THE 101 ON THE 501

There is something indescribably covetable about a pair of vintage Levi's 501 jeans. It's a feeling, a tangible connection to history, you can see time in the way the indigo fades. This iconic denim has roots equally deep in both fashion and the working class - a combination more closely tied than one might assume. Yet, according to widely agreed upon sociological theories, there tends to be a trickle-down phenomenon when it comes to fashion. Fancy folks set the trends and after a while, those trends become cheaper and more available. What we see here is the complete opposite! Levi's 501's were created in 1890 as a response to the influx of laborers flooding into California. Now, a vintage pair can reach almost $4,000 on eBay!! While we hope you didn't spend that much, we know you probably spent some time looking, so today we bring you the official owners manual to accompany that pair of vintage 501's you finally found. Enjoy!

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WASHING

Most people wash their jeans WAY too much. Wash them as little as possible- it preserves the integrity of the denim. The more you wash, the more you wear the denim down, causing it to rip and lose its original color. But, if the goal is to make a somewhat vintage pair look "more vintage" wash them a lot!

HEMMING

So you got your hands on some vintage 501's in your size! Problem - they are too long, and you don't feel like getting them hemmed. Cut 'em! Fringe is in! 

SEWING

If you have more than a little experience with button fly 501's, you know what's going on here. Fabric wears out, and over time the button holes stretch - worse case scenario, they rip all the way. This creates a frustrating situation where your pants keep popping open. Not fun, and probably why zippers were invented. 

But never fear! To fix this, just use a simple zigzag stitch, like the one below, to reconnect the edges of the buttonhole, tightening it up or mending a tear. 

PERFECT FIT

Now that you have that coveted pair, take care of them! And if you think of any other necessary maintenance we should look into, let us know in the comments below!

 BY OLIVIA LA ROCHE 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA-ALEXIA BASILE