Forever in Blue Jeans?
January 10, 2007 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Replacement for Levi's 501's?

Long story short, after 20+ years of wearing Levi's classic 501's I'm not happy with them anymore. My old ones lasted forever and now I barely get a year to a year and half out of them. The cloth isn't as strong, the seams bust and the rivets fall out.

What I want:

The same (or similar) fit
Button fly
Denim made to last.
Sized for tall (not fat) folks
Price isn't super important, but I'm not paying more than a hundred-fifty bucks for jeans.

(Kind of covered here)
posted by 1f2frfbf to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
posted by hermitosis at 9:49 AM on January 10, 2007

Response by poster: D'oh. Male. sorry.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:59 AM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: I have an interesting idea: See a professional tailor. Get the demin quality you want, the details you want, and find out if you can get the rivets done and then pay them to make you the kind of jeans you had when you were liked wearing Levis. Then, get a second pair made just in case.
posted by parmanparman at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: One of the few consumer brands I'm a real fanboy for are Edwin jeans from Japan. Fantastic quality denim, great attention to detail, and a big range of cuts in all sorts of sizes and half-sizes (like you I'm tall but not fat). A pair lasts me a good three years of hard wear, and they have that ability to look nice as they get battered like quality jeans do.
I can buy them when I go home to the UK; I'm sure there'll be outlets somewhere in the US.
posted by Abiezer at 10:33 AM on January 10, 2007

I forgot to mention that they do have button fly styles too; price-wise they'll be at the upper end of your range I'd guess, though I doubtless get ripped off a bit at the painfully trendy place in Covent Garden I by mine when I pass through London.
posted by Abiezer at 10:37 AM on January 10, 2007

Rustlers--at walmart--i've had them last much longer than my wranglers/levi and only about $10 a pair!
posted by uncballzer at 10:38 AM on January 10, 2007

You might try Lucky brand jeans. I still buy Levi's because I prefer them, but I have had a few people reccommend them to me.
posted by pazazygeek at 10:42 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

this thread might also be relevant:
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 10:46 AM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: You've got to spend a few hours - maybe a few days - on Superfuture's Superdenim board before buying anything, but after you do, be prepared to be disappointed with anything you didn't spend $250 on. The discussion is primarily oriented toward raw denim, which is not only designed to last years, but not to be washed for at least six months. It's a big investment, especially for people that are used to spending $40-50 on jeans, but consider them the only pair you'll need to buy in the next three years.

I love, love, love my Imperial Dukes, which can be had from Context (the only US distributor) for about $240. If you're looking for something like your 501s, though, you absolutely have to check out all the Japanese Levi's repros - Sugar Cane, Studio d'Artisan, Samurai, and Oni are all fantastic choices. Levi's LVC line is another option, but doesn't have the same internet-nerd-cache as the Japanese repros.

I love to talk about denim, so I'm going to check back in this thread regularly. I'm happy to answer any questions you have.
posted by brozek at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: This thread might help you understand what's been going on with denim, in a larger sense. The thread has a few suggestions for alternatives that might be helpful to you:
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 11:06 AM on January 10, 2007

this too:

posted by allkindsoftime at 11:10 AM on January 10, 2007

or, i might have pre-viewed...
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: Note that 501s come in multiple weights of fabric; if they're falling apart, perhaps you're getting a lighter weight than you used to. You might want to head to a Levis store and check out the heavier ones.
posted by raf at 12:17 PM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: I recommend the heavyweight japanese denim. when you talk about the denim you used to get, it was that heavy weight denim. There are numerous american and japanese manufacturer who use it. Check out self edge, they specializei in it.
posted by zia at 12:18 PM on January 10, 2007

Levi's 501 2.0.
posted by davejay at 1:38 PM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: The new 501s suck because Levi's has started cutting costs and moving production further south. You'll notice that many varieties are now being made in Columbia- labor is cheaper in countries where there is an active civil war going on.

I've been wearing 517s for a while, which are still made in Mexico, have a more flattering cut for tall people, and are often made with heavier denim.

That being said, a lot of these suggestions are great- I'm also looking to get off the Levi's crack (pretty soon they'll be making them in Antarctica because you only have to pay the Penguins with fish guts).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:55 PM on January 10, 2007

Check out No Sweat. No personal experience but I've heard good things about them.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:52 PM on January 10, 2007

Best answer: Try Energie. Some are on the 'spense side, but you can get deals, especially online. I like them for the same reasons you listed above. Hell, even their butt pocket stitching is reminiscent of Levi's. Good quality denim, button fly, fit tall and slim really nicely.
posted by converge at 7:37 PM on January 10, 2007

Response by poster: Lots of great answers here folks, thanks!

parmanparman: Interesting idea, I may have to take a sacrificial pair of jeans to a tailor and get a dissection done. I do have a connection to get some really tough hemp cloth.

brozek: Thanks for the pointer to Superfuture, I spent several hours there, but I'm dicey about the idea of paying $200+ for pants I haven't tried on. If I ever make it to some center of culture that takes jeans as seriously as I do I'll use some of their recommendations. I'll ask my local store to order some of the LVC line and see how they stack up.

Sprout and allkindsoftime: Thanks for the pointers. I used to work for Levi's and kind of had a general idea of what changed, but that clears up a lot.

TheWhiteSkull: I've been wearing the unwashed 517's, but I really prefer buttons to zippers, for a myriad of reasons I won't get into here.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:42 AM on January 11, 2007

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