A Classic Look with Levi’s 501s

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The gold standard of men's jeans.

Written by: John Allis

It has been said that today’s Shrink-to-Fit 501 jeans aren’t the masterpiece Levi’s used to make. This may be true, but it must mean they made a heck of a pair of pants, once upon a time. 501s are the only jeans I wear.

I was in my khaki-colored 501s at work yesterday when a co-worker turned to me and said “I wish I had your pants.” Momentarily disappointed to realize this wasn’t a come-on, but rather a compliment of my fashion sense (I don’t claim to be a particularly fashionable individual), I fumbled with a stumbling “thank you,” before returning to the task at hand, awkwardly ending the conversation.

But then I got to thinking: She’s right. She is exactly right. I would wish pants as fine as these on any friend, that they might enjoy the same comfort and durability I have for so many years. And so I set out to write a product review, to let the world know, to sing a love song to my tried and true leg garments, which have been with me through thick and thin.

In spite of the fact I almost always wear jeans, and I only have four pairs of them, I haven’t bought a new pair in over two years, and haven’t done any stitching or mending. How is this possible? What is my secret? It has nothing to do with me or my routines. These jeans are tough, and made to last. I am their humble steward, thankful to have them protecting me from the elements, eliciting compliments and approving looks as we walk the rugged road of life together.

But surely there’s a downside to this particular cut of pants, yes? It’s a matter of opinion, to be sure:

These jeans are button-fly, which may take some getting used to for some. It may seem a burden to the particularly lazy or zipper-happy. I don’t suggest this scoffingly–no, I was once one among the zippered. So while the change was a gradual one, one that took some patience, it has been a thorough one, and proven worth making. And frankly, it puts me at ease not to live in fear of pinching or snagging.

A model in dark 501s

Also, these pants take some breaking-in. But so what? What great, personalized anything comes strait from the rack contouring to your unique body perfectly? All it takes is time to develop a relationship with one’s 501s. In no time they’ll be moving as you move, almost predicting of your step, keeping hold of you as lightly as a breeze.

Buy these pants. They are the best pants I’ve ever encountered. My eye never wanders from them to others, and I never want for any other style, cut or brand. They have become a part of my look, my aesthetic, my identity. For thirty-five to forty-five dollars (at most stores and online), that ain’t bad at all.

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