Everything You Need to Know About Levi’s® 501® Jeans

January 2023

Spolight on 501 JeansSpolight on 501 Jeans

Spotlight on Levi’s® 501® jeans

A pair of jeans so iconic that they even have their own anniversary, the classic Levi’s® 501® jeans can do no wrong. Since they first made their debut back in 1875 as a humble pair of work trousers, 501®s are now some of our most sought-after pairs of jeans, and it’s not hard to see why.

A lot of time has passed since 1875. Today, you can find our 501® jeans in a range of styles, colours and fits to suit everybody, any gender or age. Expertly crafted and brilliantly versatile, these are the jeans that started it.

Read on for our comprehensive guide to Levi’s® 501® jeans, where we’ll be answering your most asked questions about the 501® jeans, as well as giving some style tips to inspire new ways to wear your jeans.

What are the Levi’s® 501® jeans?

Ask for a pair of jeans that are both rule-breaking and gender-bending, with a do-what-you-want attitude, and you’ll get our 501® jeans. Found in a range of styles, from skinny and vintage to jean shorts and Shrink-to-Fit™, there are so many ways you can wear these jeans.

While they all might share a signature button fly as their key defining detail, no pair of 501®s is worn the same. Your jeans are a blank canvas for self-expression-- so go ahead and tailor & customise to make them your own.


Types of Levi’s® 501® jeans

501® Levi's® Original Jeans

It all started with 501® jeans. Levi’s® 501® jeans were the first jeans we ever made and the first blue jeans in the world. With a classic straight leg and our signature button fly, the 501® cut has been the blueprint for every single pair of jeans since 1873.

With a straight leg and high mid rise waist that looks great on everyone, you really can’t go wrong with a pair of original 501® jeans.


501® Levi’s® Crop Jeans

The straight leg fit of original 501® jeans with a clean crop, Levi’s® 501® Crop Jeans are a modern take on the old classic. With a mid-rise waist and versatile straight leg, these jeans are perfect if you want the timeless look of 501® jeans with a new approach.


501® ‘90s Jeans

Our ‘90s 501® Jeans mix everything we love about this style and everything we love about the ’90s into one great pair of jeans. With a mid-rise waist, relaxed fit and just enough bagginess, you don’t need to thrift to find the perfect pair of vintage ‘90s jeans.


Levi’s® Vintage Clothing 501® 1954 Jeans

We’ve gone back into the archives to bring you our Levi’s® Vintage Clothing 501® 1954 Jeans. Launched in 1954 with a zipper instead of our signature button fly, this style was created to help Levi’s® reach more people and was instrumental in spreading the Levi’s® love outside the USA.

These straight fit jeans have a slightly tapered leg, and we are made from raw, unwashed denim for a truly authentic vintage Levi’s® look.


501® ‘93 Crop Jeans

We’re throwing it back to 1993 with our 501® ‘93 Men’s Crop Jeans. These jeans effortlessly channel skate culture with a straight leg and crop. 501® ‘93 Crop Jeans sit slightly higher on your waist with a loose fit for that on-trend vintage look.


How to spot genuine Levi’s® jeans

Levi’s® jeans are made to last, which means that you can find plenty of good quality pre-loved- pairs at vintage stores and second-hand shopping apps. But to make sure you’re bagging a genuine pair of Levi’s®, there are a few things you should pay attention to.

Firstly, check your buttons. If they’re embossed with a style number on their back, then they’re less likely to be fake. Genuine Levi’s® also feature a red tab with straight stitching, are solid in colour as opposed to streaky, and come with a logo patch made from leather.


How can you tell if Levi’s® 501® jeans are vintage?

You can identify whether your 501® jeans are vintage by following these pointers:

  • Check if the word LEVI’S® is in all capital letters or whether it has a small letter “e” instead. The Tab with LEVI’S (also known as “Big E”) means the jeans are from before 1971
  • Look for care tabs, which were introduced to Levi’s garments in the 1970s
  • Examine the inseams to check for a single stitch running down the inner thigh. This is an indication that the jeans were made before the mid-1980s

How to ‘break in’ Levi’s® 501® jeans

Jeans made with good quality, thick denim can feel a little uncomfortable at first. With regular wear, it won’t be long before your jeans fit you like a glove—but if you want to speed up the breaking-in process a little bit, then try these tips:

The more times you put on your jeans, the more they’ll mould to your body, so try to wear your jeans just about as often as you can. You could even do a simple workout in your jeans, or if you’re feeling brave, try taking a bath in them. As the denim dries, your jeans will shrink to fit your body, giving you that perfect snugness.


How much do 501® jeans shrink?

Jeans shrink with heat, so to keep your 501® jeans fitting well, wash them on a cool setting and hang them up to air dry. If you want to shrink your jeans to better fit your body, try submerging them in lukewarm water until they’re the perfect fit for you.


How to style Levi’s® 501® jeans for women

Double Denim

Double denim is a look that never goes out of style, and 501® jeans are the perfect accompaniment to your favourite denim jacket. Finish with a statement belt and a pair of trainers, and you’re good to go. Read more about how to style your double denim look.

Jeans and a nice top

Ahh, the classic combo. Whether you’re going on a first date or a girl’s night out, the sweet combination of our 501® jeans with a stylish top can do no wrong. Wear with a pair of heels for a bit of extra sophistication.


How to style Levi’s® 501® jeans for men


The oversized look is really having its moment right now, so why not grab some 501®s a couple of sizes bigger than what you’d usually go for? Add a belt to keep everything in place and complete the look with a loose tee and an oversized jacket.



To really make your 501® jeans your own, consider customising them. Try adding rips or distressing your jeans. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you could even cut them into your very own custom pair of shorts with a raw hem. If you have a specific look in mind but prefer to call in an expert, our in-store tailors can help with any request.

Timeless and versatile, Levi’s® 501® jeans are essential in any wardrobe. For more style tips, read all about our complete guide to denim terminology, or discover more about our 551Z™ styles.