As far as denim goes, I'm a pretty simple guy. I tend to skip fancy pocket embroidery and various other jean tomfoolery in favor of the simple and classic. I'm currently breaking in a pair of APC New Standards, but before that I went mostly with J. Crew (Vintage Slim fit) and The Gap (the first incarnation of their "Japanese Denim"). Even if you've been on the fringe of all this menswear stuff, you know that selvedge denim is really the only denim anyone will endorse, which is kind of unfortunate. Yes, this stuff is expensive....yes, this stuff will last....yes, this stuff will become "your own", but is that what everyone's looking for?
Not all male consumers are after high quality selvedge denim that, quite frankly, takes a serious commitment (at least as far as clothes are concerned). There are a ton of guys who want a simple, ready-to-wear jean that doesn't require some of the "thinking" that comes with something like a pair of APC's. These are the very same guys who are already conditioned to reach for racks of True Religion or Ed Hardy and obviously have much bigger problems on their hands when it comes to their denim. Imagine telling one of these guys that he needs to "wear his jeans for up to a year without washing them so they will fit perfect and get great fades." He'd probably look at you like you were selling snake oil. Thankfully, this is where a brand, like Levi's, can bridge the gap.
I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I've never owned a pair of 501's, well, at least not until the past week when Levi's was nice enough to send a pair my way. I won't waste your time recounting the extensive history of how Levi's invented blue jeans or what the 501 means for style today (check this out later), but just know that it's all the definition of iconic. The 501 is the original game changer. Regardless of all that, for someone who now rolls exclusively with selvedge denim, I had my doubts. How would these jeans stack up to my practically personalized APC's? I mean, just look at the price points ($155 vs. $59.50). The proof was in the pudding, the check signed and the letter mailed. Well, ladies and gentleman, I couldn't have been more wrong.
The Levi's 501 Original was a serious quality pair of jeans: great rise, straight, yet roomy leg, button fly, cool looking fades, no bells, no whistles. It was...the perfect go between. Not the stuff denim heads dream about, but extremely superior to the crap being hawked to the average guy at your neighborhood mall. All these years later, The 501 continues to get the job done. And that's what's I love about this jean. It does exactly what it says it will. Levi's offers you a classic and that's what you get. To any guy looking to transition his denim, this is your jumping off point. Cheers to Levi's. Cheers to The Original. Cheers to The 501.
Check out pictures of The 501's (this particular model/wash should be available come 2010)