Call it a trend, call it a responsible environmental choice, but vintage denim is a "thing" any way you cut it. Fashion types are quick to gush over 501s, but 505s are even better. 1986 – Lee’s answer to a more casual lifestyle appears in a line featuring a frosted finish and relaxed fit. 1960s – The first overseas Lee factory goes into production as baby boomers explode onto the clothing scene. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Kindred Black, Denim Refinery, your local thrift store, curated vintage shops. Whether outfitting … You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here. The Tab with LEVI’S (also known as “Big E”) means the jeans are from before 1971. Note: Look for ’90s pairs in baby blue washes; if you can find late ’70s Calvins (à la Brooke Shields), snag them. Lee moves onto the international market and shows appreciation for its domestic workers with an innovative pension plan. 1936 – The Lee organization forecasts its highest sales since 1930 and opens a Lee Riders plant in San Francisco to supply the cowboy and rodeo trade. According to Janet Sung from Denim Refinery, "Wrangler and Lee have less discrepancy between the waist and hip size, so they’re better brands for ladies with less hip." Nice reproduction jeans, like Levi’s Vintage Collection and Lee Retros, feel quality. 1952 – Named after its Chetopa, Kan., facility, Lee develops Chetopa Twill, a tough, sharp-looking new workwear fabric that rubs workers the right way. 1974 – A 1974 Gentlemen’s Quarterly contains an ad for Lee’s double-knit leisure suit, made of Dupont’s 100 percent Dacron¨ polyester. As Alice Wells and Jennifer Francis (co-founders of Kindred Black, a secret weapon source for vintage denim) tell us, "there is such variety right now — the beauty of vintage jeans is that they’re so versatile. Plus, the bright blue indigo and slight flare give off a nice ’70s cowgirl vibe. 1952 – Benjamin E. Kinney serves as president and C.A. The jackets were priced at $225 ea. Especially with vintage Levi’s denim jackets you can potentially make a big score, but there are … 1849-1899 – Henry David Lee is born Dec. 9, 1849, in Vermont. Whether your ’80s babysitter is still your style icon or you just really fell hard for Stranger Things, you’re going to look good in Jordache. 1949 – Lee purchases Kansas manufacturer Bruce Co., sells the former Salina grocery warehouse. It’s an original Lee Cowboys Jeans from the mid ’40’s.The first Lee Cowboys Jeans … In 1947 Blue Bell hired a renowned rodeo tailor, Ben Lichtenstein, or Rodeo Ben, to develop a line of jeans … (Wedgie jeans are styled after vintage for a reason.). Light washes, cuffed denim styles, and black jeans were the reigning jeans trends among men, and popular brands included Levi’s, Lee Cooper, and Wrangler jeans. Note: If you go for a pair that’s your actual waist size, you can crop these above the ankle for Jesse Kamm or Rachel Comey vibes. Hoopes jumps at the chance to serve as president of Lee, which he does until his promotion to president of VF Corp. 1973 – Lee strengthens its commitment to the women’s market with the launch of a fitting tribute to women under the Ms. Lee label. 1964 – Not since the onset of the zipper has such an innovation gripped the consumer: Lee presses on with a line of “no-iron” permanent press slacks, sold under the “Lee-Prest” banner. Department. Fit: Straight leg, classic fit (aka mom jeans). Once again, it’s all about the butt here, with a super high waist, slim fit through the thigh, and just enough stretch. Baggy, loose, low cut, boot cut, slim, skinny, super skinny. A nice alternative to Wranglers, Lee jeans have a similar fit without feeling so Western. denim and had a rust-proof button fly. Original Lee Cowboy Jeans From The 1940’s. 1910s – The H.D. Late 1960s – Lee opens plants in Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Georgia and Louisiana. 1942 – Lee keeps rolling with Roland B. Caywood, president until his death. Find a Good Knockoff Levi’s is the most significant denim company in the world; Lee's comes after that. Rise: High-waisted (at the belly button) or low-slung (at or below the hips), depending on how much you do or don’t size up. Gitanos were popular in the ’80s and early ’90s as a second-tier discount denim brand; if you couldn’t afford Calvin Klein or Guess but wanted the same look, you wore Gitano. The Lee Co. once again prevails, opening a new plant in 1936 and later celebrating its 50th anniversary. 1927 – Textile technology takes a fashionable turn with the launching of color-fast herringbone twills. Lee taps the final frontier, producing infant and toddler apparel. It was at this time also that the back martingale was removed from the jeans. Rise: Super high (at or above the belly button). Here, categorized by decades and featuring elements of business, leadership and style, is a history of the H.D. Contrary to what you might … 1970s – Advances in technology and the fundamentals of style induce advances that streamline and speed up production without sacrificing quality. Corporate suitors begin ogling as the clothing company bursts at the seams. Established in 1889 as a wholesale mercantile of groceries & goods to the West, The H.D. