Levi Strauss & Co. is an American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi’s brand of denim jeans. In this article, we share about the history of Levi’s, how to shrink your jeans, and why buying Levi’s clothing in the US is a smart move.
The legendary history of Levi’s
It all started with a small dry goods store owned by Levi Strauss in San Francisco. A Jewish immigrant from Bavaria, Levi Strauss started his career as part of the family business. In 1854, he moved to San Francisco, California, to open a west coast branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. At first, he sold goods sent by his New York partners: scarves, umbrellas, fabrics, underwear, and casualwear.
In 1873, Levi Strauss and his new partner Jacob Davis received a patent for the production of durable workwear, whose points of strain were reinforced with copper rivets. Using durable denim fabric, the two partners launched the production of denim overalls. These overalls were the perfect work wear because they were comfortable to work in, and they served much longer than usual pants did. The symbol of quality was the legendary leather tag created in 1886, which displayed two horses pulling a pair of jeans in the opposite direction. 4 years later, the batch of Levi’s jeans received the number 501 for the first time, which later became the model’s index.
By the middle of the XX century, jeans were no longer considered to be solely workwear and an attribute of the working class. Gradually, they took on the status of American classic. Thus, it comes as no surprise that in 1984 Bruce Springsteen posed for the cover of his Born in the USA album wearing a pair of classic Levi’s 501s.
By the second half of the XX century, Levi’s leaked through the “iron curtain”. The popularity of American denim among the population of these countries was so obvious that in 1978 the government of GDR ordered from Levi Strauss & Co. 800 000 pairs of jeans to subsequently sell them to the people of the then-socialist Germany. 11 years later the people of the Federal Republic of Germany and the now-nonexistent GDR, dressed in these jeans, will storm the Berlin Wall. Photographs depicting young people wearing denim jeans will become the symbol of renovation of Central Europe.
Levi Strauss & Co. also contributed to the development of gender equality. In 1934, Levi Strauss & Co. introduced the first blue jeans for women. In those days, such clothes could only be worn by farm hands. Back in the 1930s, women simply did not wear denim in public. However, in the 1950s, Levi’s women’s jeans became part of the everyday wardrobe of young people. A truly revolutionary move by the company was designing women’s jeans with a button fly, like the men’s. This was first done on the 701 Levi’s model. Up until then, only a few models of women’s jeans had a fly on the side.
Levi’s exclusive and limited edition collections
Limited editions of men’s and women’s Levi’s apparel slowly but surely spill outside of the US. However, the unique and the most expensive models are still only available in the US. The premium segment falls into “just” premium and limited editions. Let’s examine the main categories.
The Premium — consists of classic models, predominantly jeans and denim jackets. However, if you see the Premium shield, this means that these clothes were sewn with particular attention to detail. Looking for a black leather sherpa jacket or a denim jacket lined with fur? Check Levi’s Premium for offers.
Levi’s Vintage is a modern clothes collection, inspired by the motifs of past epochs. It includes pullovers in the spirit of the “grunge” 1980s or jeans cut from 1944 patterns.
Levi’s Made & Crafted is also one of the regular limited-edition collections. Clothes of this series are high fashion in the world of denim. These models are made for those who value original silhouettes and unusual combinations of colors and textures.
And if you are looking for a real vintage thing with a footprint of history, then make sure to check out the Levi’s second hand selection. These are clothes from years, sometimes even decades, past, professionally cleaned by the company’s experts. A good pair of jeans is designed to be worn for decades – the last place they belong is in the trash. The secondhand denim belongs in the same price bracket as the new clothes. Whether it is expensive or not, depends on whether you love vintage things, or if you are wary about secondhand clothes. However, the fact still remains: Levi’s SecondHand is a tiny, yet real part of American history, carefully preserved by the company’s experts.
Levi’s jeans: model selection and care
In the US, the selection of Levi’s is much wider than anywhere else in the world. If you are not sure what to buy first, try to narrow down the selection by the cut. Both men’s and women’s models can be divided into three major categories: straight leg jeans, tapered, and skinny.
