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If your favorite pair of Levi's jeans, which have been on the market since 1873, are more than 25 years old, they're considered "vintage." You may find it hard to part with your old, broken-in jeans because not only are they comfortable, they're stylish, too. While new jeans may feature darker washes, old ones look fashion-forward with faded finishes, time-worn details and retro touches.
Red Tab Details
Levi's can always be identified by their trademark red back pocket tab. To determine if your denim is old, inspect the tab's lettering. From 1950 to 1971, the word "Levi" featured a capital "E" instead of the lowercase one it now has.
To determine if your Levi's are vintage or not, inspect the denim's inseams. Original Levi's 501s featured a single-felled inseam, which is one row of stitching that runs up the inner thighs. If the garment has a double-felled inseam with different colored stitching, it was most likely manufactured between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s. Most newer jeans feature double-felled inseams with same-color stitching.
When determining the age of your Levi's jeans, look for a care label. Levi's started featuring care labels in the 1970s, and from then until the mid-1980s, they where white with blue lettering. From 1985 on, the white labels feature red lettering and the Levi's logo.
Check the Levi's jeans' back pocket designs to determine when they were made. From the post-World War II period through 1966, the pockets featured two high arc, or arcurate, designs. From 1966 to the present day, the arc patterns aren't as high or deep. If your jeans are from the World War II era, they won't feature arc designs at all, as thread was rationed during that time period.