• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Wrangler is Better than Levi's

radicaldog

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
2,970
Reaction score
445
This is true of 99% of menswear, including things on the CM side of the board. Nearly all of menswear derives from work, sport, and war. The Norwegian split toe was originally a work shoe worn by British railway engineers, and yet people here pay thousands of dollars for them. Peacoats and chinos were military garments. The penny loafer has its roots in fishing shoes.
This sometimes makes me think that we--fashion-minded folks--are behind the curve. It seems as though in order to dress well in simple, practical clothes one has to go to great lengths and great expense to find reproductions of vintage designs, or "takes" on those designs. I'm guilty of this all the time, with both bespoke CM and expensive denim and such. I often think I'm doing it wrong because of a lack of guts: perhaps to be "effortlessly cool" one just has to break norms like those who wore jeans outside of manual work contexts did in the 50s or so. Whereas most of what I wear is perfectly socially acceptable.

In that spirit, a hypothesis, for lack of a better word. I passed a building crew in the street the other day. They don't wear jeans to work. They wear dark synthetic (I think) trousers with many pockets--not quite cargo pants though, as the pockets aren't on the sides. They look tough as nails and very practical. Maybe one should experiment with that sort of thing. But see, I'm already overthinking this. I'm hopeless.

My spouse is an artist and she and people in her circles wear a lot of cheap vintage or random hand-me-down stuff, and often look very good in it. That's another way to do it, but again, it has to come organically from your circumstances. Basically I think the SF mindset can get you from bland business casual to interesting and well put together clothes, maybe even fairly stylish, but it can't make you particularly cool, except maybe if you reach some sort of Aufhebung whereby you also delete your SF account. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

--

Edit: this sort of thing, which seems to be in the price range of cheap Wrangers and such.

1620477820471.png
 
Last edited:

Andy57

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
4,105
Reaction score
11,714
This is an interesting thread. I've worn jeans more than any other type of clothing in my life. For me, the arguments about better or best or things ain't what they used to be don't matter. There is and there will ever be only one type of jeans that are acceptable: Levi's 501s.

There is a Levi's bespoke store in San Francisco and I've occasionally thought about having a pair made for me. But, in the end, I don't want a pair of jeans that fit me better, I just want a pair of jeans that fit me like 501s. Like many things in this world, there is the real thing and there are copies. In this case, are Levi 501s and there are copies. All this, of course, is purely my personal opinion and represents no objective take on quality, fit, or anything else.
 

pasadena man

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
198
Reaction score
252
This is an interesting thread. I've worn jeans more than any other type of clothing in my life. For me, the arguments about better or best or things ain't what they used to be don't matter. There is and there will ever be only one type of jeans that are acceptable: Levi's 501s.

There is a Levi's bespoke store in San Francisco and I've occasionally thought about having a pair made for me. But, in the end, I don't want a pair of jeans that fit me better, I just want a pair of jeans that fit me like 501s. Like many things in this world, there is the real thing and there are copies. In this case, are Levi 501s and there are copies. All this, of course, is purely my personal opinion and represents no objective take on quality, fit, or anything else.
BMW pretty much invented the sports coupe/sedan category. Throughout the 80’s other brands were trying to catch up. They would advertise that their cars were now “as fast as a BMW”, or “handled as well as a BMW”. BMW eventually put a series of these quotes into their own advertising with a tag that said in effect: “Well, why not just buy a BMW then? Accept no substitute”.

Your view is very consistent with Levi Strauss being seen as the most reputable/trusted clothing/fashion brand.
 

radicaldog

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
2,970
Reaction score
445
This is an interesting thread. I've worn jeans more than any other type of clothing in my life. For me, the arguments about better or best or things ain't what they used to be don't matter. There is and there will ever be only one type of jeans that are acceptable: Levi's 501s.

There is a Levi's bespoke store in San Francisco and I've occasionally thought about having a pair made for me. But, in the end, I don't want a pair of jeans that fit me better, I just want a pair of jeans that fit me like 501s. Like many things in this world, there is the real thing and there are copies. In this case, are Levi 501s and there are copies. All this, of course, is purely my personal opinion and represents no objective take on quality, fit, or anything else.
But the fit of 501s has changed a lot over time, not to mention the fabric, trimmings, etc. Do you have a certain era in mind? Or is the idea that we should trust Levi's to adjust the 501 model so it's always optimal and current?
 

circumspice

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
1,237
Reaction score
828
A lot of the Levi's angst is because you cannot expect 2 pairs of 501s from the same season in the same size in the same fabric to be the same size as measured. It is one thing when you see Eva Epaulet or Greg NMWA dealing with that from their makers, but they are 2-5 FTE operations sourcing various styles of products, not the consensus inventor of the blue jean.

As far caring about clothes 365 - I learned the hard way on a trip to SE Asia that trying to bring interesting clothes can be a huge pain in the ass - had a color crocking problem, etc. I might just bring a half dozen PRL polos next time I go someplace > 90F as they are effectively indestructible.
 

double00

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
11,122
Reaction score
12,777
i've owned quite a few pairs of 501s from quite a few decades.

some of the late 60s pairs in particular have had obvious build issues

worth remembering that in those days they QC would find skips or slubs in the fabric, or whatever issue, they'd remove the backpatch and tab and discount/outlet them. i've found several pairs of these at thrift. for a time they actually graded quality and stamp the patches, can you imagine?

as far as the cut it has changed over the years, what they made new in 2010 was pretty close to the 50s iteration but they do oscillate from that carroty anti-fit cut to the more fitted stuff from the 80s. but, it's still the same garment to me.

for me it's about the fabric, which means it's really about the yarn. the old ones show that seam-twist after a wash. why? because the yarn is overspun homie.
 

