The 201 was the budget version of the 501 - produced from the 1890s, if not earlier. It used 'No 2' denim from an unspecified supplier - the denim perhaps looks greener and more slubby on the originals, and the jeans were 'cottton-stitched' as opposed to 'linen-sitiched', and had a cloth, as opposed to leather, 2-horse patch, and black-enamelled fly and suspender buttons. On the reissues  there is a blue selvage line (originals had mostly plain selvage).

Rivets look different (copper plated rather than solid copper?). The shape is different from the 501 too - a narrow waist, wider around the bum, with straight, slightly wider leg; the pockets are larger, and closer together (compare them with the 1901 jeans, for instance, and they look very different). Depending on the fit you want, you might want to downsize on the replicas. The original reissue of the 201, produced in Valencia St SF, with 555 on the buttons, is regarded by some as the finest LVC reissue. It has lovely, greenish fabric. The RED series jeans, which hit the mass market as the Type 1, used denim inspired by the look of the 201.


Pockets: 5: back pockets are square, large, closer together than 1920s 501

Rivets: late style, with rounded tops, in what looks like a bronze-colour alloy (originals had flat-top rivets).

Belt Patch: white linen 2 Horse.

Arcuates: single needle

Cut of LVC version: waist is narrow, these flare out more from the waist than the 1933 501, and feel very full around the top of the thighs. Along with the 1933 501, these jeans have the widest legs of any LVC. With these jeans in particular, my suggestion would be to buy your actual size in these, unless you like them very baggy - the waist will stretch out, and the legs will still be reasonably roomy. Note that on the 20s jeans, and thereafter, the waist-band is made from one piece of fabric. Earlier ones were two-piece.

How to size: buy your actual waist size.

These jeans are slow to fade; when they do the effect is subtle, very green, pretty similar to the originals.

Note the distinctive stitching on the large back pockets, the linen patch and the black enamelled suspender buttons.

501 model guide • 1880 Nevada •  1880 XX • ‘First Blue Jean’ 1890  • 1901 • 1915 • 1922 201 1933  • 193719441947 19551966 • 1978 •


Levi’s 201 1922