Growing up I have worn Levi’s jeans. They would be on the bright blue side and they would fray from incessant playground activities. Patches of white thread web would form at the knees, torn cuff loops would form because the pant legs would always get caught under my shoe whenever I walked. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up with a brand so familiar, like a real slice of Americana. I’m from the last generation that could enjoy something like that. Now we have Apple products to primarily define American culture around the world.
To protest this, I upped the ante and picked up a pair of Levi’s Vintage Collection 1947 501xx from the San Francisco flagship store. The 501 has come to define the very company that had created and has produced the denim jean. I chose this very year not only because I prefer the fit and details the most out of any of the available years (Levi’s offer replica 501 jeans from the years 1890, 1922, 1933, 1944, 1947, 1954, 1955, and 1966) but because this particular jean captures the authenticity and spirit of a time when Americans were emerging as the coolest people in the world. It’s a jean that combines the best of the 30s and the WWII years. It’s a jean filled with the optimism of the coming baby boom years. I can identify best with this jean because it is about turning points and that’s where I am in life right now.
The fit is real simple: slim-straight legs, mid to high waist. The denim is hefty 12 oz Red Selvedge denim produced at the fabled North Carolina Cone Mills. These can be characterized as work wear. And I feel qualified to wear them since I work in a factory. Not that you have to.
The flashiest part of these jeans, selvedge is the chevron of generals.
Following the rationing of raw materials during the second World War, Levi’s reintroduced normal and new details such as zinc buttons, double needle arcuate stitching, and watch pocket rivets.
Two months break in and these really have become a second skin. You can tell how dirty they are getting. I am vowing to not wash them until June, in the ocean using saltwater and sand.
Detect honey combing. Behind the knee creases forming. Extremely valuable.
Zinc buttons have a rich, matte weathered look. It makes me want to eat it.
I love the special details like the denim burrs protruding out of the rivets. It gives it an unfinished, extra raw quality. The copper seems burnt.
As soon as you put your hands into the pockets you notice the pocket lining is unusually thick and linen like. A pleasant surprise.
Near constant wearing has started a wonderful blue patina. It’s practically glowing.
These jeans have a velvety deep sea like quality to them.
The waist band breaks down quite nicely.
Buttery leather on the patch. Delicious.
They don’t make them like this no more. fo sho.