Thursday, 9 January 2014

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1967 505-217 Selvedge Jeans

A Thoroughly Modern Pair of Bottoms.

LVC 505 patch detail

Levi's are justly famous for their jeans, in particular the 501. But, it's only Levi's Vintage Clothing (LVC), the brand's heritage arm, that still use the narrow loom selvedge denim of their forebears, scouring an extensive archive to make faithful reproductions of the originals.

Introduced in 1967, the 505 sported a narrower fit than the 501, with a taper from the knee.
However, by today's standards (read hipsters wearing their girlfriend's denim) they would be regarded as more of a regular fit.
LVC 505 Jeans

The 505s lost the button fly in favour of a Talon zipper. They do retain the high back rise and deep yolk of Levi's earlier jeans, so are still meant to be worn high. Quite right too. (Though if you're minded, you can sport them lower.)
They’re quite similar in cut to the LVC 1954 501s, the first zip flied narrower legged 501, though interestingly this earlier jean sports a lower waist.

LVC 505 Jeans
Talon Zipper
This similarity to 1950's jeans means you can get away with a chunky turn-up, but they'd also suit a narrower double turn-upOf course, as you'd expect from LVC, the hems are chain stitched. 
The other main difference are the back pockets - they’re slightly slanted on the 505.

LVC 505 Jeans

LVC normally favour Cone Mills for their fabric, but the beautiful 14oz denim for the 505 was milled by Kaihara in Japan. Most Levi's are 11oz or 12oz, so it's nice to see them do something a little heavier.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans
Coin pocket fade - Kaihara denim ageing gracefully
As denoted by the '217' on the patch, it is sanforized, (shrink-to-fits are indicated by a '0117'), so the leg only shrunk by just under an inch after a pre-wear soak.
I wear them high so went of a slightly larger waist size then normal. (According to some they come up small in the sizing.)
Simply wear them damp and they'll mould to your body perfectly.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans
Natural cotton pocket bags
I bought them in April of last year and, aside from a brief Central Asian hiatus with the military, have worn them constantly since. 
They recently had another soak (post epic beer spillage) and are developing some nice fades. 
Alas, they've now been consigned to the wardrobe. But it is not all bad - I'm breaking in a pair of 19oz 1948 Roamers from Pike Brothers; the lighter Levi's will come out again in the summer.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans

1967 is a about as contemporary as we get here at NU without getting a nosebleed and having to lie down in a dark room.
If you're new to the world of selvedge denim, not yet prepared to tackle a pair of shrink-to-fits but looking for some excellent quality selvedge denim in a fairly modern fit (well, modern by New Utility standards) then the 505's are for you.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans
Chain-stiched hem and red line selvedge edge.
Every denim-head should have a pair of selvedge Levi's in the collection. This jeans' versatility, combined with  the fact they don't cost the earth, I think I paid DKK 1200 at Brund in Copenhagen, means they're one of Levi's Vintage Clothing best sellers.

To find your nearest LVC stockist click here.

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