to stitch through so many thicknesses at once, you'll see this feature on Wranglers, too. However, LVC for some reason have seen fit not to include this detail on their 55 reissues - strange, as Evis made a big thing of it in the early days of Japanese repros.


Pockets:5, modern shape.

Rivets: Read " LS&Co SF"

Belt Patch; 2 horse patch changes to pressed paper, all other info including size, 501XX code and 'Every Garment Guaranteed' is otherwise the same as its predecessor.

Arcuates; double stitiched with diamond, modern shape, often in a lemon-colored stiching.

Cut of LVC version: The 1955 is a boxier, antifit shape than the 1947, less fitted, but with a very straight leg, which is wider than the 47. Worn actual size, they're a very authentic 50s cut - slightly roomy but not loose around the thighs. These can make a great skinny jeans, with a pretty good mod (or skinhead?) look - but you'll have to downsize drastically and hope the waist stretches. If you're worried that they will be too skinny worn actual size, you can of course cold-wash only, which will minimize shrinking.

Denim 12.5 oz. Codename for this denim is XX50; it seems slightly fluffier than the XUVS of the 1947 jean. Wears in to a very dark inky blue after the first wash, and seems to crock more readily than the 47, more like Japanese denim.


And now, the same jeans with a couple of months' wear:


And nine months in...


55 vs 47?

People often ask about differences between the 55 and the 47. Altho broadly similar, the 47 has a greyer, grainier denim, whereas the 55 is blue-er. The 55 has wider thighs, and is sized larger.Of these two jeans, the 47 is two washes in, around 9 months of wear, the 55 has had one gentle wash, at 6 months. Both pairs are from circa 2006 and are darker in real life. You can see, despite being a nominally 'smaller' size, the 55 jeans (on the right) are still bulkier. Note how you're more likely to get a crotch blowout with the 47 than the 55!



Major change for 1966 is the disappearance of the hidden rivets from the back pocket, to be replaced with bar tacks. You can see black nylon stitching on the top edges of the pockets. The guarantee has gone from the leather-like patch, arcuate is shallower, and the fit is slimmer, with a lower rise than the 1955. This is the first more fitted 501, much less boxy than any of its predecessors - what's sometimes called a 'carrot shape', legs tapered, with a snugger fit around the bum. Thanks to Rob for the photo. ON original jeans, the 'V' stitch by the waist button disappeared over this period, around 1969.


Pockets: 5 pockets, back pockets are squarer, bar-tacked rather than riveted with black nylon thread visible. (the watch pocket, too, is squarer than its predecessor, and set slightly lower.)

Belt Patch; leather-like, no 'every garment guaranteed' legend. Model code on patch changes from 501XX to 501 (the 501 0117 appears in the late 60s).

Arcuates; double needle, very shallow on LVC (originals vary widely)

Cut of LVC version: Lower rise than any predecessors. Slim, almost exactly as slim as the 1947, perhaps slightly wider in the thigh and tapering to the same hem width, with a more fitted seat than earlier jeans. Like the 1947, you will need to size up, as normal with LVC.

Which is the slimmest 501?

As mentioned above, the LVC 1966 is slightly tapered, but no slimmer than the 1947. However, with its slightly wider thighs, it's more suitable for sizing down, so if you're going for ultra-slim, size up by one, or wear your actual size, then shrink them down in the bath. (This is at your own risk - let me know how you get on!)


Note the pockets are much squarer, too. Apparently, by the late 70s, all the tooling for pockets was very worn, with big shape differences between factories. Note here how the stitching on either side of the pocket is nearly parallel (on early hidden rivet jeans it's tapered, to fit the rivet).

By the way, and this might seem obvious, but if you're trying to compare shapes of 501, look at photos of the same size jeans! (ideally, i'd like photoso here of just 32 or 34 w for a better comparison). Bigger jeans always look more tapered. I believe that, in the 70s and 80s as least, Levi's used three different-sized back pockets according to the waist size).


This is a pair of original 502 jeans (which, in the 60s, denoted the zipper fly version). Note the watchpocket, much squarer than its predecessors. This example has lovely lemon yellow stitching. Levi's Japan have repro'd this model, but not LVC. Note also the V stitching, which still continued on these jeans, from around 1966, but disappeared around 1969.


For completness's sake, I've included a pair of late 70s jeans - 'little e'-erajeans. This refers to a change in the Levi's logo, previously all upper case, which made its way to the jeans in 1971.

LVC produced a reissue of these jeans in 2008. They are suposed to be a 1978 model - but to me the shape looks completely wrong; they also have the wrong patch, which should AFAIK be the 'stock control' variant.

Early 70s jeans have single stitching in places like the inside of the back pockets. Later jeans, from circa 1976 to 1983, have double stitching inside. IN the vintage market, the earlier single-stitched examples fetch slightly more.

There is also a new type of 2-horse patch, the 'stock control' type, which appeared around 1971. This had an extra perforated section on the right, which the dealer could tear off to keep a record of what sizes they'd sold (this patch isn't featured on any LVC 501 models, but you might see it on a 517 reissue).

