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Customer Review

568 of 586 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, Original, and 501 are meaningless, but these are the old-fashioned style, September 25, 2009
This review is from: Levi's Men's 501 Original Shrink To Fit Jean (Apparel)
If you're looking for the old-fashioned style Levi 501 jeans like the ones you bought in the 1970's or 80's, that are made of heavy denim and you bought them oversize and washed them hot to shrink them to size, at least one of the ones listed on this page is the right one: the Color: Rigid STF (at the moment it is the color at the far left).

It took many hours of searching and researching (researching blue jeans!) at several online stores and non-store websites to determine whether equivalents to my old ones were even made anymore, and if so, which ones they were. Levi calls countless styles Classic or Classic Fit, and countless others Original, and the 501 number was apparently successful, so they call a lot of them 501, too, to the point where these adjectives and style number have no meaning anymore. Classic and Original probably just mean they're Levi-Strauss, and 501 is meant to catch your eye. Maybe they hope you'll make lots of mistakes and have to buy lots of jeans while hoping to find the right ones. If it sounds like I'm joking about that, I'm not.

So it was with some relief that I got these, saw that they're the right style, shrank them down, and they're fine. There is even an improvement over the old ones: the button-fly holes are now are reinforced with stitching, which they didn't used to be. Mine say Made in Haiti; quality seems just fine. The denim is heavy-weight.

If you're looking for the type of old-fashioned plain style jeans that I described, the keywords to look for are: Rigid, Indigo, Shrink-To-Fit/STF, Straight Leg, Button-Fly, Rivets, and 501 (even though it can mean almost anything). When you're looking at an item description, the more of these keywords are omitted, the more suspicious you can be that you may be looking at an "impostor", possibly even an impostor style made by Levi itself.

Shop carefully. It wasn't an accident that I ended up with the ones I set out to buy. It took more than a day of traversing the Levi-Strauss style minefield.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 20, 2011 8:22:47 AM PST
J. petrie says:
I am frustrated beyond belief trying to find the jeans I grew up with, that clung just right and weathered to a thing of beauty. I hate having to become a detective in order to find the jeans we all took for granted to buy without having to take the time to try on. You knew your waist and length, and you were good to go.
Now its endless time and ending up with a stack of twenty+ jeans in a dressing room reading labels or origin. Yes, this country's not too bad, that country's fabic is yucky, this country's work is shoddy....

Posted on May 27, 2012 1:48:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jan 29, 2013 2:50:07 PM PST
rogun says:
I also own a pair of the Rigid STF 501's made in Haiti and some people consider the quality of these inferior to those made in other countries. From my own experience, this seems to be true. All but one pair of my 501 STF's are made in Mexico and the material in the pair from Haiti just seems inferior to the material of the pairs made in Mexico. I've heard that the ones made in Egypt are also very good, but I wouldn't know.

Also, in my opinion, I don't think the material of any of them are of the same quality as those I've owned in the past, although I think I might like the fit better today.

update: I recently purchased a pair made in Egypt and I'd rate them somewhere in between those made in Haiti and Mexico. I also want to note that the lone pair I have made in Haiti are a different size then the rest I own, and while they do seem lighter weight, it may just be the sizing difference that accounts for why I like them less.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 7:59:30 AM PDT
501's have always been my favorite jeans, but do to economic restraints I'd been buying Wranglers at the local Walmart.
A year or so ago I thought I'd treat myself to another pair of 501's. What a disappoint. They started coming apart on me after only a couple months of wear. I only noticed later that they were made in Haiti.

Posted on Oct 2, 2012 1:54:55 PM PDT
MtnVeggie says:
This post is out of date. Levi has dumbed downed the fabric from 14.5 oz to 12.5 oz...these jeans are nothing like the ones I wore in the 70's. If anyone doubts this, call Levi's customer service line and they will admit the jeans are lighter weight denim.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 10:37:14 AM PST
Ziv says:
MtnVeggie, I think I have read that some of the 501's are now 11.5 oz. But they still have the XX on their label that used to mean that they were 20 oz. denim like they were until the early 80's. My last pair from Mexico seem to be 12.5 oz, based on how heavy/light they felt new and what I was able to find out about them before I ordered them.
I used to love my 501's, now they are just ok. I wonder how much less 12.5 oz. denim costs compared to 20 oz.? 50 cents? A dollar?
Great job, Levis! Sarc.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 10:20:30 AM PST
M. Fukumoto says:
20 oz. denim is very expensive now. I own about 4 pairs of Levis now, two are made in Japan and of much higher quality than what is produced on the average. If you go to an actual Levis store like in San Fran then you will get good quality denim but the prices are about $250+

I buy all of my denim raw and selvage which means that they're going to cost you at least $100+ per pair. I have found a decent alternative from Uniqlo who makes a straight fit denim that is of decent quality for only $50. I suggest anyone interested in cheap denim to try those out.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2013 6:02:16 AM PST
Charlie says:
I sent a review in to Levi Strauss Co. with several similar observations that you offer. It was rejected. Recently, I had purchased several 505 rigid 14.5 oz heavy denim. I have hopes they will wear into the soft, almost silky, caressing, subtly hued jeans I bought 30 years ago. So many Levi lovers from days past are frustrated with imitations of imitations called Levi's made by guess who. The market may demand "updated" styles and as low priced as possible products, but the loss of an American icon no longer significantly made in America is a bewildering business decision.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2013 6:09:10 AM PST
Charlie says:
Who knew Levi's are made in Japan? Understandably, for justifiable and not so justifiable reasons, heavy weight jeans now cost one to two hundred. I would like to have an economist calculate the cost of the famed US jeans of 30+ plus years ago into today's dollars. Thanks for the information.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2013 2:59:29 PM PST
rogun says:
I think it's worth noting that 501's don't all come with the same fabric weight. When you look at them on Levi's website, they have these weights for some of the different colors. IIRC, the most "popular rigid" STF color is 12.5 oz, while some others offer either heavier or lighter fabric weights.

If you can't find them on the Levi's website, there are a couple of online retailers that also offer this information. I always try to find this information when ordering Levi's, because I won't buy any that are less then 12.5 oz.

Posted on Jan 30, 2013 4:24:49 PM PST
RENS says:
Just to clarify: "501" still means something. It indicates that the jeans have a button fly. That's it. Otherwise "501" tells you nothing about fabric or weight of fabric. I had to call Levi USA to get the different weights of denim sorted out. The "XX" on the patch, meaning 20 oz. denim, should be removed - but few know what "XX" means (or meant) nowadays anyway.
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