The earliest incarnations of men's 501 jeans are of historical interest rather than wearable collectors' items, but from 1936 on, vintage Levi's have attracted plenty of attention from retro clothing aficionados.The original vintage jeans are in shades of blue, but for those who want the silhouette in a different color, reproductions of colored jeans in black, white, and other hues are available.The famous Levi's red tag made its first appearance in 1936, giving future jeans collectors an easy way to identify and date their finds.Their clothing worked hard too, and they loved the patented work pants from Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis.The copper rivets at the seams made the pants durable, and the thick denim made them comfortable.In 1890, Strauss and Davis refined the style and called it lot 501, a name that has stayed for more than a century.
Connoisseurs of vintage styles can note the subtle differences between older pairs and newer designs, however, and the originals have become highly collectible.
The prospectors who moved to California in the Gold Rush years worked hard for their earnings.
By the 1960s, denim pants had transitioned completely from work-ready gear to casual styles.
The classic 501 style has undergone tweaks to fit the fashions of their era since the 1940s, giving collectors a reason to seek vintage Levi's jeans over their modern counterparts.
Since Levi Strauss patented them in 1873, jeans have gone from hard-working miners' gear to a casual fashion essential.
Levi's original small company has grown into an international trend-setter, but the brand's classic jeans have remained essentially the same for decades.