Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Levi's 501

These days I tend to stick with products that I believe are timeless. But back in the early to mid seventies, timeless had no meaning. I was in my late teens and I could barely think beyond the next half hour. At the time, Fremont had 2 stores that carried men's clothing; Reber's Menswear and Dekuiper andVisscher(known to the locals as just Reber's and just Dekuipers).
Reber's was known for a bit of a dressier look. It's where you shopped if you played on the golf or tennis teams or needed a tux for the prom (it was not where you shopped for the 3 inch platform shoes that you sported with the tux). Largely it was the go-to shop for Gerber upper management and executives...suitings, dress shirts, ties, cufflinks and wing tips.
My kind headed for Dekuiper's and the land of Levi's.
Dekuiper's was geared more towards the farmer (which translated to me...cowboy) and being from a farmtown, it made my country rocker persona much more legit.
Not only did Dekuiper's carry Levi's, they also carried Wrangler and Lee along with their respective denim jackets, Osh-Kosh bib overalls, flannel shirts by Dee Cee, bandanas, Red Wing boots and the odd western shirt probably by a label previously mentioned.
My look couldn't have been more complete.
Now at the time, the way I saw it, you had 2 schools to choose from.
ONE: was the t-shirt-flarecut jean worn over pert near any style cowboy boot-topped off with perhaps a pair of aviator sunglasses ala Glen Frey or TWO: a beat to hell flannel shirt-and an even beater pair of 501's-over the stock pair of Red Wing work boots-with a hanky hanging from your back pocket ala Neil Young.

On a side bar, the Roadie uniform of choice at the time was mainly a black t-shirt with the logo of something cool and far away, something only the inner stage hand circle knew about, and boots.
Hence our band name Pete Texas, which came from a composite image of a roadie.

Back at Dekuiper's (pronounced da-ky-pers), I don't remember what year it was specifically but what I do remember is the somewhat over sized, hard paper tag attached to the back right pocket announcing Levi's 501 Shrink-to-Fit, WHAT-IS-THIS?
Most of the time, you had to special order these newly cool 501's because you had to buy them 1 to 2 sizes bigger in the waist and inseam and then you washed and dried them and they were supposed to magically fit out of the dryer. But for the few who knew, you'd take them home, slip 'em on and sit in the tub or shower until completly soaked and at the same time, trying to come up with an idea of what you were going to do while walking around in them waiting for them to dry. Just a tiny hiccup in the big picture really, cuz there I was, in all my splendor, in my 501 Shrink-to Fit Levi's.

As I think back, the denim fabric in the early to mid seventies was of, what I thought, a better quality because if you wore the heck out of 'em, along with numerous washings and dryings, you'd eventually end up with such a beautiful, natural fade which tons of denim companies to this day are still trying to re-capture...even Levi's.

I still wear 501's to this day. Now touting itself as the Anti-Fit jean is only a bonus as my rear seems to have disappeared, my wife has declared. More on that later...maybe.

No comments:

Post a Comment