How To Determine Production Date Of Vintage Levi’s Denim Jackets
For many denim lovers, hunting for worn and vintage jeans and jackets is a favourite hobby. Especially with vintage Levi’s denim jackets you can potentially make a big score, but there are certain characteristics of the design and production details you need to know.
Depending on where you live, you may find a number of second hand and thrift stores as well as more specialised vintage stores. The history of denim’s influence and presence of certain brands in the your country also influence what you’ll be able to find.
In concept vintage stores you’re likely to find some interesting jeans as well as other vintage pieces like leather jackets, shirts, and even boots. However, if you are looking for a real bargain most of the time you’re in the wrong spot; these people know the value of vintage Levi’s and similar, and you are going to pay for it.
According to what we know, we presume that the vintage Levi’s denim jacket featured in this article is from somewhere between the late 1960s to early 1970s. It features:
- 2 chest pockets
- Small e tab on the chest pocket
- No hand warmer pockets
- Orange stitching
- Single row stitching adjacent to the buttonhole
- Label stating 70500 04
Have a look below to find out how old your jacket is.
Hand Warmer Pockets: Yes (mid 80 – present)
The first important and easy way to determine the difference in the period is looking if the jacket has two hand warmer pockets. If they are there then it’s from the mid 1980 until the present. In this period, Levi’s has produced a lot of colors and stonewashes. The jackets have four pockets and a small e tab.
Hand Warmer Pockets: No (71 – mid 80)
If your jacket doesn’t feature hand warmer pockets but still has the the small e red tab it’s dating from 71 till mid 80s. To define the right period, there are subtle differences of the stitching adjacent to the bottom buttonhole.
Double row stitching: Yes (71 – mid 80)
If your jacket has a double row stitching adjacent to the buttonhole and only two chest pockets, then it’s from the same period ’71 till mid ’80s.
Single row stitching: No (mid 60 – 71)
If you found a jacket, like I did, with a single row stitching, no hand warmer pockets an a small e red tab on the chest pocket, then your jacket is very likely from the period mid 60 – 71. For a difference between the two stitches have a look at the pictures.
The Big ‘E’ Third Edition (Type III) (50s – 71)
Finding a jacket with the Big E red tab, then you’re in luck. We’re talking about the period of the late 50s – 71. These jackets also have only two chest pockets and these are know as the Third Edition or Type III series. Some of them are blanket lined. You can read more about the Type III here.
The Second Edition (Type II) (40s – late 50s)
Except for the Big E you can identify a Second Edition (Type II) by its vertical pleats on the front side adjacent the buttons. The 2 chest pockets are exterior and has straight pocket flap instead of a pointed one on more recent models. Really a favorite model, but hard to find in vintage stores.
The First Edition (Type I) (before 40s)
The First Edition or Type I with the lot number 506XX has a single brest, left side pocket. Like the Type II, this model also has a pleated front. The early version didn’t have a pocket flap, which was added onto later models. As with the early Levi’s jeans from that era, a cinch back was used on the lower back. The red tab appeared from the 1936 models. Read more about this model here.
Some jackets may appear to be older than they actually are. This guide is only valid for ‘original’ vintage jackets, and therefore not replicas such as Levi’s Vintage Clothing jackets. Take a look at the care label inside the jacket. If it has one then the earliest production date is the mid 70s when Levi’s started using care labels instead of prints.
*NOTE: If you have more specific information of how to date this jacket, please share it with us in the comments below. We realise that we are actually stating that the small e red tab was introduced to the Type III jacket before 1971. You also may want to have a closer look at our sources: Midwest Vintage and Infobarrel.