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.

Françoise Hardy
Françoise Hardy
Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot
Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford

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.

@adenorah
@adenorah
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @jeannedamas
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
@sabinasocol

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 ?

Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @Imparfaite.

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

Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @latelierdal
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @manrepeller
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit Unknown*

With leopard and flat loafers

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @lucywilliams
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Crédits : @lucywilliams
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @breez_lance

In total look jeans + flats

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @leiasfez
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @thomsenmichael
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit Unknown*

With a striped sweater and high Converse sneakers

Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @adenorah
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @adenorah
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @Imparfaite.

The “boyfriend look” but with a romantic blouse

Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit Unknown*
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @parysatis
Credit @Imparfaite.
Credit @Imparfaite.

With a Trench

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @shotfromthestreet
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Via @careergirldaily
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit Unknown*

In the evening with heels

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @jeannedamas
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @adenorah
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit Unknown*

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

Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Credit @Adenorah

2/ Make big flat lapels

Fairly sharp, works best on the oversized 501

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @masharoush

3/ Cut it.

Great trend for a few seasons now

Do not panic. It’s super simple. Follow the guide.

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Credit @jeannedamas

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
76cm 81-82cm 86cm 91-92cm

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

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?

Worn classic

Porté classique

Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?
Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?

Worn “Boyfriend”

Imparfaite : Comment trouver le jean Levi's 501 vintage de ses rêves?
Imparfaite, how to find your dream Levi's 501 vintage?

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

(Jane : « où ça un camel toe Serge ? ») Credit Unknown*

And now let’s find together

your ideal Levi’s jeans

Well done. If you got this far, you’ve become a 501 pro.

Now that you know everything, go and find yours

 

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If you liked this article, please share it, because

1/ As we told you, it would be a crime to keep this knowledge to yourself
2/ Everyone deserves a great bum.

Love, Imparfaite.

*please contact us if you know who took this incredible pictures, we would love to credit!

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