The full list of men’s Levi’s jeans looks as follows:
|560||Loose||Tapered||Normal||Zipper and buttons|
|570||Loose (the 1990s style)||Widened||Normal||Buttons|
The full list of women’s Levi’s jeans:
|310||Close at the hips||Skinny||Normal||Zipper|
|311||Close at the hips||Skinny||Low||Zipper|
|312||Close at the hips||Tapered||Low||Zipper|
|314||Close at the hips||Straight||Low||Zipper|
|315||Close at the hips||Bell-bottomed||Low||Zipper|
|414||Close at the hips||Straight||Low||Zipper|
|70's High Rise||Vintage||Bell-bottomed / skinny||Normal||Zipper|
|710||Close at the hips||Super skinny||Low||Zipper|
|711||Close at the hips||Skinny||Low||Zipper|
|715||Close at the hips||Bell-bottomed||Low||Zipper|
|720||Close at the hips||Super skinny||High||Zipper|
|721||Close at the hips||Skinny||High||Zipper|
|724||Close at the hips||Straight||High||Zipper|
Please note that in the “plus size” women’s collection the jeans are not singled out as a separate category. In most of the models, they are added as a subcategory. For example: 311 Levi’s (Plus Size). Also, in some women’s models, Original Fit neighbors o Skinny and may come with shortened legs.
If you are buying a pair of 501 Levi’s, you have a choice between pre-shrunk and shrink-to-fit. What does it mean? The terms are pretty self-explanatory. Pre-shrunk jeans have already been shrunk to the required size. Shrink-to-fit jeans will shrink after you wash them. The second version allows the wearer to fully customize the model and become the owner of a pair of completely original jeans that no one else will have. All kinds of scuffs and wrinkles are only welcome: it is them that turn ordinary Levi's 501 your very own Levi's 501. The practical value of this procedure is also obvious: each person has their own individual parameters, and it is often the case that you cannot find your size – one is too small, the other is too big. In this case, shrinking your jeans is the best solution. Here are the guidelines for shrinking your Levi’s 501:
- Step 1. Purchase your jeans in your true size, which for Shrink-to-Fit™ means 1″ larger in waist and 3″ longer in inseam.
- Step 2. Wear them out of the store (after you buy them).
- Step 3 Live in them as long as possible.
- Step 4. Wash them as little as possible.
- Step 5. When wash time finally arrives, soak for 20 minutes with a capful of Dr. Bronner’s Soap. Keep in mind, the hotter the water, the more they shrink. To preserve the color, turn your 501™ jeans inside out, replace the warm water with cold water and add a cup of vinegar.
- Step 6. Let them drip dry until they are slightly damp.
- Step 7 Put them back on – ideally on a warm day or when you can sit by a fire.
- Step 8 As they dry, they’ll shape to your body.
- Step 9 Enjoy!
Sometimes, one wash will not be enough to achieve the size you want – then you will need to repeat the procedure a few times to achieve the required result.
This Levi’s commercial is almost a complete guide on shrinking:
How do I wash my jeans?
After you shrink them, wear your jeans for a couple of months without washing. In the future, jeans are best hand washed in cold or warm water, not hot. Otherwise they may lose color or, worse yet, shrink even more. We recommend using gentle detergents. Dryers are extremely detrimental for denim. However, if time is pressing and you urgently need to put on jeans, put the dryer on the minimum blowing mode.
The topmost quality and affordable price of Levi’s jeans are the advantages that are obvious before you even buy them. However, if you have never worn Levi’s before, you are yet to discover their main advantages. They perfectly fit male and female figures, they are comfortable to sit in, and with careful use, they keep up their appearance virtually unchanged for a very long time. Depending on the model, the thickness of denim also varies. This means that you can find thinner jeans for summer and warmer jeans for colder seasons. And after your first experience of wearing Levi’s turns out to be positive, you will want to buy jeans solely of this brand – and Qwintry will help you to have your new denim clothes delivered from the USA.Discounts + Coupons + Sales