The Jeans Every Man Needs To Own: Levi’s 501

There are a few key items that every man should have in their closets: a great blue suit, a classic white button down shirt, a pair of slim fit chinos, some classic chucks from Converse, and a good pair of jeans. Somehow many men seem to nail down the first basics, we listed, easily but fail to own a good classic pair of jeans. They stumble. They get caught up in all the denim trends and often look out of step quickly. Don’t worry, we are here to help.

The key to a good pair jeans that will look good today and tomorrow and five years from now is to keep it classic – classic fit and classic wash. While we can appreciate the appeal of trends in denim, from wider leg to straight leg to extra skinny leg. But often they can leave you looking like you are chasing a look that doesn’t suit you. And let’s not get started on all those trendy, and sometimes strange, denim washes. Keep it simple sir. Buy the jeans that have been around for over 145 years: Levi’s 501.

The history of the Levi’s 501
The 501 jean was actually the first ever pair of jeans made; originally designed in the 1890s as long-lasting workwear pants for miners during the gold rush. Moreover, Levi Strauss not only created the modern jean as we know it but they also patented the use of copper grommets at seams. This design was created to enhance the longevity of the denim by reinforcing stress points. It has an unabashedly straight leg silhouette. It’s neither skinny nor baggy. The 12.5-ounce weight denim came in only one classic wash – dark indigo. This was used as it hid dirt well with its dark dye yet didn’t bleed through when put through its rigors. In fact, the wear marks that started to happen began to be seen as a badge of honour for work well done.

Fast forward 146 years and the 501 has transformed into a fashion icon and mainstay of popular culture. Think of a style icon, and you can guarantee they’ve owned a pair. Fans of 501 include Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, James Dean, and Robert Redford. These men defined relaxed cool with a rebel edge via simple white tees with rolled sleeves and classic jeans. This look defined the 1950s. Further, cultural vanguard Andy Warhol popularized the smart-casual look when he paired his 501s with a blazer. That’s right, the classic casual look of jeans with a blazer came via Pop Art. He even went so far as to immortalize  the garment in one of his trademark screen-prints. By the 1980s, everyone from punks to hipsters to suburban dads had embraced the jean as their very own. In fact, I am sure every reader has owned a pair or two over their lifetime.

The 501 has evolved
While Levi’s has produced the 501 jean for 145 years, certain features have evolved and changed over time. The brand now offers the silhouette in stretch denim and in premium denim. You can also choose between a tapered silhouette and a skinny fit. These changes further evolve the denim into a jean that is flattering on a range of body types. The 12.5-ounce denim is appropriate for a range of seasons and the jean comes in a variety of washes to suit your personal taste. You can style your Levi’s 501 any way you want. Keep it casual with trainers or dress them up with brogues.

Christian Dare

Christian Dare

Christian Dare spent much of his formative years working in the fashion industry as a Visual Manager before pursuing a Masters’ Degree in Design. He is the Principal at Christian Dare Creative, the co-founder of Stylist Box and runs a successful men’s lifestyle blog, Christian Dare Edited,focusing on menswear, interior design and craft cocktails. You can find him online at www.christiandareedited.com or follow him on Twitter @christiandare but he is more fun on Instagram christian_dare. 

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