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#46: High 505

March 6, 2009

My all-time absolute favorite go-to pair of jeans is the Levi’s 505: high waist, slim leg (Not to be confused with skinny!)

The 505: another paramount instance of clothing rendered for a man that looks exponontially better on a gal. In case you men didn’t get that memo, high waisted jeans on a guy are usually not OK in this modern era. (High waisted trousers sometimes are totally OK. Especially in my heart of hearts. But at what point do you admit to yourself that it’s not the 1930’s anymore and even most men who could pull off pants that hit at the bellybutton and look fabulous would also arguably look weird to the majority of the population? Sigh!)

My darling 505’s (are they not gorgeously aged to perfection? You can’t manufacture a 30+ year fade like that, though many have tried):

What’s so sublime about a vintage pair is that from one to the next, they can have everything in common and simultaneously nothing in common, each with it’s very own mood and personality.

The study of vintage Levi’s is practically a science– I haven’t got much of a mind for science so I leave it to the experts. But I know what I know and I stick to it when looking for a memorable and authentic vintage pair. The Levi’s 501 reaches stratospheric levels of value, but because the 505 is a later model with less historical significance, they are usually easier to find at more digestible prices a la my meek and mortal wallet.

The history:
The 505 was introduced in 1966 and features Levi’s first zipper fly. The 505 is also Levi’s first pre-shrunk pair, and the first slim leg that Levi’s did in keeping with the mod fashions of the 60’s.

The details:
Levi’s with “Big E” tags on the back right pocket (featuring an uppercase E rather than a lower case) are highly sought after. The Big E tab was in use by Levi’s until 1971 when the letter became lowercase.

Levi’s back pockets were single-stitched (as shown) until 1976 when double stitching became the common practice.

The rules:
For you girls looking to find a pair to call your own, mind the following modern day size conversion: size up two full sizes for the perfect fit (add 2″ to your natural waist measurement).

So something about wearing these pants must be doing me some good– whether it be the 505 or just old Levi’s in general, so I say everyone go get a pair, even if the cheapest $18 pair from the 80’s you can find at the local thrifty vintage shop– because I haven’t been sick all the live-long winter, and now spring is here. Either it’s all that dark chocolate I’ve been eating, or the snug-force of these pants keeping me alive.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. shayne permalink
    March 9, 2009 10:45 pm

    always jealy of your jeans

  2. Axel permalink
    March 22, 2009 4:15 pm

    I have several pair of 505’s from around 1970 that were so tapered at the ankle that you could not pull them over your boots (cowboy, engineer, that type of boots). In later years the 505 pretty much replaced the 509 orange tab jeans (remember the more cheaply made orange tabs?), which was a slim fitting jean, but with straight legs that would accomodate boots. Unfortunately, the last of the American-made 505 red tabs were also cheaply made, losing the squared-off front pockets,etc. That red tab used to mean something.

    • indiansummervintage permalink*
      March 22, 2009 5:35 pm

      Thank you for a thoughtful note! I appreciate YOUR appreciation for the 505. I’m glad you’re giving those red tabs some love. I’m a red tab snob myself, not an orange to be seen around here. You sound like an expert too– I could learn a lot from you!

  3. October 6, 2010 10:04 am

    i just found your blog (love love love your sense of style) and have been on the search for a good pair of levi’s. first i was looking into getting a pair of 501’s, but it looks like 505’s are good too. not sure if i should go for vintage or if it would still look okay to go with new. i did the wrong thing and ordered some on ebay using my natural waist measurement and boy was i wrong! they were way too small. i’m considering getting a pair of men’s shrink-to-fit or even going with a pair of boy’s a couple sizes larger. sorry to ramble! i think about this way too much. 😉

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