Design classics: Levi’s 501s

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These guys first appeared in the 1890s, look on the label of any pair of 501s and you’ll see a Wild West inspired logo of cowboys on horseback emblazoned in red. Iconic, classic, unisex and universal…everyone has had a pair of these in their wardrobe at some point in their lives, even my dad!

I practically lived in my 501s in high school; we wore school uniforms almost every day but as soon as ‘civvies day’ rolled round I had my favourite jeans on and the ubiquitous crop top or bodysuit (this was the mid-90s after all).

I have a vivid memory of turning up to a birthday party in blue-black 501s and my favourite red plaid flannel shirt during the era of grunge and Kurt Cobain. Of course everyone in our year was invited because it would be rude not to.

My best friend, a Kate Moss Cosmopolitan-editorial-hippie rather than the vegan, bean-munching kind, pointed out I was wearing the same outfit as a boy in our class who I’d never really spoken to before that night. Somehow just that wee detail made me look at him in a different light, and by the end of the night I had the biggest crush on that boy in his blue-black 501s and his red plaid lumberjack shirt. I kept glancing at him across the bowling alley, a little too shy to speak to him, tugging on the sleeves of my shirt and wanting to blurt out something silly such as ‘I like your jeans’.

I’ve since owned and worn a million pairs of jeans in every brand, colour and style imaginable. I haven’t owned a pair of 501s in years, but when I think of these iconic denims I’ll always be reminded of being that 14 year old kid getting all googly eyed over a boy for the first time. And that is a memory that still makes me smile.

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