The Latest Levi’s 501 Takes It Back to the ’50s

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Levi’s has been the premier name in denim for over 150 years and now occupies a rare place in the menswear psyche. (When you think of jeans, you probably think of hers.) In 2023, the brand’s pedigree has barely lost an ounce of its indigo luster: its vibrant collabs sell out fast, its vintage styles are a favorite among the gen Z -hauliers and their legions of stylish fans – maybe including you! – provide the kind of organic advertising that money can’t buy. But the San Francisco denim institution isn’t resting on its laurels.

Levi’s has responded by finding new ways to entice the next generation of denim obsessives to buy a pair of Red Tabs. They launched a second-hand website to capitalize on the mania for pre-worn jeans, and more recently they’ve begun making versions of their most iconic model, the Levi’s 501, in a variety of cuts inspired by decades past. to reissue. The latest release to hit the market is the 501 ’54, a pair that evokes the days when blue jeans were the ultimate symbol of rebellious cool.

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Levi’s 501 ’54 Original Fit Jeans

Levi’s 501 ’54 Original Fit Jeans

The new (or old?) 501 ’54 has a mid-century fit that practically translates into a higher rise and slightly slimmer legs than its modern counterpart. But the detail that really makes them feel like a true throwback is their 100% cotton construction, without the polyester stretch that’s ubiquitous in jeans today – Levi’s included. Any vintage enthusiast worth their weight in selvedge will tell you that what pure cotton denim lacks in short-term comfort, it more than makes up for in both durability and patina. (That’s why vintage jeans remain not only desirable, but actual portableDecades after they were first burgled.)

And this is where it gets really interesting. Previous versions of the 501 ’54 were only available under the brand’s Vintage Clothing sub-label, which updated the style with faithful raw denim, released in limited quantities – and at a price very close to a designer’s. We’d love to tell you that the easiest way to get your hands on a genuine pair of ’50s Levi’s is to simply spend hours scouring eBay, but these days that can still mean spending a lot more than you’d like to. That makes the appeal of the revamped Levi’s 501 pretty simple: what fits the brand’s history more authentically than budget-friendly jeans that come in three super-wearable washes? At this rate, the 501 won’t be relinquishing its hold on the denim market any time soon.


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