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Levi’s Jeans Styles & Fits Explained

Posted on January 05 2021

Levi’s Jeans Styles Explained
Do you know your 501 from your 511?
 
BY COCO BROWN
 
The original manufacturer of jeans, this denim giant offers numerous styles and cuts of their iconic product, all placed within an extensive three-digit numbering system. With each number representing the fit of each pair, a knowledge of the classification makes finding the best style for you infinitely easier! Check out the Thrifted guide to Levi’s below to identify which model is the one for you!

 

Men’s Levi’s Jeans

 

501 Original Jeans

 

Levis 501 Jeans

The original jeans that sparked a timeless, global trend. The Levi’s 501s were specifically released in the 1890s as part of a new style of worker gear, designed to withstand tough working environments.

With the classic straight leg and original button fly, these jeans are described as a ‘blank canvas for self-expression’ by the manufacturers themselves. Pairing well with most shoes, this blueprint model is as versatile as they come. 

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Regular fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 16”

 

 

502 Regular Taper Jeans

Levis 502 Regular

A happy medium between the comfort of the 501s and the more retro look of the 505s, this pair is a classic taper for the every day. With room around the thigh, their added modern tapered leg offers a more casual look.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg - slightly tapered

·       Regular fit

·       Sits below waist

·       Leg opening: 14.5”

 

 

505 Regular Jeans

Levis 505 Regular

First released in 1967, the 505s took advantage of the cultural revolution, symbolising the brand’s entry into pop culture. Featured on the 1971 album cover of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, Levi’s cemented a position in trends beyond worker wear.

Paired with trainers and Oxfords, the straight leg model has more give than other models, making it a reliable and comfortable pair.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Slightly roomier fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 16”

 

 

510 Skinny Jeans

Levis 510 Skinny

Favoured by musicians and athletes, this slim fitting pair of Levi’s have little room to work with, featuring a tight fit down to the ankle. A more recent style, the 510s have become a modern bestseller.

Suiting a wide variety of body types, the contemporary skinny look can be complemented by a pair of trainers or tucked into combat boots for a more vintage aesthetic.

 

How it fits

 

·       Skinny leg

·       Slim fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 13”

 

511 Slim Jeans

Levis 511 Slim

Described by Levi’s as their ‘streamlined’ fitting model, this style is considered a classic; not too slim, the 511s give a lean look that is more relaxed than the 510s.

Fitting just below the waist, the narrow style looks great with a fresh tee or blazer. Recommended to suit a more refined look, wear a pair of loafers or smart trainers.

 

How it fits

 

·       Tapered leg

·       Slim fit

·       Sits below waist

·       Leg opening: 14.5”

 

512 Slim Tapered Jeans

Levis 512 Slim Tapered

Featuring a slimmer leg than the 511s, the more tailored 512s offer a cleaner look. With the smallest leg opening out of the 510, 511 and 512 class, this is a narrow model that gives a snug fit without being too skinny.

 

How it fits

 

·       Tapered leg

·       Slim fit

·       Sits below waist

·       Leg opening: 12”

 

513 Slim Straight Jeans

Levis 513 Slim Straight

Doing what it says on the tin, the 513s gives a slim fit through the thigh and a straight leg, sitting just below the waist. A versatile design, these jeans can complement a smarter look or something more chilled. Pair them with dress shoes or a baggy tee, the 513s are a must-have.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Slim fit

·       Sits below waist

·       Leg opening: 15” / 16”

 

514 Straight Jeans

Levis 514 Straight

Unlike the slimmer models, the 514s offer a regular fit through the thigh and a classic straight leg design. However, the low-rise waist gives them a more casual look, twisting a classic design to make it that bit more modern.

Similar to the 513s, the 514s are a great multipurpose pair of jeans, suiting a range of looks from smart to everyday.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Regular fit

·       Sits below waist

·       Leg opening: 16”

 

517 Boot Cut Jeans

Levis 517 Boot Cut

First entering markets in 1969, the 517s feature in every cowboy’s wardrobe. Designed with a flared opening, these jeans were intended to comfortably fit over boots and have been hugely popular for fifty years.

Aside from their practical features, this flattering model would complement any vintage look. Complete it with a pair of worker or cowboy boots!

 

How it fits

 

·       Boot cut

·       Slim fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 18.25”

 

 

527 Slim Boot Cut Jeans

Levis 527 Slim Boot Cut

A modern take on the 517s, the 527s have a slimmer fit with a less prominent boot cut. Consequently, these jeans are more versatile, suiting both boots and trainers while retaining the comfort of a boot cut.

 

How it fits

 

·       Boot cut

·       Slim fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 18.25”

 

 

541 Athletic Straight Jeans

Levis 541 Athletic Straight 

Offering a relaxed feel with a slightly tailored finished, these jeans are designed to achieve both style and comfort. The 541s accentuate your features. Without the skin-tight feel of the 510s, they allow for room within a slim look, hence why they are favoured by athletic builds.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg - slightly tapered leg opening

·       Athletic fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 15.75”

550 Relaxed jeans

Levis 550 Relaxed

Introduced in 1985, this relaxed style is a baggy adaptation of the authentic 501s. With the 550s, comfort is key. Making the traditional style more casual, they are fashionably loose with a slight taper down the leg, a perfect match for your favourite pair of trainers.

 

How it fits

 

·       Tapered leg

·       Loose fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 16.5”

 

559 Relaxed Straight Jeans

Levis 559 Relaxed Straight

While the 550s are the perfect pair for vintage fans, the 559s take the low and comfort-focused style and make it more contemporary. Giving a roomy fit through the thigh, these low-rise jeans can be worn with flip flops or oxfords and offer maximum moment for getting around.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Loose fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 16.5”

 

560 Comfort Jeans

Levis 560 Comfort

The more sensible version of the 569s, the 560s pair comfort and practicality. Mid-rise and loose fitting with a taper blow the knee to give them a slight structure, these jeans are both comfortable and stylish. For sweatshirts and shirts, you can choose how you want to style your 560s.