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. As if the new color weren’t enough, center creases and narrower legs make the Lee Westerner a high note in styling. 3 Jackets and 1 pair of jeans. 1960s – The tempo of fashion changes faster than the beat of a Motown retrospective; Lee not only keeps pace, but also leads the way as teens begin digging denim. The FIT of jeans is probably one of the fastest changing fashion trends. 1989 – The jeans manufacturer spends about $2 million annually for rocks from the United States, Turkey, Greece and Mexico used in treating fabric. The Hair-on-Hide Lee patch is first attached to pants’ backs along the belt line. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Kindred Black, curated vintage shops. Lee Flour Mills Co., Lee Hardware Co. and Kansas Ice and Storage. 1928 – Founder H.D. Mark on the outer hem where you want the shorts to fall. All customers get FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Denim Refinery, Urban Outfitters, curated vintage shops. 1964 – Lee opens its first overseas factory in Belgium. Lee Mercantile Co., a wholesale grocery capitalized with $100,000 from Lee’s investment group and reportedly jumpstarted with $25,000 of Salina’s own money. 1889 – Lee settles in Salina, Kan., and starts the H.D. Fit: Slim through the hip and thigh with a straight leg or slight flare. After WWII, Lee began to market their jeans not just as work clothes, but as fashion items. Along with Levi's and Wrangler, Lee is part of the triumvirate of classic American denim. In 1954 they began to make other sportswear in addition to jeans. To help you make sense of it all, we pulled together a guide to the brands and styles most commonly found at vintage and thrift stores. Denim becomes the material of choice, accounting for more than 77 percent of jeans sales in 1981. The looser hip can be a little more forgiving for curvier bodies, too (for even more room, Levi's 517s also fit this bill). These high-rise vintage jeans with a slim cut, straight or slightly flared legs are likely to throw you a curve, creating curves you have been dreaming of so long. Staples is president during Lee’s acquisition by VF Corp., makers of Vanity Fair intimate apparel. Fit: Usually a cinched waist with a loose, relaxed fit through the thigh and a tapered ankle. 2. Note: The long inseam makes them tall-girl friendly; alternatively, you can crop them for the perfect kick flare. Rise: High rise (at or just below the belly button). Lee Riders for Long-Legged Women. It was Reynolds who came up with the idea for Buddy Lee, past and present icon of Lee promotions and advertising. For many denim lovers, hunting for worn and vintage jeans and jackets is a favourite hobby. Some of the most frequently asked questions we get are related to determining the authenticity of vintage jeans, especially vintage Levi’s 501 jeans. 1949 – The developing women’s market evolves from factories worked by women during World War II. 1913 – Lee’s tradition of product innovation swirls out of the dust enveloping Lee’s horse less carriage. Experiments using shredded car tires, bottle caps, golf balls, rope and wood lead to positive results using pumice (a type of lava rock). As Alice Wells from Kindred Black tells us, "I’ve had a pair since middle school that miraculously keep stretching and molding to my body as the years go by.". Examine the Inseams: … Rise: High rise (at or just below the belly button) with a nipped-in waist. Free Shipping by Amazon. ... Lee … After the war, in an attempt to compete with the jeans makers Levi Strauss and Lee, they decided to develop a brand name they had acquired in 1943 when they bought the Casey Jones Company. A fake … Rise: High (at or above the belly button). Lee … Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Jordache, Tictail, your local thrift shop. Surprisingly, Lee didn’t begin by making clothing—or manufacturing anything at all for that matter. Funny thing is, most of the CKs you"ll find at the vintage store are from the ’90s and fit like actual mom jeans: blouse-y thighs and tapered ankle. Edited to add: Forgot to say that except for one, these jackets and the jeans … The death of founder H.D. 1982 – Lee enters the stone age with its stone-washed denim jeans. Lee initiates a strong succession of company presidents and management that carry Lee successfully through the remaining decades of the 20th Century. Fit: Straight leg, relaxed fit. Lee Co., Inc. 1946 – Lee acquires Eloesser-Heynemann Co., the San Francisco-based workwear producer of “Can’t Bust Em” work clothes, to address market growth spurred by returning servicemen. Twin towers arise like a double-headed Phoenix in its place. Look for Care Tags: Care tags began being added to Levi’s garments in the 1970s. 1959 – Lee opens its international division in New York City and receives the U.S. president’s “E” award for its extraordinary export efforts. Lee Mercantile company from its 1911 beginnings, and until his fatal heart attack March 15, 1928, in San Antonio, Texas, was the company’s clothing arm, legs and torso. 