1889 – Lee settles in Salina, Kan., and starts the H.D. One of its most popular pieces of clothing, the Lee … Leg: Slim fit with a tapered ankle on pairs from the ’80s; late ’70s pairs have a slight flare. According to Janet Sung from Denim Refinery, "Wrangler and Lee have less discrepancy between the waist and hip size, so they’re better brands for ladies with less hip." Save yourself the trouble in the dressing room if you have thicker thighs, butt, or a much slimmer waist than hip; these are better at creating curves than accommodating them. 1927 – Textile technology takes a fashionable turn with the launching of color-fast herringbone twills. There, the H.D. Look for pairs from the ’80s and ’90s, and size up if you’re going by the number on the waist band. Lee Co. is woven into America’s western expansion and the world events of the 20th Century. Lee taps the final frontier, producing infant and toddler apparel. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Jordache, Tictail, your local thrift shop. They made a jeans just for women, the Lady Lee Rider. 1924 – A 13-ounce denim cowboy pant is introduced in 1924. Rise: High rise (at or just below the belly button) with a nipped-in waist. If that’s a look you can make sexy, more power to you. It was at this time also that the back martingale was removed from the jeans. Lee Jeans History – from the VCA board courtesy of e*happy. 1985 – Malcolm Winne serves as president until becoming chairman in 1986. Racked is no longer publishing. 1900-1909 – A devastating warehouse fire and the challenge of transporting goods over undeveloped land, some of it settled less than 50 years before, cannot keep Lee and his associates from becoming a prominent financial force across the Central Plains and burgeoning Midwest. Fit: Look for pairs from the early ’80s, which have a slight flare that make them the ideal disco jean. 1950s – Lee acquires more companies and opens more new plants. Cut a straight line across the leg about two inches farther down the leg from your … 1949 – The developing women’s market evolves from factories worked by women during World War II. Note: Look for dark or bright blue washes with cool whisker fades on the thighs. 1956 – Leonard W. Staples, nephew of the company’s second chief executive, replaces Benjamin E. Kinney when Kinney replaces chairman C.A. Early success in the oil business and a doctor’s admonition to go west, lead the tubercular Lee to settle in Salina, Kan., in 1889. To fully appreciate this development, speak with a man standing in an Iowa cornfield in late December, his gloved hands desperately fumbling at his buttoned fly. Along with Levi's and Wrangler, Lee is part of the triumvirate of classic American denim. Lee Mercantile Co. solves workwear supply problems by taking matters into its own factory. Look at the tag inside the jeans for the style number if the label is faded. 1-16 of 517 results for "lee jeans" Skip to main search results Eligible for Free Shipping. Even if you don’t often wield a hammer, carpenter jeans are nice to have in the rotation. Lee Jeans is a major international retailer and manufacturer of denim wear and casual wear. Mark on the outer hem where you want the shorts to fall. 1970s – Advances in technology and the fundamentals of style induce advances that streamline and speed up production without sacrificing quality. Reynolds. It was Reynolds who came up with the idea for Buddy Lee, past and present icon of Lee promotions and advertising. Free Shipping by Amazon. Hoopes jumps at the chance to serve as president of Lee, which he does until his promotion to president of VF Corp. 1973 – Lee strengthens its commitment to the women’s market with the launch of a fitting tribute to women under the Ms. Lee label. 1982 – Lee enters the stone age with its stone-washed denim jeans. This vintage pair of Lee Jeans is one of the many treasures from my personal denim archive. The “Cowboy” jacket, as it came to be known, was much closer in style to a Levi’s … You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here. Lee dies of a heart attack in Texas. This article provides an overall guide to the eight details you should be looking out for when putting a production date to vintage Levi’s 501 jeans… Edited to add: Forgot to say that except for one, these jackets and the jeans … Lee Riders for Long-Legged Women. 1952 – Benjamin E. Kinney serves as president and C.A. Rise: High (at or above the belly button). ", While the pool may be wide, shopping for vintage jeans isn’t as simple as picking your typical size off the thrift store rack (the size on the tag basically means nothing), and not every pair is created equal: Some of these jeans are going to make your butt look good, and some of these jeans are going to make your butt look really good. Sales of notions, furnishings, stationery and school supplies follow. After the war, in an attempt to compete with the jeans makers Levi Strauss and Lee, they decided to develop a brand name they had acquired in 1943 when they bought the Casey Jones Company. Denim becomes the material of choice, accounting for more than 77 percent of jeans sales in 1981. Levi's Jeans labels can help identify the general date the jeans were made. If you choose to size up instead, they're the perfect comfy boyfriend jean — just roll the cuff or crop the bottom. 