I was rummaging through the Levi's racks at Century 21 a few months ago, a section I don't normally take the time to sift through (I'm not really looking for 511's or Commuter jeans, regardless of the price), when my hands ran across the surface of something I didn't expect to feel - raw denim. You would imagine my surprise to find they were LVC's 1967 505 rigid jeans for $49.99 (!), and in the dressing room to discover that the fit was very approachable, even by today's standards. Yahtzee.
Levi's introduced the 505 in 1967, the "Summer of Love," and it quickly became a favorite among rock stars and the rebellious youth of the day. The Rolling Stones featured a pair of 505's on the cover of Sticky Fingers, and all four members of The Ramones wore 505's for the cover of their eponymous album.
Design, Materials, and Construction
LVC include a little brochure tag with their jeans to point out the historical design details you'll find on their clothing. You'll notice a capital "E" red tab label on the back pocket, one of the first indicators that you would normally be looking at a vintage pair, which was later switched in 1971 to the small "e" Levi's tabs we see today so it would read "Levi's" instead of "LEVI'S".
|"Big E" red tab|
We're also used to seeing YKK zippers on everything, but LVC uses the original Talon zipper used on the 1967 505's that articulates and moves pretty much the same. Bar tacking had replaced rivets at the back pockets by the time the 505s were produced (rivets would wear through the pockets and scratch up whatever you were sitting on), with the remaining rivets and shanks copper.
|"Two Horses" back patch|
All in all, stitching is good, construction is solid, denim is premium, and there aren't any noticeable weak points to note. They're clearly a notch above budget raw selvedge like you could find at a place like Uniqlo. As I mentioned, though, there's nothing either that particularly catches the eye, which I think is partly the point. After recently picking up a pair of selvedge jeans at Banana Republic that had selvedge lines on both the coin pocket and the entire right back pocket, I've come to appreciate a little restraint and subtlety.
|Interior chain stitching and bar tacking|
Sizing and Fit
|Not the same fit|
|Also pictured: Shirt - Brooks Brothers Linen, Belt - Don't Mourn, Organize!, Boots - Red Wing Heritage Beckman|
Levi's describes the 1967 505 as a "slim straight" compared to their older 501 models, with a lower rise as well, though those looking for skinny jeans will find no joy here. In fact, Levi's eventually introduced a modified 505C fit, which is cut slimmer than the original in keeping with the modern convention of slim to skinny fits. However, I wouldn't call the 505's baggy by any means - I was actually pleasantly surprised that they were so relatable. The fit has an average top block with a slim thigh that leaves a slight bit of room down the length of the leg. It's a style I've found pairs easily with a pair of boots and a leather jacket, or any classic casual Americana.
Impressions and Value
|Also pictured: Boots - Wolverine Centennial 1000 Mile|
|Also pictured: Belt - Thirteen50 bridle leather|
On sale, though, Levi's Vintage Clothing is a decent proposition, especially for <$100. I picked my pair up for <$50 in a rack full of random standard 508's or something, at which price they're cheaper than Gap or Banana Republic jeans - essentially a no-brainer. They're stupid good at that price. LVC puts some of their models on sale themselves, which have been known to rarely be included in Levi's main site blanket additional sales. But if you see some hanging around a Mr. Porter or Unionmade Archive sale for cheap as well, I'd consider taking a closer look yourself.
Where to Buy
Levi's Vintage Clothing
505 at Mr. Porter
505 at Oki-Ni
505 at Stuarts of London
505 at Unionmade (Cone Mills)
- Quality denim and materials
- Solid construction
- Approachable fit
- A way to own a historically accurate pair of 1967 505's
- Aside from its history, no particular standout features
- Overpriced for what it is