For decades, my favourite pair of jeans has been the Levi 501. I swear that I used to be able to tell if someone was wearing them even before I saw the little red tag. They were flattering, but comfortable. About four years ago I bought a new pair of 501s and found to my horror that Levi have changed the cut of their classic jean. They are now sized much bigger, and really are not the same jean. They are not nearly as flattering.
I’m guessing that the target market has grown old and fat, and Levi is trying to pander to people’s illusion that they can still wear the same clothes that they wore when they were younger. I saw 501s for sale in Debenhams priced at £85! Not for the kids then… I related my jean shopping woes to a younger colleague at work, and he asked, “what are 501s? Are they jeans?”. He then went on to enlighten me that he prefers to buy his jeans from Primark. I was shocked; the world of jeans has moved on and things are no longer as they were.
I am now the proud owner of two pairs of 501s; one old pair and also a pair in the newer cut. Below, I have pictured the old pair on top of the new pair so that you can see just how big the difference in size is.
My old 501s are getting very faded and buying the same jeans is no longer an option, so I have been forced to go in search of a different brand of jeans. I had no idea how hard this would be. I wasted two hours of my life yesterday, trudging round different stores and trying on a succession of poorly fitting jeans. I ruled out all the big brands, because the prices have become silly (£65 for a basic pair of Wranglers!). Marks and Spencer offered me the most interesting experience; they had some straight cut jeans that fitted beautifully apart from around the genital area, where there was enough room and spare fabric to fit in some kind of adult nappy. Not really the look I was going for. I even tried Primark; their straight-cut jeans fitted nice everywhere apart from the waist, where they seemed about three inches too big.
To cut a long and tedious story short, I eventually found a pair of jeans that are the right colour and the right fit from Sainsburys, for just £16. I was prepared to pay £50 for a pair that fitted well, so I am very happy. Levi have lost my brand-loyalty with their decision to change the cut of their classic, but they have done me a favour in that they have forced me to spend less money!