Andy57

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
4,105
Reaction score
11,714
But the fit of 501s has changed a lot over time, not to mention the fabric, trimmings, etc. Do you have a certain era in mind? Or is the idea that we should trust Levi's to adjust the 501 model so it's always optimal and current?
When I shop for a new pair, I just grab every pair in my size off the shelf take them all into a dressing room and try each one on until I find the one or two pairs that are satisfactory. If the patch says "501" then I'm good to go. By no means am I advocating this as a technique for anyone else. It's just what I do.
 

pasadena man

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
198
Reaction score
252
But the fit of 501s has changed a lot over time, not to mention the fabric, trimmings, etc. Do you have a certain era in mind? Or is the idea that we should trust Levi's to adjust the 501 model so it's always optimal and current?
I guess there are the actual 501’s, and the Platonic ideal of the Levi’s 501. As director John Ford said: “When you have to choose between history and legend, print the legend.”
 

Salad

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
867
Reaction score
314
I just recently found a pair of light weight natural undyed (off white with flecks of plant matter) 501s in STF White Oak Cone denim. They're cut/sewn in Mexico. I've found the current mainline STF 501s are made in Egypt. The Egypt pairs are cut bigger. The Mexico / Cone pairs are my ideal fit. I super hot soaked them for a couple hours and they shrank 1.5" in the waist and solid 2" in length. I lucked out w/ my calculations and they couldn't fit any better. 11.5" front rise with 8.25' leg opening. Best fitting pair of jeans I have.
 

DrapeCut

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
78
Reaction score
45
I don't understand CM guys who spend all day reading about spalla camicia, buy $1,000 shoes from Budapest after asking random strangers about sizing, and buy tailored clothes that have to be specially hand pressed to retain their shape, but they talk about "nice jeans" as if it's some weird special world only for "denimheads." Like, being into tailored clothing is 10x stranger and requires more commitment and money in every way. Tailored trousers also don't last as long. You buy $200 grey flannel trousers ($1,000 if you go bespoke) and they wear out after a couple of years. Raw denim jeans last forever unless you're a laborer. They also look better patched up.

I think Nordstrom used to carry Unbranded, but I don't know if they still do. There may be other mass-market retailers who carry them. Gustin is pre-order only, as they operate on a crowdfunding model. I mostly buy jeans from Self Edge.

LVC 1947 501s are a very CM-friendly cut. It's a mid-rise, slim-straight style that will fit in well with a lot of CM type clothing. I think they're about $200. 3sixteen's SL-100x is popularly recommended on denim boards. They're also a slim-straight cut and about $200.
One spending preference isn't stranger than the other. My eye values great shoes (never $1k tho) and suits over fancy raw jeans. I'll happily wear a $300-900 shoe with a $45 pair of jeans. Jeans just aren't a passion of mine.
 

DrapeCut

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
78
Reaction score
45
This is an interesting thread. I've worn jeans more than any other type of clothing in my life. For me, the arguments about better or best or things ain't what they used to be don't matter. There is and there will ever be only one type of jeans that are acceptable: Levi's 501s.

There is a Levi's bespoke store in San Francisco and I've occasionally thought about having a pair made for me. But, in the end, I don't want a pair of jeans that fit me better, I just want a pair of jeans that fit me like 501s. Like many things in this world, there is the real thing and there are copies. In this case, are Levi 501s and there are copies. All this, of course, is purely my personal opinion and represents no objective take on quality, fit, or anything else.
This unapologetic blind devotion to a brand is ridiculous. Like any entity offering a product/service, Levi's should have to work for your patronage. The 501's mystique is no longer relevant when the modern standard 501 has little in common with the versions that made the brand ubiquitous in the 20th century. Levi's is riding on marketing hype and you're eating it up. Heritage over substance!
 

double00

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
11,122
Reaction score
12,777
it's still the same garment...

in what ways do you think the 501 is materially different from say 1965?
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
21,790
Reaction score
52,955
it's still the same garment...

in what ways do you think the 501 is materially different from say 1965?
Pretty easy to see the differences since both are available today.

Go to the LVC section of the store and pick up a pair of LVC 1955 501s, which is the jean that would have been available in 1965. It's a faithful reproduction. Then go to the mainline section and compare it to the modern 501.

In 1965, the 501 was a boxy anti-fit jean made from raw, selvedge denim. The current 501 is a modern slim-straight leg made from projectile loom denim put through a variety of washes.

I don't have any problem with modern Levis. I buy modern Levis jeans for family members and I think they look good in them. But the 501 has changed in fit and fabrication over the years.
 

double00

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
11,122
Reaction score
12,777
projectile loom vs shuttle loom is inconsequential. ring spun vs o/e is a more way meaningful comparison and yet doesn't capture the essential product!

xx fabric is still very available, you can size to taste.

also: LVC is levi's. fyi.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Summer Loafers: With or Without Socks?

  • With socks

  • No socks


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
459,678
Messages
9,973,189
Members
207,701
Latest member
JeffreyCalhoun
Top