 

How it fits

 

·       Tapered leg

·       Loose fit

·       Sits at waist

·       Leg opening: 16”

 

 

 

569 Loose Straight Jeans

Levis 569 Loose Straight

Low-rise and loose-fitting, you can’t find jeans roomier than the 569s. Technically a straight leg design, this model features a distinctly wide leg with extra space from the waist down. Creating a modern, laid-back aesthetic, pair them with your favourite vintage sweatshirt and trainers.

.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Loose fit

·       Sits below waist

·       Leg opening: 18.5”

 

Women’s Levi’s Jeans

 

501 Original Jeans

Levis 501 womens original jeans

In 1981, Levi’s introduced the iconic 501s for women after denim became a staple in their wardrobes throughout the 60s and 70s.

Like the men’s design, the 501s feature the classic straight leg and original button fly. Worn with boots and trainers, these high-rise jeans are iconic and are now sold in a cropped range.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Fitted fit

·       High rise

 

505 Straight Leg Jeans

Levis 505 Straight Leg Jeans

A simple cut, the 505 straight leg jeans offer a versatile fit that can promise to work with the majority of your wardrobe. A balanced design, they fall in between skinny and loose, making them a reliable pair that every girl ought to own.

 

How it fits

 

·       Straight leg

·       Regular fit

·       Mid rise

 

515 Boot Cut Jeans

Levis 515 Boot Cut Jeans

An easy fit through the hip and thigh, these boot cut jeans boast one of the most flattering cuts in the women’s collection. Worn with heels or flats, the 515s shape your figure and elongate your legs, whatever the shoe.

Check out the 529s for a slimmer fit.

 

How it fits

 

·       Boot cut

·       Regular fit

·       Mid rise

 

519 Flared Jeans

Levis 519 Flared Jeans

One of our favourites, the 519s give a stylish vintage look with their flared design. With the classic 90s low rise waist and relaxed fit, pair this model with a tucked in graphic tee and a pair of trainers to get that retro look.

 

How it fits

 

·       Flared leg

·       Relaxed fit

·       Low rise

524 Super Low Rise Jeans

Levis Super Low Rise Jeans

If you favour a snug fit, then the 524s are for you. With a tight feel all the way down the leg, these are a reliable pair of skinny jeans. However, the main feature of this model is its super low-rise waist, hugging the hips rather than resting on the waist.

 

How it fits

 

·       Skinny leg

·       Slim fit

·       Super low rise

550 Relaxed Jeans

Levis 550 Relaxed Jeans

Like their men’s variation, the women’s 550s have a relaxed fit. Sitting on the waist, these jeans offer a spacious cut around the hip and thigh that falls into a narrower tapered leg.

Super retro, these jeans give a real 80s look and can easily be styled accordingly with bright colours and chunky shoes.

 

How it fits

 

·       Tapered leg

·       Relaxed fit

·       High rise

 

Unique labels

 

Big E

Levis Big E Jeans

Patented in 1936, the famous red Levi’s tab has continued to be one of the most iconic features of their jeans. The ‘Capital E’ tab ran from that year until 1971, when lettering adjustments were made. Today, the Big E is a real treasure and a rare find.

 

Features

 

·       (Predominantly) Red background

·       White lettering

·       Uppercase ‘E’

 

Red Tab

Levis Red Tab

In 1971, the brand sought to change the tab to read ‘Levi’s’ as opposed to ‘LEVI’S’. However, the only letter to visibly change was ‘e’. Consequently, collectors have used this distinction as a mark to identify older, and therefore more valuable, models from the more modern, mass-produced small e Levi’s.

 

Features

 

·       Red background

·       White lettering

·       Lowercase ‘e’

 

 

Trademark Tab

Levis Trademark Tab

While many consumers mistake this label as a mark of a fake pair, do not be fooled.

These are very much authentic and are intended to be blank. As explained by Levi’s on their official website, the tab is frequently copied and requires protection. Therefore, they have to produce a number of plain products to confirm rights of the tab itself.

 

Features

 

·       Red background

·       White details

·       Trademark symbol

 

 

Orange Tab

Levis Orange Tab

In the 1960s, Levi’s wanted to distinguish between their 501s and other cuts. With the creation of new tabs came the introduction of fashion denim, making the move from worker wear into popular trends. The orange tab was used to set the boot cuts and bell-bottoms apart from the standard designs.

 

Features

 

·       Orange background

·       Black lettering

·       Either lowercase or uppercase ‘e’ / ‘E’

 

Silver Tab

Levis Silver Tab

Introduced in 1988, the silver tab recognised Levi’s identification of a new grunge aesthetic that was abundant on the streets. Used to mark their 80s and 90s style denim, the silver tab can be found on vintage jeans that tend to be baggier.

 

Features

 

·       Silver background

·       White lettering

·       Lowercase ‘e’

 

References:

https://www.beyondretro.com/blogs/news/a-guide-to-levis-tabs

coolmaterial.com/style/what-levis-numbers-mean/

www.langstons.com/levis-numerology.html

www.levistrauss.com

 

Relevant links:

Have you seen our Levi’s collection?

Men: https://www.thrifted.com/collections/vintage-mens-levis

Women: https://www.thrifted.com/collections/vintage-womens-levis

 

 

Thrifted.com – the UK & Europe’s leading vintage clothing store and America’s best online thrift store

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