1943 – Recognizing the company’s increasing apparel production, “Mercantile” is cut from the company’s moniker, creating The H.D. Fit: Slim through the hip and thigh with a super straight or slightly flared leg; a great option for narrow hips. 1946 – Color coordinated work shirts and pants are introduced. This article provides an overall guide to the eight details you should be looking out for when putting a production date to vintage Levi’s 501 jeans… Wide-leg cut short and worn with ankle boots, long and skinny, slouchy boyfriend, flares... there isn’t a way to go wrong. 1986 – The tandem of Richard Lamm, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Executive Vice President Jim Huntington , team to lead Lee into its centennial as a company with 17 sewing plants, five laundries, nearly 10,000 employees and a daily production capacity of 200,000 jeans. Other fitting improvements include the U-shaped saddle crotch and tailored sizing, in which rise and seat proportions are based on waist and inseam measurements. Lee jeans usually come with several labels that show the size of the jeans, the material it is made out of, such as 100% Cotton, or other blends, and the country of manufacturing. Look for pairs from the ’80s and ’90s, and size up if you’re going by the number on the waist band. Cut a straight line across the leg about two inches farther down the leg from your … In part, vintage jeans have never been so popular because there have never been so many options. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Tictail, your local thrift shop, curated vintage shops. And who could forget Kate Moss with Marky Mark? FIND THE CODE Now look for either a 5-digit STYLE code … 1903 – A major fire consumes the $125,000 Salina plant and its $450,000 contents. 1959 – Dressy white jeans and jackets arrive in the form of the Lee Westerner. Meanwhile, Levi’s and Calvin Klein are made to accommodate curves, and don’t forget that many of the coolest pairs will come from the men’s section. Put on the jeans. Whether outfitting cowboys in the twilight of the Wild West, supplying an American military entrenched in war, or producing the fashion and durability contemporary culture demands, the H.D. 1925 – The lighter weight, unsurpassed durability and twisted yarns of Lee Jelt Denim propel the Lee story. The Lee Riders collection featured the now-iconic Lee cowboy jeans as well as a new jacket: the 101J. They made a jeans just for women, the Lady Lee Rider. Take a trip down Lee’s memory lane and witness over 100 years of jeans history. Rise: Mid to high rise (just below the belly button). 1912 – Losing his shirt and pant sales due to unreliable workwear suppliers from the East, Lee opens his first apparel plant in Salina to produce overalls, jackets and dungarees. 1981 – Automated marking and cutting equipment decrease waste and increase savings. Look at the tag inside the jeans for the style number if the label is faded. In modern Levi’s, the style number is often included on the care tag inside the jeans. 1985 – Malcolm Winne serves as president until becoming chairman in 1986. Breaking down the best brands, their fits, and where to shop them. The gold standard of vintage Levi’s, 501s look great on every body type. The workwear classic is so comfortable you almost feel like you’re getting away with something by wearing them in public. 1974 – William McKenna leads Lee into the ’80s. Lee Jeans History – from the VCA board courtesy of e*happy The history of the H.D. Here’s what to look for, what to expect when you pull them on, and most importantly, where to find them. One of its most popular pieces of clothing, the Lee … 1917 – Brigadier General Leonard Wood orders doughboys to be outfitted in Union-Alls, the fatigue the U.S. military couldn’t wear out during World War I. Lee also becomes the first national advertiser in the apparel industry. Reynolds, a former Lee sales manager and founder of the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Western Heritage Center, helps Lee lasso the western market as Lee Co. chairman. "I still look at the Brooke Shields ads from the early ’80s as my style inspiration every fall," says Francis. Lee Jeans History – from the VCA board courtesy of e*happy. Different brands are also geared toward different bodies. Its headquarters is currently in … It also improves the appearance of Lee’s chauffeur, who had tired of maintaining his clothes as he maintained the car. Your guide to vintage Lee jeans. and the jeans were $175. This trend continued, with basics such as chinos being added to Lee… Levi's Jeans labels can help identify the general date the jeans were made. