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Down to 9oz Denim, a mere shadow of the past glory, found inexpensive alternative
on January 29, 2016
Others have covered these jeans in detail and advised us to order the 501 shrink to fit Rigid Indigo, amazon labels it "Rigid STF".... I am here to tell you these are now down to 9oz denim and are in no resemblance to quality 501 STF from yesteryear.
I once was in a Levi's store and asked them why they still mark the red tags with "XX" on shrink to fit when this was historically the mark of the weight of the denim, so 20oz denim when you convert the Roman Numerals to denim weight. They looked confused and had never heard of that before. I was confused they were confused, I wasn't the one working at the Levi's store. The inside pocket now states to look for the "XX" to ensure you are getting authentic Levi's top quality denim.... but it is only 9oz. They are also running TERRIBLY smaller and I wish I ordered a longer inseam, but again as others have noted the sizing depends on where they are made, mine were made in Mexico.
The red label was not stitched on correctly, or the tag is so cheaply made (feels like paper) that it tore out of the stitching within 3 days with a belt on. See picture.
I ordered size 32 x 34. I measured the new NEVER shrunk inseam because it seemed way to short, it was only 32", maybe 32.5" if I was being generous with the tape measure... it should be at least 34" minimum! I posted a picture next to my old STF 32x34s (they are black and behind the new jeans and have been shrunk) you can clearly see if I shrink the new ones I will lose about 2+ inches and have high water pants as they are only about .5 inches longer than the shrunk jeans.See second Picture.
Terrible quality control
Here is what I am frustrated about. Levi's knows how to make fantastic denim, they just aren't anymore. Levi's knows how to make consistent, uniform sized, reliable jeans with far and above the best materials, they just aren't anymore.... why? The pricing hasn't changed, so why has everything else.
In my search for quality denim at lower cost (it is not hard to spend $100+ on raw denim jeans) I found something in my local Kmart that may help some of you out. They are NOT shrink to fit but are likely the most inexpensive unwashed denim you can find. They are Rustler Indigo jeans (only the Indigo appear to be raw unwashed, I have only found them at Kmart). They are at least 13-14oz denim. There is only one cut (boot cut).
Their cut is actually fairly similar to the 501 if it had a zipper, a little too wide at the bottom though, buy the size you actually need, maybe even a little smaller, not like the Shrink To Fit sizing. They stretch out over time a little bit assuming you aren't washing them. For the price if the fit isn't right have someone tailor it, still cheaper than Levi's and you can feel the difference in the quality of denim Rustler is using.
Now for the best part.....they are only $12 and go on sale for $10!!! Also they have a 1 year warranty where they will send you a new pair if it fails. They age VERY well and show nice wear marks (again assuming you are buying what they label as "Indigo" which are unwashed and stiff raw denim). Don't wash them, treat them like shrink to fit or raw denim. Once they are nice and worn in you can do a soak, freeze them, etc... lookup how to take care of raw denim. Not nearly as cool as Levi's, I know, but Levi's is forgetting their entire history as an American icon and really loosing reputation. No I do not work for kmart or rustler, just a guy who likes jeans that don't fall apart in a month.