26 Sep Finding your Levi’s 501 vintage jeans without a doubt
We too, as teenage girls, strolled the dusty aisles of vintage shops in search of the perfect vintage Levi’s 501.
Since then, Imparfaite was launched, and all those years of learning by experimenting have allowed us to unearth the most beautiful vintage 501 jeans in France for you today.
We decided that it would be a crime not to share with you all this knowledge acquired over the years.
What you will read here is Imparfaite’s bible of the vintage 501. Knowledge kept secret until now. But today, we’ll tell you everything about it…
Ready to have that little bum of your dreams?
Why should everyone have a 501 vintage ?
Because it has dressed the coolest girls of each generation for 128 years. (And both you and us are the coolest of them all).
Levi’s released the 501 in 1980 for American workers. This tear-proof and solid canvas from Nîmes in France (denim) is a textile revolution.
Mid-century, Levi’s popularized the 501 and made it sexier by adding loops for the belt and the famous “red tab”, the small label on the back pocket that catches the eye and marks our bum.
It was from then on that it started to seduce the cool kids all over the world, and marked, in our memories, the silhouettes of our heroes.
Wearing the same Levi’s as Bridget Bardot, Cindy Crawford, Francoise Hardy and many others is a bit like living in those rock and bohemian times when style was a lifestyle.
Since then, new icons have taken over the symbol. Camille Charriere, Jeanne Damas, Adenorah, Sabina Socol swear by their 501 vintage, which they wear in both summer and winter, with runners, sneakers or pumps … In short, the 501 is the white shirt of the backside, only cooler.
What’s the difference between the vintage 501 and the modern 501 ?
Levi’s says: « There isn’t any. », we say: «Fibbers.»
The new Levi’s 501 have more stretch in the canvas, the cuts are better fitted (which creates a “slim” effect that’s gone a little bit out of fashion), and the industrial fading does not even come close to the beauty of a 50 years old burnished canvas.
It’s simple; the new Levi’s does not have even 1 % of the old one’s style. Full stop.
And that’s very good because a beautiful vintage is on average 30% cheaper than a new one. That’s what people demand.
What body types are the vintage 501 for ?
At Imparfaite, we often hear: “I like the vintage 501, but only on other people, because they don’t suit me” … WRONG.
It’s not that they don’t suit you, it’s just that you’re not used to them.
When you’ve spent your life putting on low-cut sizes (and not being able to bend down without revealing too much), it’s true that it can be weird at first.
But the Levi’s vintage 501 can be worn by anyone for 3 reasons:
It makes your belly flat
They’re inflexible high waist trousers, so it forces us to pull in our stomach instead of being all puffed up after lunch.
It tapers the legs
Unlike 99% of current denims, Levi’s 501 vintage canvas does not contain elastane, which means it doesn’t stretch at all. The leg is straight, which makes it look longer.
It makes your bum look amazing
It raises the buttocks and gives them the perfect shape of two juicy peaches, like these.
Moral of the story: Whatever your body type, vintage 501 will make you look good.
How do you wear them ?
With anything of course, but we will give you our favourites of the moment
With a Prince of Wales type blazer
With leopard and flat loafers
In total look jeans + flats
With a striped sweater and high Converse sneakers
The “boyfriend look” but with a romantic blouse
With a Trench
In the evening with heels
What to do if they are too long ?
The best length is when they reach the ankles.
3 ways to shorten them
1/ Roll them up.
Easy, you roll your jeans onto themselves, like this one
2/ Make big flat lapels
Fairly sharp, works best on the oversized 501
3/ Cut it.
Great trend for a few seasons now
Do not panic. It’s super simple. Follow the guide.
How to cut his Levi’s 501 vintage
Most girls who are advised to cut their jeans are afraid of it but actually it’s child’s play. Anyone who has passed 1st grade and knows how to cut more or less straight along a line can do it. We’ll show you with pictures
Can you wash your Levi’s ?
All vintage Levi’s have been washed (at least we hope so…).
In any case at Imparfaite, we guarantee you that they are clean and they will loosen with wear.
So you can obviously put them in the washing machine at 30°C, preferably inside out.
If you like them very raw, i.e. dark blue ones, then actually, try to avoid a maximum time in the machine because it tends to burnish them.
Now that you’re all warmed up, let’s get right to the point: how to find a vintage 501without a doubt.
How to choose your Levi’s vintage 501 ?
1) Bottom line ? Beware of the fake ones!