THese are the classic 'carrot' shape - note how the jeans taper up to the waist band, while the jeans are cut reasonably full in the thigh, and then taper down the legs, too. These jeans, especially washed out like this, always make me think of Sting. Meh.



Note the carrot shape, the shallow arcuates, and the red tag. This one has an 'R' symbol, but no Levi's logo - this was done for trademark reasons, so that Levi's maintained its rights on the actual red tag device, regardless of what company name is written on it. As many of you know, Levi's don't have the exclusive trademark on the red tag in Japan, which is why Japanese companties can use it in their own country, but not on export examples.


There's a good timeline from Levi's here:


Click here for the PDF directly


Try looking at Levi.com, especially the European and Japanese site, for a breakdown of the current models.

Another good site is Hinoya's pages at Rakuten, which give more dimensions for the various LVC jeans. Some (but not all) of these jeans are Japanese-made, so might differ from the US and Euro models:


One thread on sufu has some spreads from Ligthning-style magazines, with good photos of 1890s and 1920s jeans. The 1920s in partiulcar look terrific - this era seems to fade more nicely than any other, there's a very beautiful pair pictured in Denim, An Illustrated History, too.

LVC manufacturer The main manufacturer of LVC in the US, once Levi's factories in San Francisco and San Antonion closed, was Taylor Togs of North Carolina.Taylor Togs itself closed down in 2008, blaing low-priced overseas competition, at which point production reportedly moved to Caitac Garment Processing in California, a well-known jeans finisher and laundry:


More info here:


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very interesting, thanks Paul! Are 501 22s pretty much the same cut as 33/37? I btw noticed that 37 has larger back pockets that sit closer than 33, and a slightly smaller anti-fit.

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Thanks for sharing..highly interesting , especially if the posted 47's are from 1947....

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The 201s are different from the 1933 LVC reissue. But they could be similar to the 37, I don't own a pair, because they do have larger pockets that sit a lot closer together. It's the pocket size and shaping that I really like on the 201 - an unbelievable difference from, say, the 1901 501...

oh, and the posted 47s are LVC! There are books with the real thing...

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Great job Paul T, thanks a lot! If we could go that far and show examples of 70s- 00s SFTs aswell, I mean, there were changes in the fitting aswell if you compare a 1987 with a 2007 501xx!?

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I have (or had) a pair of late 70s jeans and 90s STF. Just have to look out the pix from the ebay auctions. But wouldn't mind a full-length F&B pic of 1937, 1955 and 1966 LVC if anyone has them...

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I have both the 37 501s 201s a couple pairs of the 20's 201s, 33s and they all fit different. I have a pair of 33s 555 and had a pair from a few years back and the ones from a few years back were much trimmer that the 33s 555 from Valencia St. Both were tagged the same size. The 20s 201s from Valencia are just incredible. Some of the LVC stuff from last year is also VERY NICE. Much better than the stuff from 2001-I'd say 05 though my 1886s are really nice. Gottem on right now. I never cared much for my 33s from a few years back. The ones I wish I would have held on to were the 1901s.

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I have (or had) a pair of late 70s jeans and 90s STF. Just have to look out the pix from the ebay auctions. But wouldn't mind a full-length F&B pic of 1937, 1955 and 1966 LVC if anyone has them...

Are you talking about LVCs or originals? Helps if I read.

Here are the 55s and the 37s 501s and 201s




37 501s




37 201s



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great info. can anyone comment on the 1966 cut?

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great info. can anyone comment on the 1966 cut?

Apologies for the standard of the picture.

The 1966 is a slim fitting jean not unlike the 1947. Carrot shaped and a lower rise.Quite a flat arctuate and almost square pockets.


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Nice one Paul. Glad I could be of assistance. Top thread.

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btw. could it be that the new 1966 501 is cut different then from the one we see above, I once had these "old rinsed" ones, they were from 2004 and not very slim, more boxy and wide in the legs... but now LVC tells the 1966 version would have been the slimmest of all 501s... but mine were looser than a 1947!

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Thanks Rob, I've linked to your pix above, and added airfrog's 1967. And thanks fre$co (nice jeans!).

SFTD, a LOT of the differences between LVC depends on actual sizing differences. I think they look at photos from, say, the late 40s, see that wearers were sizing down, and cut the jeans smaller accordingly. People did wear jeans tighter in 66, so it's possible LVC have cut the jeans smaller to simulate this. 'm pretty sure this year's 505 is cut tighter than previous reissues, for a more contemporary look.

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Paul T, I always wonder what 501 version Steve McQueen is wearing on the Claxton pic in your book, it looks really tight, but it´s from 1963, so it can´t be be 1966 one, and for 1955 version it´s not loose enough... I guess Levi´s did much more changes in the fits than we know...

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I reckon it has to be the 55 cut - just worn tight. They do make great skinny jeans if you wear them actual size. Maybe Steve sat in the bath with his. It's possible there were extra fit changes, it's somethign I'd like to find out about.

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Paul , Thanks for the post . This should probably have been done before . Moved me to pull the trigger on a pair of 37s from dejan , goes against my 50/e60s styling but what the hey!!!

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