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. Sizing: 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 1873 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. 1886 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. Features: 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.