Levi’s 501 vs. Levi’s 505: Everything You Need To Know
It’s no secret that Levi’s is one of the most iconic American denim and clothing brands of all time. Levi Strauss, who started the company in the 1850s, undoubtedly revolutionized the way people all over the world wear denim, and it all dates back to the iconic Levi’s 501 jeans, which were first introduced in 1873.
Levi’s is also known for their unique and interesting number system, which seems pretty complicated at first glance, however, their numerical denim system is actually quite easy to understand and is a simple way to find out the right kind of cut and style for you when you’re shopping for jeans.
Read on for everything to know about the iconic Levi’s 501 jeans, as well as their very similar yet oh-so-different counterpart, Levi’s 505 jeans, including the key differences between the two, the history of Levi’s denim, and of course, how to style them.
See more about - Levi’s 511 vs. Levi’s 513: Everything You Need To Know
What Is Levi’s 501?
Levi’s 501 jeans have been patented since 1873 thanks to the innovative addition of rivets on work pants to make them more durable. These work pants were first referred to as “waist overalls” and originally featured “one back pocket with the Arcuate stitching design, a watch pocket, a cinch, suspender buttons, and a rivet in the crotch.”
Levi’s 501 jeans were originally worn as a “utilitarian garment for coal miners, cowboys, and industrial workers,” although now they’re mostly worn for style over function.
1. Levi’s 501 Original Straight Leg Jeans
Crisp, first-day-blue denim lets you choose your journey in jeans cut with a bit of stretch in the iconic 501 fit that’s kept them a style icon for generations.
What Is Levi’s 505?
Levi’s 505 jeans are a relatively new style compared to Levi’s 501 jeans, as they first hit the market in 1967 and were the company’s first pre-shrunk zipper jeans. According to the Levi’s website, the 505 jeans were truly a marker of 1970s counterculture in America and were notoriously worn by rockers of the 70s and 80s, including the members of the Rolling Stones on their Sticky Fingers album cover and The Ramones.
In 2016, Levi’s rebuilt the classic 505 style, basing it on the foundations of the original design – particularly the 1976 version of the 505. “The conception of the 505C came about just over a year ago. I’d managed to see a pair of Johnny Ramone’s 505s and noticed he’d customized them by making the legs a bit slimmer,” Levi’s Head of Design Jonathan Cheung told Esquire in 2016.
“That planted the seed. Like many other people here, I’m a big fan of the 505 – specifically the vintage version – and with such a resurgence of vintage Levi’s happening, we wanted to remaster the punk rock classic.”
“It was the realization that everybody has seen the 505, but not many people know its name or have ever pieced its history together,” Cheung continued. “I mean, Sticky Fingers, The Ramones, Debbie Harry… Who doesn’t want that jean?”
2. Levi’s 505 Regular Fit Stretch Jeans
These jeans are deluxe. Featuring the original zip fly first created in 1967, these stylish denim jeans have a classic straight leg look that completes any outfit.
What Do the Numbers on Levi’s Mean?
The number on Levi’s jeans has to do with the style, fit, and cut of the denim. According to the history of Levi’s, 501 was first used to designate the specific style and cut of the jeans; however, there is no explanation as to why Levi Strauss himself chose the number 501 for the iconic jeans.
Unfortunately, the company lost all of its original records after they were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco fire and earthquake – which also completely flattened Levi’s headquarters and factories – so it remains one of the greatest mysteries in fashion history today.
What Are the Main Differences Between Levi’s 501 and Levi’s 505?
The main differences between Levi’s 501 and Levi’s 505 jeans lie in the cut and fit of the denim. Levi’s 501 jeans feature a straight fit with the brand’s signature button fly and have been a work and wardrobe staple since 1873 when Levi Strauss and a tailor named Jacob Davis patented the rivet process on work pants. Levi’s 501 jeans also sit right at the waist, and feature a regular fit through the thigh, along with a 16-inch straight leg opening.
Levi’s 505 jeans sit at the waist, feature a zipper fly, have a straight leg, and also offer a comfy, roomy fit. Levi’s 505 jeans and 501 jeans have a similar fit below the knee, however, the 505 style is roomier through the thigh, while the 501 style is more fitted. Both styles are considered classic, iconic styles of denim, so when choosing between Levi’s 501 jeans and Levi’s 505 jeans, it’s all about personal preference when it comes to how you like your denim to fit.
How To Style Levi’s 501
Levi’s 501 jeans are easy to style, as long as you keep things casual – aka, you’re not going to wear these bad boys to a wedding, a business meeting, or even a first date at a gastropub. Levi’s 501 jeans look best with casual tops, like a solid short sleeve or long sleeve tees, henleys, sweatshirts, crewnecks, denim jackets, or any other casual top you can think of. Avoid wearing button downs with 501s, as even that combination will look sloppy and out of place.
Try the Levi’s 501® Original Fit Men’s Jeans in Black paired with the Levi’s Oversized Crewneck Sweatshirt for an edgy yet comfortable look that’s perfect for skating the streets of your city on a chilly weekend, or just for kicking it with your boys while you watch the big game at the bar.
How To Style Levi’s 505
The best part about Levi’s 505 jeans is that they are also incredibly versatile and can go with pretty much any type of casual clothing, including solid and graphic tees, crewnecks, sweatshirts, bomber jackets, leather jackets, and more. For a retro look that’ll bring you back to the Summer of Love, try pairing the Levi’s 505™ Regular Fit Men’s Jeans in Medium Stonewash with a plain white tee and cuff the bottom of the jeans just above the ankle.
Add a pair of Converse All Star high tops and some Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and you’ve got yourself an iconic 60s/70s look that’ll have people thinking that you’re a bonafide time traveler from Woodstock – in the best possible way, of course.
See more about - Levi’s 511 vs. 512: Everything You Need To Know