What do Marilyn Monroe, Steve Jobs, Bella Hadid, and The Ramones have in common? They love Levi’s 501s.
The denim brand first launched the straight-leg, button-fly silhouette back in 1873—marking its 150th anniversary this year. They were the first pair of jeans ever created, built to last for blue collar workers in the rugged American West. Since then, they’ve become both a casual staple and debatably the most famous jeans in the world. Marlon Brando, Cindy Crawford, Debbie Harry, Cher, and Run DMC have all worn them, to name a few; Current It girls like Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and Kaia Gerber, meanwhile, are all keeping the timeless look alive today.
As someone who’s truly denim obsessed—my two closets are overflowing with jeans—I can certainly vouch for their allure. Over the years, I’ve experimented with just about every jean silhouette—whether it be skinny, baggy, flared, or tapered—but the 501 is a style I’ve always come back to. I keep multiple pairs in different shades in my closet.
There’s just something about the clean, unfussy fit of them that’s universal and timeless. They’re straight-leg, but not too straight-leg. You can pair the jeans with a vintage tee, and the look reads retro-cool; Style it with a structured blazer and dressy shoes, and it’s suddenly sleek and professional. Where other denim trends can quickly fall out of fashion (see: the extra-wide JNCO jeans), the 501s are like an old friend you can always depend on.
Perhaps the best part about them, however, is that they’re affordable at $98 (prices can slightly vary per retailer). And, like their inception story, they’re truly built to last; I’ve had one pair of 501s for well over a decade, and they’re now perfectly worn in. So, if you’ve yet to own a pair of the Levi’s 501s, consider this my salesman pitch. Sure, trendy designer jeans are fun to experiment with—but the 501s are a no-brainer jean that you’ll keep slipping into again and again. And who doesn’t want the most out of their clothes?
Below, shop the classic Levi’s 501s.