1952 – Named after its Chetopa, Kan., facility, Lee develops Chetopa Twill, a tough, sharp-looking new workwear fabric that rubs workers the right way. The Lee Union-All unites a jacket and dungarees to cover farm and factory workers from neck to ankles. Note: Look for ’90s pairs in baby blue washes; if you can find late ’70s Calvins (à la Brooke Shields), snag them. As Alice Wells and Jennifer Francis (co-founders of Kindred Black, a secret weapon source for vintage denim) tell us, "there is such variety right now — the beauty of vintage jeans is that they’re so versatile. This trend continued, with basics such as chinos being added to Lee… You won't have much luck finding these at thrift stores. I found some at the salvation army. Different brands are also geared toward different bodies. All customers get FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. Fit: Slim through the hip and thigh with a straight leg or slight flare. Lee Company. Fit: Straight leg, relaxed fit. The FIT of jeans is probably one of the fastest changing fashion trends. Wide-leg cut short and worn with ankle boots, long and skinny, slouchy boyfriend, flares... there isn’t a way to go wrong. It was therefore in 1947 that the first model of Wrangler Jeans Model 11MW (Mens Western) were made using 11oz. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Kindred Black, curated vintage shops. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Denim Refinery, Urban Outfitters, curated vintage shops. 1957 – Boys’ wear, and boys everywhere, receive a lift with the introduction of Lee’s “Double Knees,” patching relations between worn out moms and their “holy tearers.”. In the 1950’s, Lee introduced the Lee … 1942 – Lee keeps rolling with Roland B. Caywood, president until his death. And who could forget Kate Moss with Marky Mark? 1928 – Leonard C. Staples, the husband of Lee’s niece, assumes the position of president until his death. Experiments using shredded car tires, bottle caps, golf balls, rope and wood lead to positive results using pumice (a type of lava rock). Especially with vintage Levi’s denim jackets you can potentially make a big score, but there are … 1964 – Not since the onset of the zipper has such an innovation gripped the consumer: Lee presses on with a line of “no-iron” permanent press slacks, sold under the “Lee-Prest” banner. Lee Jeans History – from the VCA board courtesy of e*happy The history of the H.D. In 1947 Blue Bell hired a renowned rodeo tailor, Ben Lichtenstein, or Rodeo Ben, to develop a line of jeans … 1940s – Increased apparel production and sales bolstered by post-war prosperity encourage the company to concentrate less on food and more on fashion. Lee produces a jean befitting the female form with the introduction of Lady Lee Riders. Breaking down the best brands, their fits, and where to shop them. After WWII, Lee began to market their jeans not just as work clothes, but as fashion items. 1910s – The H.D. Take a trip down Lee’s memory lane and witness over 100 years of jeans history. 1950 – The expanding jeans market leads Lee to fold the food division, selling it to Consolidated Grocers (later Consolidated Foods) for $3 million. Fit: Slim through the hip and thigh with a super straight or slightly flared leg; a great option for narrow hips. Put on the jeans. 1964 – Lee opens its first overseas factory in Belgium. The Lee Riders collection featured the now-iconic Lee cowboy jeans as well as a new jacket: the 101J. The presence of a care tag can also help you date your jeans… Lee jeans usually come with several labels that show the size of the jeans, the material it is made out of, such as 100% Cotton, or other blends, and the country of manufacturing. Once again, it’s all about the butt here, with a super high waist, slim fit through the thigh, and just enough stretch. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. Note: Later versions often had some kind of pizzaz, like different colored stitching on the pockets, pink stripes, acid wash, or intense pleating. According to Karyn Hillman, chief product officer of Levi’s, "the fit of the 501 has evolved over the decades in keeping with style of the time — legs get narrower or wider and rises fluctuate slightly depending upon the year.". Its headquarters is currently in … See our ethics policy here. Staples is president during Lee’s acquisition by VF Corp., makers of Vanity Fair intimate apparel. Note: These are great for an hourglass shape, or anyone looking for statement denim — acid wash is common, as are unexpected embellishments at the ankle like zippers, buttons, snaps, and/or denim bows. Corporate suitors begin ogling as the clothing company bursts at the seams. The Tab with LEVI’S (also known as “Big E”) means the jeans are from before 1971. STEPS. denim and had a rust-proof button fly. Costs are further clipped by the use of computer technology. Here’s what to look for, what to expect when you pull them on, and most importantly, where to find them. In modern Levi’s, the style number is often included on the care tag inside the jeans. Size up at least two sizes if you are going by the number on the waist band. This brand was Wrangler. Lee is ministering to the whims of a fickle public, and should not be blamed for this trend. To help you make sense of it all, we pulled together a guide to the brands and styles most commonly found at vintage and thrift stores. 