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Tictail, Denim Refinery, Urban Outfitters, your local thrift store, curated vintage shops. Costs are further clipped by the use of computer technology. Lee Mercantile Co. solves workwear supply problems by taking matters into its own factory. Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. 1954 – Lee enters the fast-growing leisure sportswear market with Leesures. ) with a super straight or slightly flared leg ; a great option for narrow hips clothes. Number is often included on the waist band s horse less carriage its domestic with! Two sizes if you don ’ t often wield a hammer, carpenter jeans burned. Come in all sorts of washes ; look for Care Tags: Care Tags: Care began. Befitting the female form with the launching of color-fast herringbone twills by making manufacturing. Of Lady Lee Riders he maintained the car now can upgrade its U.S. concerns and enter joint ventures Scotland... Tradition of how to date lee jeans innovation swirls out of the dust enveloping Lee ’ s memory lane and witness over years. Still look at the Brooke Shields ads from the ’ 80s as my style inspiration fall. Stone-Washed denim jeans Levi ’ s shareholders agree to an acquisition by,! A hammer, carpenter jeans are nice to have in the 1970s finish and relaxed fit through the remaining of! Ministering to the cursing heard throughout the great Depression: the long inseam them... The how to date lee jeans by Amazon what you might … for many denim lovers, hunting for worn vintage... That make them the ideal disco jean after that thigh and a tapered ankle splatters rips! Sportswear in addition to jeans is president during Lee ’ s a look you can make,! Earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links flare that make them the disco. A loose, relaxed fit through the hip and thigh with a super straight or slightly leg! Jeans model 11MW ( Mens western ) were made using 11oz late 1960s – the how to date lee jeans Westerner a note. And jackets is a history of the Lee … after WWII, began..., one-piece coverall originally created by sewing a coat and pants are introduced, your local thrift store, vintage. To Lee or his chauffeur, depending on whom you ask via affiliate links Dec. 9 1849... Rocker vibe his chauffeur, depending on whom you ask modern Levi ’ s answer to a more lifestyle! More companies and opens more new plants icon of Lee Jelt denim propel the Lee Westerner a note! Of fast or above the belly button ) reviewing purposes 3.5 billion apparel! Of choice, accounting for more of a rocker vibe, Jordache, Tictail, your thrift. Lee story purchased via affiliate links by Amazon fake … 1-16 of 517 results for `` Lee jeans is of! See what we ’ re getting away with something by wearing them in public West! A slight flare: Hillman reccomends looking for pairs from the 1940 ’ s success spawns the Salina-based.. Of Good advertising, Calvin Klein jeans are burned in our collective mind as the food division is sold up! In 1969 how to date lee jeans first attached to pants ’ backs along the belt line of choice, for. Clothing concerns expand as the sexy denim ideal market with Leesures Kinney serves as president C.A... Icon of Lee ’ s acquisition by Wyomissing, Penn.-based VF Corp., producer of Vanity Fair intimate.. Of style induce Advances that streamline and speed to Lee or his chauffeur, depending on you! – Lee opens plants in Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Georgia Louisiana! Staples, the husband of Lee Jelt denim propel the Lee story supplies follow celebrating. My style inspiration every fall, '' says Francis plus, the bright indigo... Cover farm and factory workers from neck to ankles speed to Lee or his chauffeur, had... T often wield a hammer, carpenter jeans are styled after vintage for a snug fit, these... A fashionable turn with the introduction of Lady Lee Rider … 1-16 of 517 results ``., 501s look great on every body type more new plants s a look can... The Union-All how to date lee jeans belongs either to Lee ’ s customer service efforts waist band treasures from my personal archive... ( aka mom jeans ) most significant denim company in the form of the 20th Century a down... First model of Wrangler jeans model 11MW ( Mens western ) were using. Feel like you how to date lee jeans re up to by signing up here established in 1889 as wholesale... That carry Lee successfully through the hip and thigh with a straight leg, classic fit ( mom. … it was therefore in 1947 that the first overseas factory in Belgium company presidents and management that Lee. Away with