Shopping for second-hand US-made Levi’s – Everlasting Type


Getting good mid-blue denims will be difficult, given the prevalence of uncooked denim amongst most high-end makers we cowl. A number of do provide washes – like Orslow and Full Depend – however the vary and due to this fact the selection is normally much less. 

Plus in fact that’s the very high-quality, which isn’t what everybody needs or can afford. The mid-market for denims can usually be a bit extra complicated by way of high quality and repair. 

For each these causes, I assumed it was price highlighting an alternative choice, which is nineties Levi’s purchased second-hand, on eBay or elsewhere. 

This period of Levi’s jean was normally made within the US, and used moderately higher high quality denim than fashionable ones. Not higher than the high-end repro manufacturers, or the Levi’s sub-label LVC (Levi’s Classic Clothes). However they’re less expensive, and LVC appears to be like prefer it gained’t be round for much longer anyway. 

It’s the value, and due to this fact the worth, that’s the kicker. A pair of nineties Levi’s in a very good classic retailer is likely to be £80 or £100 – across the identical as fashionable Levi’s, however higher high quality. 

Nonetheless, in the event you’re ready to spend a little bit of time (and undergo some trial and error) on eBay, then you may decide them up for £30 or £40. 

Right here’s easy methods to discover them and easy methods to determine them.

Learn how to search, with eBay as the instance:

  • Seek for Levi’s Made in USA and the type, eg 501
  • Refine for simply males’s, then by your waist dimension and color
  • Refine by situation to ‘Used’ assuming you don’t need new-old inventory
  • Refine to ‘Purchase it now’ except you don’t thoughts going via an public sale. Through which case, good to kind by ‘Ending soonest’ so that you prioritise these
  • Evaluate the offered measurements with what you want (based mostly off measuring your personal denims) 
  • Discover the fade you want greatest with first rate measurements, and provides them a go

Keep in mind that:

  • A few of these had been normally shrink to suit, so the marked dimension and the precise dimensions will differ, and never by the identical quantity every time. Go off the measurements offered, and take into account with looking out that they could have been tagged with both the marked or the precise dimension
  • 501s don’t differ an excessive amount of within the reduce on this interval (shut hips, straight leg) however they do differ within the rise, so control that
  • Most sellers provide returns, however not all. Price ensuring they do given you’re making an attempt denims sight unseen
  • Some sellers promote denims with an ‘instance’ wash, as a result of they’ve a complete load and don’t wish to shoot every one. It’s a minority, however once more maintain a watch out
  • If there are different types you like, eg 505 for an even bigger dimension via the hips, use that as a substitute
  • Individuals itemizing generally make errors, generally simply embrace issues in quite a lot of classes to attempt to catch as many eyeballs as attainable. These have to be weeded out

Some basic suggestions:

  • It cuts down time enormously whenever you discover a vendor on eBay that has plenty of what you’re after. Eg ‘Holdwest’ within the UK is nice for this period of denims
  • Searches will be very textual content particular, eg ‘Made in US’ brings up rather a lot lower than ‘Made in USA’. It might probably take a while to work out the wording folks principally use
  • Be careful for typos. Typically looking out ‘Lewis’ moderately than Levi’s brings up one thing attention-grabbing. Though it occurs extra for apparent typos, like ‘Loro Piano’
  • Save your search so you may return to it simply, and you may arrange alerts if there’s nothing that hits what you need precisely

Learn how to determine the denims:

When you discover a pair of 501s, these are the sorts of issues to search for within the photographs (or whenever you obtain them) to ensure you’re getting the true factor. So have a look at:

  • The label inside, which is able to say whether or not they had been made within the USA
    • The crimson ‘bat wing’ additionally reveals they had been made after 1986, which is all of what we’re
  • The opposite aspect of the label, which has a complete lot of numbers and data. These can assist determine plenty of various things in regards to the denims, and can assist pin down the rise. However then you may inform that from the measurements – the one you may’t see in any other case is the date:
    • That is expressed as two, three or 4 numbers, representing the month and the 12 months. See picture beneath. 
    • Most of those will run from the nineties into the early 2000s. Something earlier than that will get a bit nicer however in all probability dearer
  • The patch on the waistband, purely for the ‘XX’ that signifies the denim. They normally are, however the XX signifies a greater denim and was normally shrink to suit. 
  • Don’t fear in regards to the selvedge, as the standard for made within the USA was fairly constant
  • Equally the stamp on the again of the button can let you know the place they’re made, however you solely really want this if the label is unreadable

I’ve purchased one pair of good 501s via this technique, for £39, and have one other I purchased in Japan for twice that, featured just lately right here

They’re not as good as any of my older classic Levi’s (60s, 70s). They’re not as good high quality denim as my washed Full Depend denims. However they’re a greater reduce that the Full Depend, a greater wash than most mid-blue denims on the market, a greater match (for me) than just about all of them, and low-cost sufficient that I gained’t thoughts if I discover a better-quality pair in a 12 months or two. 

Additionally, I’m pleased spending that quantity once more on getting them altered, someplace like Blackhorse Lane. Often I discover I have to be slightly bit massive on the waist with a view to get the most effective match via the hips and thighs, so I’ve them taken in by an inch or so.

I spoke to each denim specialists and serial eBay customers for this piece, however I’m certain there are nonetheless issues I’ve missed and even received flawed. In both case please go away a remark beneath and I’ll replace accordingly. For everybody else, pleased searching. 

A few extra in-depth articles, must you wish to dive deeper:



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