On May 1st 2012 we officially launched our Levi’s Vintage Clothing Wear & Tear Project. To bring the project to a close, this article acts as a guide to denim lovers and Levi’s fans alike in finding the correct fit and the right size of these tricky shrink-to-fits. We’ve had a painter, a motorcycle mechanic, a world ranking badminton player, a Swedish hockey player and the father of a Danish denim enthusiast wear the ‘big five’ of Levi’s Vintage Clothing 501 line up ranging from the 1944 S501XX through the 1966 501. This is what we learned.
eBay is a great place to spend all your savings on vintage denim. Recently I got my hands on this pair of late 90s deadstock Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1955 501XX jeans made at the now closed Valencia Street factory in San Francisco. It’s a worn out cliché, but they (Levi’s) really don’t make jeans like this anymore.
It has been quiet from our Swedish hockey player, Viktor Pettersson, who’s wearing in the 1955 501XX for the Wear & Tear project. But the lack of updates on the fades of this fit is not caused by an equivalent lack of wear; Viktor loves the jeans, their fit, the hardwearing denim and the subtle, authentic fades it gets with wear. He has been wearing the jeans about 3-4 times a week and recently he washed them for the first time since the initial soak and wash. This is what the jeans look like after 11 month in regular rotation.
The “incurable collector of Americana,” Patrick Segui of the blog Riveted did a little spring cleaning a couple years back, which led to the discovery of a pair of rare 1955 501 Levi’s jean form the ‘Capital E’ line that ran from 1989 until the launch of Levi’s Vintage Clothing in 1996. At the time (in 2010), he had already been sitting on the jeans for 13 years (!) and back in the 90s he only paid $26.99 for them, which is ridiculous, especially when you consider that they were manufactured at the Valencia Street factory of a 14 oz. hairy American milled denim. Click here to see how the jeans evolved after Patrick has been working in them once a week for 2 year and only washed them twice.
The introduction to the 1955 501XX of our Wear & Tear Project is slightly complicated. Originally it was meant to be worn in by yours truly, but already before the project began I had my doubts weather I was able to commit to one pair of jeans for 1 year. Still, I set out wearing the jeans for 45 days straight, but then something happened, I got a new job with Edwin in Denmark. With the job came a dilemma, what should I do with my Wear & Tear Project jeans, which I obviously couldn’t wear every day as I originally intended to do? After thinking about it for a long time I decided to give up jeans to another wearer, Viktor Pettersson. Here’s his story.
These Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1955 501XX jeans were bought in 2006 from Pede & Stoffer. Thomas Nielsen-Nielsen who owns them initially wore the jeans approximately three days a week the first couple of months. After that you were hidden away in his closet for a few years, but then Thomas started using the jeans while he worked for five month putting up scaffolds. During that period they were washed once a month in a bathtub. After that he used the jeans an entire summer while renovating his garage at home. Today they’ve been washed about fifteen times.