How To Style Vintage 501 Levi Jeans

Arguably one of the most iconic pairs of jeans, by one of the most iconic denim brands in the world, the Levi’s 501 has been a staple of the brand throughout the duration of its history, it’s a timeless pair of jeans that never goes out of style, and can be worn with a variety of different styles and looks, which is partly why so many people still wear this style even after nearly 150 years! 

How To Style Vintage 501 Levi Jeans

Whether you’re considering buying a pair of vintage Levi’s 501s, or you’ve just got your first pair, you’re probably wondering about some of the best ways to style them. But worry not, as we’ll show you exactly how to style these iconic jeans! 

What Are Levi’s 501 Jeans? 

If you’re unfamiliar with Levi’s 501 jeans, allow us to provide you with a brief introduction! 

Levi’s 501 jeans are arguably the brand’s most popular style of jeans  The Levi’s 501 jeans are known for their classic fit and straight leg style, as well as the iconic button fly closure.

The 501 jeans were originally introduced in the 1890s and have remained popular ever since, with various updates and modifications made to the design over the years.

Since their initial release over 100 years ago, the 501 jeans have undergone a variety of changes and alterations for the modern day.  

People often seek vintage pairs of 501 jeans over buying brand new pairs as the vintage pairs are often made with higher-quality materials and construction techniques than modern Levi’s jeans.

However, this does mean that certain pairs of vintage 501 jeans can be expensive. 

How To Style Levi’s 501 Jeans

White Shirt

Two essential items in a wardrobe come together for this look, and it’s a style that’s stood the test of time.

Nothing goes better together than a white shirt and a pair of vintage Levi’s 501s, and whilst this outfit is perfectly good as it is, it can also act as a blank canvas, allowing you to explore a vast variety of different styles. 

Whether you decide to layer it with a vintage flannel or cardigan, alongside a pair of Converse, which helps to give off that ‘90s grunge look. Or you could opt for a black leather moto jacket and pair it with some sneakers for a glam rockstar look. 

If you’re unsure of how to style your 501s, then this is definitely the place to start, and once you have this basic outfit together, you’ll be able to elevate it using accessories and other items from your wardrobe. 

Black Boots

When it comes to figuring out what footwear is going to be best to wear with your vintage Levi’s 501s, don’t feel like you have to keep wearing them with sneakers or flat shoes in order to look good.

One of the best footwear options to wear with a pair of vintage 501s is a solid pair of black boots, especially combat boots, as they help to give off that rugged workwear vibe that seems so effortless.

Plus, Levi’s denim was popular amongst workmen at the time, and still is today, so it’s a homage to the people who made the brand so popular in the first place too! 


If you’re looking to keep it casual and want to maximize your comfort, then don’t be afraid to partner your vintage Levi’s 501s with a comfy hoodie, especially if it has a more relaxed or oversized fit, as it will partner well with the straight cut of the jeans. 

You could also layer a jacket or flannel shirt over the top of the hoodie to create an interesting layering effect, which is certainly a way to ensure that you get maximum comfort out of your outfit. 

High Heels

We know what you’re thinking, but the reality is that the rules of fashion have been torn down in recent years, and jeans and high heels are one of the unlikely pairings of the fashion world, but they work together surprisingly well. 

How big you want the heel to be is up to you, but it’s a great way to really dress up your jeans. Partner with an oversized blazer, and you then have the ultimate business casual outfit! 

Long Coat

One of the best things about Levi’s 501s is that you can dress them up, or you can dress them down, which makes them one of the most versatile clothing items that you can have in your wardrobe. 

For the semi-formal look during the winter, partnering your Levi’s 501s with a long coat is a great way to keep warm whilst looking good! Alongside a nice long scarf and hat, this outfit is sure to show off your chic whilst remaining warm too. 

How To Style Vintage 501 Levi Jeans

Vintage Levi’s 501s Buying Guide

So, now that you’ve seen the potential that lies within these amazing vintage jeans, there’s a good chance that you’re going to want a pair for yourselves, but where do you start?

Many people will instantly make their way over to the Levi’s store, but unfortunately these newer pairs of 501s aren’t made to the same standard as they used to be, which is why it’s so important to ensure that the Levi’s you’re buying are truly vintage. 

So, here’s some tips for when it comes to buying vintage Levi’s 501s! 

Specific Sizing

If you’ve been buying modern jeans all this time, then you’ll be used to buying jeans in non-descript sizes, in sizing scales like small, medium, large etc, or in numeric sizes of 6, 8, 10, 12. 

Levi’s jeans are all sized based on your waist and length measurements, so it’s worth measuring every aspect of your body to get a better idea of what size you’ll need to buy, as this will help to ensure that you get the right fit the first time you buy! 

Check The Tab

As Levi states on their website, one of the best ways to tell whether or not the Levi’s you’re looking at are vintage or not is to check the red tab on the rear of the jeans.

This red tab usually says Levi’s, but if all of the letters are in capital letters (which will appear as LEVI’S), then these jeans date back to before 1971! 

Another way to date vintage Levi’s is to check the inseam, 501s made prior to the mid-1980s all feature a singular felled inseam, which looks like a single stitch that will run down the inner thigh.

Finally, another way of dating your Levi’s is to check whether or not they have care tags, as these were required to be added in the 1970s by the U.S government, so if your Levi’s don’t have any care tags whatsoever, then they’ll pre-date this era. 

Choose A Wash

Many people look for vintage 501s especially for the unique washes that they have, which come about through their years of being worn and washed, but don’t be afraid to stray from the usual light or dark blue washes that many 501s come in, as there are also black, white, or even tan Levi’s 501s out there too, so you should go with the wash that is going to suit you and your wardrobe best! 

Where To Buy Vintage Levi’s 501 Jeans

Now that you know what to look for when buying vintage Levi’s 501 jeans, the next thing you need to do is figure out where you can find a pair to buy for yourself! 

The most popular way of buying vintage jeans is usually on online marketplaces such as eBay or Etsy, there are likely to be more pairs available to you, and in a great range of sizes too, so you can pick and choose which pair are going to be right for you. 

However, if you want to try and hunt down some vintage Levi’s 501s for yourself, then some of the best places to look are in thrift stores and flea markets.

Levi’s are arguably one of the most popular denim brands in the world, which means that there are plenty of pairs out there waiting for you to find, and it’s not uncommon to find them in your local thrift store or flea market. 

By looking at them in person, you’ll be able to get a much better look at the wash of the jeans, and you’ll be able to try them on in a thrift store too, so you’ll be able to tell if they fit or not! 


So, as you can see, Levi’s 501 jeans live up to their reputation as one of the most versatile pairs of jeans you can buy, which is exactly why so many people seek out vintage pairs for their own wardrobes! 

Willa Price

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