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A Pair of Levi’s 501’s I Haven’t Washed, Ever


I’ve been doing that thing where you buy a pair of raw, unwashed Levi’s 501’s and wear them every day, unwashed, ad infinitum.

If you’re interested in this post, you probably know the particulars of how to handle raw and rigid denims, but for those that aren’t, I’ll offer a synopsis.

I like Levi’s 501 Original Shrink-To-Fit Jeans in Indigo. Feel free to buy APC or Raleigh or Tellason or whomever else you see fit. I like Levi’s because you can get ’em for like forty bucks. When they’re new and raw, the tiny red tag on the seat pocket looks dynamite, too. Anyway, the deal is, buy the jeans expecting them to shrink about 10% once washed or soaked. Soaking is simply that — throw them in the tub, turn ’em inside-out, wear them in the shower, ocean, whatever (there are thousands of methods, use Google if interested.) From then, hang dry and make sure to put them on while still damp. According to legend, the jeans supposedly shrink to the contours of your body. I bought mine 2″ longer (32″x34″)to combat cuff shrinkage, and probably could have gone as long as 36″, but those are hard to find.

I bought the pair you see in October, and I have since soaked them three times, a little high for most denim gurus. I know I said I have never washed them in the title, and that part is true. No detergent or chemicals or electricity have touched my jeans. They Amish. My jeans get really gross, though, so I’ll gladly soak more often than not.

You can see that I always keep my iPhone in my left pocket, and beyond that, the wear is pretty typical. I always like the discoloration above the pockets, and I think that’s what places like Abercrombie & Fitch typical try and cop. Obviously they, or any of the hundreds far above their creative tier can’t do it as well as we can. And definitely not for less than fifty bills.

This is what they look like, off-the-rack:

Mine after 120 days:

As promised, this was relatively brief, but for more you should take to the internets. A Continous Lean has one of my favorite denim posts ever, with a few opinions from Michael Williams. Denim Debate is another great time-waster as well.

For one last contrast, here’s a photo of the above pair, underneath anontherpair I bought 180 days ago, taken back in October:

The picture quality sucks, but you get the idea. I stopped wearing the pair in the foreground because they were only a 32″ inseam, and after the first soak, they became high-waters.

Here they are today:

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