How to wear Vintage Levis 501 Shorts!

We obviously love vintage denim Levi’s shorts at the moment. So how do we wear them and rock our vintage world? The high-waisted look is nothing new, it first came around in the 1940’s. Sounds like ages to most of us, nevertheless the immortal cut-offs are still a must have in our wardrobes. They elongate your legs, slim your waist and make your bum look awesome.

Levi’s 501 has been with us since 1873 and there is nothing new under the Sun about this model – it has always been just great. The story of Levi’s started years earlier though.

Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace

The Two Horse logo is first branded onto the leather patch of the 501® jeans. 1886 in San Francisco, California Its purpose was to illustrate the strength of the pants and reinforce our status as the originator of patent riveted clothing.

The Two Horse logo was first branded onto the leather patch of the 501® jeans in 1886 in San Francisco, California.
Its purpose was to illustrate the strength of the trousers and reinforce Levi Strauss & Co. as the originator of patent riveted clothing.

The inventor of the quintessential American garment – the blue jean, was Levi Strauss, the German-American clothier.  His firm, Strauss & Co, began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.

He became an American citizen in January of 1853. In March he arrived in San Francisco, establishing a dry-goods business under his own name. He soon sold all his trade goods. Strauss saw his chance when he found out that “up in the diggings,” where the miners worked, chinos wore out very quickly. So Levi made some pairs of riveted canvas pants to sell to miners. More and more miners were coming to Strauss and asking him for a pair of those canvas trousers. Not entirely happy with canvas, Levi started using denim, a new cotton fabric from Genoa, Italy. The weavers there called the fabric “genes.” Strauss altered the name to “jeans” and then he called his pants “Levi’s”. Whatever the name, Levi’s new pants were very popular with cowboys as well as miners.

In 1928 Levi Strauss & Co. registers the Levi’s® name as a trademark.


Among the first people to wear jeans were all types of laborers, including these miners from Placer County, California in this photo taken in 1882. The traditional name of the pants were “overalls” until the 60s, when the more modern term “jeans” was first used.

Since then Levi’s jeans has been hugely popular among men. Well, with miners and laborers at the very beginning. But what about women? As we all know since the adoption of trousers in Western Europe in Late Antiquity, pants have been worn by men and not by women until the early 20th century.  Hence, the first pair of woman’s jeans were found at the beginning of 1900’s. It was exactly in 1934 when the first Lady Levi’s were first introduced. They were designed with many similar features of the men’s 501 jeans, made of pre-shrunk denim with a feminine shape.

Lady Levi's® jeans are introduced, the first jean for women. The first product Levi Strauss & Co. made for women was called “Freedom-Alls:” a one-piece garment made for both work and play, perfect for the women of the American West who had active lives.

Lady Levi’s® jeans are introduced, the first jean for women.
The first product Levi Strauss & Co. made for women was called “Freedom-Alls:” a one-piece garment made for both work and play, perfect for the women of the American West who had active lives.

Since then Levi’s jeans were the most wanted trousers in the world, while Levi’s 501 became the must have model of all the times. Must have item – got it?

Levi Strauss dies in September 26th, 1902 in San Francisco, California, U.S, and newspapers describe him as a “merchant and philanthropist.”


Quiz Time

Question: Which of these people have never worn a pair of jeans in his/her life?

1) Marilyn Monroe
2) Levi Strauss
3) Walt Disney

Answer: Levi Strauss

True story.


Time for ours!

For 140 years people have brought their own unique style to the iconic 501® and as you all know we sell a wide range of cutoffs Levi’s 501®.

The most important thing about this model is to make it your own. Levi’s 501® should be a part of your own style. It has been worn for the last 140 years by laborers, miners, hostesses, hippies, punks, rockers, skinheads, greasers, mods, factories’ workers and the like. Basically it bacame popular among a wide range of subcultures and simply ordinary people.

How do you like wearing it? If you got one of those rocking beauties from our store, or you are about to get one in the future but you have no clue what to wear it with, here are few outfits suggested by Harper and Lewis Vintage staff.


We created few outfits with four different pairs of shorts.


1. Don’t forget Levi’s 501 when going to a festival.




The bright colour and easy feel of the stonewashed denim makes for a casual look. Just throw on a dark tee and slip into some black boots for a rocking and cool approach to warm-weather festival dressing.

Rainy and muddy days at the festival? Just put a vintage leather jacket on to make your outfit look even more rocking.




Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace

Our model is wearing

The Rolling Stones T-shirt

Dr. Martens Boots

Stonewashed Levi’s 501 Shorts

80’s Leather Jacket

2. Chilly days alternative


No one has ever said that Levi’s cutoffs were designed for hot and sunny days only. (So as not for miners only! 😉 ) Just rag a jumper out! It can be the one borrowed from your boyfriend – the more baggy it is the better it looks. Could be a bit of a tom boy but looks as sexy as man’s shirt in the morning. Add bangles to make it look more feminine and knee high socks if you’re really cold. Really cold, rainy and windy? Oh yes, we’re in UK. Put a vintage jacket or coat on!


Our model is wearing

Vintage Winter Jumper

Wax Jacket (more coming soon)

Bright Idea Levi’s 501 Shorts

Dr. Martens Boots

3. Levi’s 501 in an office




Need to look a little bit more smart sometimes?  No worries, our cutoffs will make do here as well! Just slip into sandals or high heels and add a nice shirt to your shorts. The silk one looks perfectly smart. Don’t forget to add some jewellery and tuck your shirt in so everyone can see the most important part of your outfit!

Our model is wearing

Silk top

Summer Black Levi’s 501 Shorts

4. No idea where you’re going



The truth is, popular cutoffs will do for any ocassion, any weather and in any part of the world. They look cool in combo with trainers, heavy boots and high heels, tees and shirts, jumpers, jackets and coats, with or without belt. If you have no idea what to wear your pair today with, just rag a casual shirt or any cool top out!





Our model is wearing

Aztec Shirt

Sun Blocked Levi’s 501 Shorts

Vintage Flannel Check Shirt

Retro Converse All Stars

Retro Nike Sneakers

Striped blouse (coming soon)

Stay cool while looking hot with our Levi’s cutoffs.

Harper and Lewis Vintage, xx


Harper Lewis Vintage for ASOS Marketplace