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Buying LVC 1954 501ZXX Shrink-to-Fit: How To Find the Perfect Size

Buying LVC 1954 501ZXX Shrink-to-Fit: How To Find the Perfect Size

If you’re a denim lover like me, New York City has probably found it’s way to the top of your favourite must-go-to-destinations-list if you haven’t been there yet.

I finally went this summer to enjoy some vacation time with my girlfriend, but also to visit some for denim shops I had heard so much about. And based on all the recommendations I had gotten from friends my expectations were sky high and I found just what I was looking for; shrink-to-fit Levi’s jeans.The Levi’s store in the Meatpacking District was one of the first shops we went to.

Ready to burst with excitement by spotting the discrete Levi’s sign outside the shop I felt like a little boy on Christmas Eve. And boy, it was a thrill. For any Levi’s fan this is heaven. Here you’ll find all your favourites from Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Made & Crafted as well as the classic Red Tab collection, and your girlfriend may just as well find the perfect pair of jeans in the women’s department – my girlfriend bought a pair of 606 Orange Tab Jeans.

Add to all this the Tailor Shop. I highly recommend the shop to any denim head, it’s truly an experience you won’t ever regret, and I can’t wait to go back! And it’s cheaper than back home in Scandinavia.

With the help of one of one of a highly competent salesmen I found just what I landed on two dry Levi’s Vintage Clothing fits, the 1954 and the 1947. As a little side project of the Levi’s Vintage Clothing Wear & Tear Project that they’re doing here at Denimhunters, I had my jeans measured and photographed before and after I shrunk them. Keep an eye out for updates on the wearing process.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1954 501ZXX - size 30/34 pre and post shrinkage

These are the before and after pictures of the 1954 501ZXX in size 30/34. I soaked the jeans for an hours in lukewarm water, put them out on my bathroom floor to dry for about three hours, put them on for a few hours to stretch them out and to avoid too much shrinkage in the waist, and then hung them to dry. When I wore them to work the next morning they were still a little damp.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1954 501ZXX - size 30/34 pre and post shrinkage

Below are the measurements in centimetres.

LVC 54 501ZXX size 30/34

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1947 501XX - size 31/34 pre and post shrinkage

This is what the 1947 501XX in size 31/34 looks like on me before and after skrinkage. The soaking approach was somewhat the same as with my 54s.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1947 501XX - size 31/34 pre and post shrinkage

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1947 501XX - size 31/34 pre and post shrinkage

This is what it measures.

LVC 47 501XX size 31/34

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Next stop on the Top 2 list of must-see-shops was What Goes Around Comes Around; one of the best shops in the city when it comes to vintage Levi’s. The shop is located at 351 West Broadway (between Broome and Grand). We ended up on Broadway, not West Broadway, and there is a huge difference. But after 1½ hours of walking we finally found it and it was completely worth it all. For a long time I’ve been wanting a pair of originals and I decided on this pair from the late 70s or early 80s.

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

One of the main criteria when picking out the jeans was that they should fit me.

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

The red thread in the selvage edge is also washed out. Also, notice that the chain stitch on the hem begins and ends on the outer seam, a feature you won’t find on reproductions.

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Beautiful train tracks!

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Chain stitched back pockets equals post-mid-70s.

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Route 66.

Early 80s redline Levi's 501

Words by Morten Blaaberg Klausen. Edited by Thomas Bojer.

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Kasper Broue Meinertz

28 comments

Avatar
Steve Chan May 24, 2013 at 21:49

Desperate question: do you think I can do the same with a denim jacket?

I bought this jacket from American Apparel in XXS, but since I am a skinny person, It still looks loose on me: http://store.americanapparel.net/product/?productId=rsand401w

Is it shrinkable? What is the best approach for me to shrink it? By sitting in a hot tub? I only have one chance and I dont wanna ruin such a beautiful jacket!

Any help/advice is much appreciated!!

Avatar
Steve Chan May 24, 2013 at 21:50

By the way I bought the one in “resin dark wash indigo”

Avatar
Lucia Rodrigues December 23, 2013 at 00:19

I am enjoying reading your blog, even though there is almost nothing for girls in here.

I just bought the Levi’s 60s 606. Now I am worried that I won’t be able to wash it since it fit true the size on my waist and length.

I wished your girlfriend would review her 606.

Happy Holidays from Miami

Avatar
JimmyO August 9, 2017 at 17:08

Nice find on the vintage 501s! I love how they fade and soften, yet remain so strong. I have a couple pairs of 50s from the 90s (bought them myself 18 years ago when I was very young) and they still fit.

Today, I wear Levi’s 511 selvedge. You can find them in Levis stores or online. High quality denim, like the old vintage denim.

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