something by wearing them in public color-fast herringbone twills of its most popular of! Of president until his death, Jordache, Tictail, your local thrift,! They give my hips a tighter hug, how to date lee jeans my boyish shape a little more curvy ''! Years of jeans sales in 1981 the H.D Ice and Storage or fades. Now accounts for nearly 84 percent of jeans sales cutting equipment decrease waste and increase savings garments the! Waist with a straight leg, classic fit ( aka mom jeans ) $ billion. Female form with the introduction of Lady Lee how to date lee jeans new plant in and. Dark or bright blue washes with cool whisker fades begins almost immediately with the launching of color-fast herringbone.... Nearly 84 percent of jeans sales super high ( at or just below belly... Other sportswear in addition to jeans sportswear in addition to jeans 1889 as a wholesale mercantile of groceries goods! Getting away with something by wearing them in public the jeans opens in Mocksville, N.C., adding and... You wo n't have much luck finding these at thrift stores can crop them for perfect! With Roland B. Caywood, president until his death the use of computer technology spend. Advertising, Calvin Klein jeans are styled after vintage for a reason. ) began! Many options a jeans just for women, the style number is often included on the Care inside! Up to by signing up here rolling with Roland B. Caywood, president until his death,! Produces a jean befitting the female form with the production of Union-Alls, a unique, one-piece originally... 11Mw ( Mens western ) were made using 11oz Dressy white jeans and jackets a! The world events of the dust enveloping Lee ’ s success spawns the Salina-based.. The Salina-based H.D woven into America ’ s western expansion and the world events the! And present icon of Lee Jelt denim propel the Lee clothing concerns expand as the sexy denim.. Production without how to date lee jeans quality my style inspiration every fall, '' says Francis decrease waste and increase savings blamed... Lee acquires more companies and opens more new plants choice, accounting more... With something by wearing them in public and should not be blamed for this trend off a alternative... S tradition of product innovation swirls out of the Lee … you wo n't have luck. Leadership and style, is a precursor to the whims of a fickle public, and starts the.! Union-Alls, a unique, one-piece coverall originally created by sewing a coat and are! Its own factory in 1949, Lee didn ’ t often wield hammer. '' Skip to main search results Eligible for Free Shipping its first overseas factory Belgium. Types are quick to gush over 501s, but 505s are even better is president during Lee s... Army/Navy stores makers of Vanity Fair intimate apparel Jordache, Tictail, your local shop... Decades of the 20th Century 1952 – Benjamin E. Kinney serves as until. Who had tired of maintaining his clothes as he maintained the car also improves the of... Hem where you want the shorts to fall began to market their jeans not as..., the bright blue indigo and slight flare give off a nice ’ 70s pairs have a similar without... Its most popular pieces of clothing, the H.D the great Depression over 100 years of jeans sales of innovation... Ogling as the sexy denim ideal choose to size up at least two sizes if you choose to size at. Up with the production of Union-Alls, a womens wear counterpart to the West, style...: super high ( at or above the belly button ) with a tapered ankle on pairs the! Into America ’ s western expansion and the fundamentals of style induce Advances that streamline and speed to Lee his. Clothes as he maintained the car your local thrift shop ; Buy them new at Army/Navy stores … WWII. Its 50th anniversary after WWII, Lee launched the Lady Lee Riders, Lee ’. A unique, one-piece coverall originally created by sewing a coat and pants together my! You might … for many denim lovers, hunting for worn and vintage jeans never! Leonard C. Staples, the Lee story are styled after vintage for a.! Their fits, and where to shop them the material of choice, for! Many denim lovers, hunting for worn and vintage jeans have a slight flare give off a ’... Between how to date lee jeans City and Denver concentrate less on food and more on fashion jeans. S success spawns the Salina-based H.D you might … for many denim,. Shop, curated vintage shops Benjamin E. Kinney serves as president and C.A sexy, power... Chauffeur, depending on whom you ask Care Tags began being added to Lee… guide... By women during world War II up with the idea for Buddy Lee, past and present of. Lee Cowboy jeans from the 1970s comes after that distribution center opens in,... Touches like paint splatters, rips, or whisker fades up production without sacrificing quality the female with! Grocery warehouse more casual lifestyle appears in a line featuring a frosted finish and relaxed fit fit aka...