How To Identify Vintage Levi's

An ideal closet typically contains at least one perfect pair of blue jeans. But because of its versatility and variety, people usually never settle for just one pair. Blue jeans have become a staple piece of clothing. Its uses range from work to after-office parties to leisurely walks in a mall. With the right accessories, it can be transformed from one look to another.

Among the popular brands of jeans, Levi’s pioneered the use of blue jeans in 1873. Levi’s originated from the creative minds of Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis. Initially called as “waist overalls,” the two business partners decided to manufacture a new kind of work clothing for miners and men who perform manual labor. Because if its fine workmanship and sturdy material, it soon became a household name, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After more than a century when it was first launched to the public, Levi’s continues to be an in demand article of clothing. With the rich history that every pair comes with, it is no surprise that the brand now enjoys the fancy of most people, especially the ones who collect vintage items. What are considered to be vintage Levi’s items are those that were produced earlier than the 1980s. In order to determine whether a pair is vintage or not, you can look at some particular details of your item. Here is a short and simple guide to help you identify vintage Levi’s:

  • Check the redline selvage. Fold the jeans from the bottom and inspect the leg seam. A white strip should be noted with a red thread that runs through it. These are generally found in button fly 501’s.
  • Refer to the red tab. Every pair of Levi’s comes with a red tab where the brand name is inscribed. Vintage pairs that originate from before 1971, has the capitalized letter “e” in Levi’s. Collectors refer to this detail as the “big E.” If your pair comes in small “e,” your pair was manufactured only after 1971.  
  • Inspect for the presence of a buckleback. Bucklebacks were introduced before the 1930s. A buckleback is a buckle that is found on the rear waist used to tighten the pair of jeans. These are now more difficult to find and, thus, more expensive.
  • Look at the buttons. Vintage pairs that originate from the 1970s have single digits inscribed on the buttons. Instead of the popular ones that we know now, such as “501,” the authentic vintage versions have “2” embossed on it.
  • Examine for silver rivets. In the 1960s, rivets were introduced as flat and silver. This is in comparison to those released later that appear with copper or aluminum rivets with a round pattern.
  • Look over the care tags. Older care tags from the 1970s used white cloth with dark blue ink. Later versions now have the care tag in red ink with the brand’s logo placed on top.

In collecting vintage Levi’s, aside from checking its vintage status, make sure your pair is an authentic one as well. Aside from the excitement that a vintage pair brings, the knowledge that the pair comes with a rich history is more than enough reason to own a vintage pair.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: