Tuesday, November 10, 2009

501 Reasons To Stick With A Classic: A Denim Dissertation




As far as denim goes, I'm a pretty simple guy.  I tend to skip fancy pocket embroidery and various other jean tomfoolery in favor of the simple and classic.  I'm currently breaking in a pair of APC New Standards, but before that I went mostly with J. Crew (Vintage Slim fit) and The Gap (the first incarnation of their "Japanese Denim").  Even if you've been on the fringe of all this menswear stuff, you know that selvedge denim is really the only denim anyone will endorse, which is kind of unfortunate.  Yes, this stuff is expensive....yes, this stuff will last....yes, this stuff will become "your own", but is that what everyone's looking for?

Not all male consumers are after high quality selvedge denim that, quite frankly, takes a serious commitment (at least as far as clothes are concerned).  There are a ton of guys who want a simple, ready-to-wear jean that doesn't require some of the "thinking" that comes with something like a pair of APC's.  These are the very same guys who are already conditioned to reach for racks of True Religion or Ed Hardy and obviously have much bigger problems on their hands when it comes to their denim.  Imagine telling one of these guys that he needs to "wear his jeans for up to a year without washing them so they will fit perfect and get great fades."  He'd probably look at you like you were selling snake oil.  Thankfully, this is where a brand, like Levi's, can bridge the gap.

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I've never owned a pair of 501's, well, at least not until the past week when Levi's was nice enough to send a pair my way.  I won't waste your time recounting the extensive history of how Levi's invented blue jeans or what the 501 means for style today (check this out later), but just know that it's all the definition of iconic.  The 501 is the original game changer.  Regardless of all that, for someone who now rolls exclusively with selvedge denim, I had my doubts.  How would these jeans stack up to my practically personalized APC's?  I mean, just look at the price points ($155 vs. $59.50).  The proof was in the pudding, the check signed and the letter mailed.  Well, ladies and gentleman, I couldn't have been more wrong.

The Levi's 501 Original was a serious quality pair of jeans: great rise, straight, yet roomy leg, button fly, cool looking fades, no bells, no whistles.  It was...the perfect go between.  Not the stuff denim heads dream about, but extremely superior to the crap being hawked to the average guy at your neighborhood mall.  All these years later, The 501 continues to get the job done.  And that's what's I love about this jean.  It does exactly what it says it will.  Levi's offers you a classic and that's what you get.  To any guy looking to transition his denim, this is your jumping off point.  Cheers to Levi's. Cheers to The Original.  Cheers to The 501.

-L.A.S

Check out pictures of The 501's (this particular model/wash should be available come 2010)






15 comments:

  1. 501s are too baggy for me. Levi's has done a fantastic job updating their cuts though. Slim 514s are more my style. My pops has been wearing 501s for ages though; but mind you, he's 57 years old...the fit is more old manish INHO.

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  2. Don- Respect those sentiment, but not all guys want to start off with a pair of testy vices, haha. They are relaxed for sure. Anyway, was hoping the post would cause discussion/discourse so we shall see...

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  3. The Slim 514 are just a slim straight cut - the modern day 501s in my opinion. You should try those on for sure. The testy vices are the 510 and 511s - I can't get into those.

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  4. I wear Slim 511. I suppose I can get away with it because I participate in a collegiate sport that involves me working out all the time. I have worn 514s in the past but find the leg a little baggy. I have one problem with Levis: the Levi leg-flop. For the first couple wears, your Levis stay plenty starchy and hang from your knee pretty well. However, within a few weeks the leg begins to flop about your ankle. It may not be noticeable to the passerby but it bothers me very much. Starchier denim doesn't do this and it sits at your ankle very nicely. I think the leg-flop is much more noticeable with the 514, which is why I converted. I like Levis but hate it when they develop the leg-flop. Sidenote: disregarding the leg-flop which occurs within the first few weeks of wearing levis, Levis usually only last me a year. I'm not going to go about patching my butt.

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  5. Enthusiast- You ever think about taking your jeans to the dry cleaner and having them starched since it's that important to you?

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  6. I've tried starching them myself. It doesn't provide the desired effect even though you think it would. It's too bad really, because then the 511 would be the only jean I own.

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  7. I have to agree with Don - I can't get the 501's to fit me at all and keep relying on the 514 for the correct rise length.

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  8. I've got one pair of 501s but I've got 4 pairs of 511s, either way I'll be Levi's for life even if I do love a little bit of selvedge.

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  9. Are you gonna do the 'sit in a hot path shrink to perfect fit method'? I've always heard of people doing it but I've never seen an accurate account of it's legitimacy.

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  10. Angelo- The whole tub thing you are referring to is specifically for shrink to fit 501's which these are not. If you want to see a shrink to fit demo check this out...http://putthison.com/post/231001982/episode-1-denim

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  11. I love 501s as well; they fit me perfectly everywhere... the only problem is the rise is a little too large for my body (I have a shorter torso and longer legs)... I think the 514s are fine for me (shorter rise).

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