Being one of the most powerful brands in the world, the 501, just like the Chanel bags, have been copied massively. As a result, we got bad cuts, shattering canvases and 6-legged horses on the labels (true story). You should only go for real vintage otherwise it’s just dreadful.
At Imparfaite, we check them all one by one. We spend a lot of time on it, sometimes we even have an expert assess them. Our favourites are the ones Made in USA 🇱🇷
2) Find the right size.
Listen up: here are 3 things you need to know to get the right size
Number 1/ Levi’s vintage jeans are cut small
501 vintage sizes = 501 modern sizes + 2
Example: I’m a 36 (France size) (4 US, 6 UK), I’m a 25 in a modern Levi’s = I’m a 27 in a vintage Levi’s.
Here is a simple table to keep in mind
|JEAN LEVIS 501 VINTAGE||24||25||26||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||34||35||36|
|FRANCE||32||Small 34||34||Small 36||36||Small 38||38||Small 40||40||Small 42||42||Small 44||44|
|JEAN LEVIS 501 NOUVEAU||22||23||24||25||26||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||34|
|TAILLE (en cm)||31||32||33||34||35||36||37||38||39||40||41||42||43|
|HANCHES (en cm)||42||43||44||46||48||51||53||55||57||59||61||62||64|
|US||0||Small 2||2||Small 4||4||Small 6||6||Small 8||8||Small 10||10||Small 12||12|
|UK||4||Small 6||6||Small 8||8||Small 10||10||Small 12||12||Small 14||14||Small 16||16|
|ITALIE||36||Small 38||38||Small 40||40||Small 42||42||Small 44||44||Small 46||46||Small 48||48|
|JAPON||3||Small 5||5||Small 6||6||Small 9||9||Small 10||11||Small 13||13||Small 15||15|
|DANEMARK||30||Small 32||32||Small 34||34||Small 36||36||Small 38||38||Small 40||40||Small 42||42|
|LONGUEUR JAMBES LEVI’S||L30||L32||L34||L36|
Number 2/ Levi’s jeans in your size should be tight or very tight
The first time you put them on, you have to pull them high on your hips and sometimes even button them up whilst lying on your bed. Otherwise they will become too loose after wearing them a few times.
You’re not putting on Zara jeans with a ton of elastane that will warp after several washes. We are talking about a denim that has not moved in 50 years. Actually, you must earn it to put them on, but once you wear them, they will hug your figure and show you in the best light.
Number 3/ You can adjust the size according to the style you are looking for.
If you want to wear them very close to the body, which makes it look “sexier”, a bit like Olivia Newton-John, we advise you to choose one of the sizes below.
If you want a more casual look (the Boyfriend) then take the 2/3 sizes above.
As shown in the pictures, I’m a small 36 (and 1m62 or 5’ 3’’). My Levi’s vintage 501 size is a 27. When I button them up, I suck in my stomach and pull them up high.
The «sexy» format is a 25 that I have worn several times. Nowadays I can put it on without difficulty but at first I had to lie down and I avoided sitting down for too long. I just loved the colour too much to let them go to waste… Now that they have loosened they’re perfect for me.
My Boyfriend 501 is a 30 that I generally wear with a big Irish sweater and woollen clothes for my comfy days
Worn close to the body
3) The colour that knocks you over
The right colour is the one you like best. Sublime in white, ideal in raw dark, gorgeous in a little faded blue. The only ones we don’t like are those with zebra fading or yellowing. A matter of taste
How to avoid the «camel toe » effect ?
First of all, we reassure you a camel toe can happen to everyone. It even happened to the greatest
Some technicalities on the 501: the split end is globally the length of the zipper. On a Levi’s 501, the longer the leg is, the longer the split end is. A Levi’s W30L34 will have a split end longer than a W30L30, that is to say it will rise higher.
If you want to avoid a camel toe effect, we advise you to pay attention to the leg length of your 501 and make sure that the split end of the jeans is not too short for you
If you are under 1.68 cm (5’ 5’’) : you’re safe and can wear whatever you want
If you are between 1.68 and 1.78 cm (5’ 8’’) : go for an L32 or L34
If you are taller than 1.78 cm : don’t choose anything under an L34 or you’ll definitely get a camel toe
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1/ As we told you, it would be a crime to keep this knowledge to yourself
2/ Everyone deserves a great bum.
*please contact us if you know who took this incredible pictures, we would love to credit!