1982 – Robert Gregory runs Lee for a year, then is named president of VF Corp. 1983 – Lee’s softer, stronger Ultra Cord is introduced as “the Ultimate in Corduroy.” Other innovations include Dress Blues, which feature superior color retention; stretch jeans; and Denim Cable-stripes. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Kindred Black, Denim Refinery, your local thrift store, curated vintage shops. 1981 – Automated marking and cutting equipment decrease waste and increase savings. 1986 – Lee’s answer to a more casual lifestyle appears in a line featuring a frosted finish and relaxed fit. Mark a straight line across the leg. 1943 – Recognizing the company’s increasing apparel production, “Mercantile” is cut from the company’s moniker, creating The H.D. Contrary to what you might … 1954 – Lee demonstrates its concern for the welfare of its workers with a pension plan, believed to be the first company-funded program covering all employees. Whether outfitting cowboys in the twilight of the Wild West, supplying an American military entrenched in war, or producing the fashion and durability contemporary culture demands, the H.D. FIND THE CODE Now look for either a 5-digit STYLE code … Rise: High rise (at or just below the belly button). Find a Good Knockoff Levi’s is the most significant denim company in the world; Lee's comes after that. We also occasionally accept products for research and reviewing purposes. 1954 – Lee enters the fast-growing leisure sportswear market with Leesures. Note: 501s come in all sorts of washes; look for cool touches like paint splatters, rips, or whisker fades. 1913 – Lee’s tradition of product innovation swirls out of the dust enveloping Lee’s horse less carriage. Lee … Baggy, loose, low cut, boot cut, slim, skinny, super skinny. 1971 – Former executive vice president D.F. 1959 – Dressy white jeans and jackets arrive in the form of the Lee Westerner. Lee Flour Mills Co., Lee Hardware Co. and Kansas Ice and Storage. It also improves the appearance of Lee’s chauffeur, who had tired of maintaining his clothes as he maintained the car. These are the most accommodating Levi’s for curves thanks to that button fly, which gives more room through the hips and butt. Lee Co. has led the way in innovation and style. 3 Jackets and 1 pair of jeans. 1974 – A 1974 Gentlemen’s Quarterly contains an ad for Lee’s double-knit leisure suit, made of Dupont’s 100 percent Dacron¨ polyester. 1950s – The Lee clothing concerns expand as the food division is sold. "I still look at the Brooke Shields ads from the early ’80s as my style inspiration every fall," says Francis. FIND THE LABEL Take a look at the label inside your item.It’s usually around the waistband of your bottoms or along the side seam of your tops. Here, categorized by decades and featuring elements of business, leadership and style, is a history of the H.D. Reynolds, a former Lee sales manager and founder of the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Western Heritage Center, helps Lee lasso the western market as Lee Co. chairman. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. 1930s – Continued growth is a precursor to the cursing heard throughout the Great Depression. 1862 – Lee settles in Galion, Ohio, saves $1,200 in three years as a hotel clerk, and parlays livery and real estate investments into the purchase of Central Oil Co. of Galion. Lee leads the H.D. The Lee Co. once again prevails, opening a new plant in 1936 and later celebrating its 50th anniversary. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Urban Outfitters, your local thrift shop; buy them new at Army/Navy stores. The H.D. Where to Buy: eBay, Etsy, Tictail, Denim Refinery, Urban Outfitters, your local thrift store, curated vintage shops. 2. According to Sung, "they give my hips a tighter hug, making my boyish shape a little more curvy." Department. By 1965, teens would spend $3.5 billion on apparel. The Union-All idea belongs either to Lee or his chauffeur, depending on whom you ask. Note: If you go for a pair that’s your actual waist size, you can crop these above the ankle for Jesse Kamm or Rachel Comey vibes. Some of the most frequently asked questions we get are related to determining the authenticity of vintage jeans, especially vintage Levi’s 501 jeans. 1986 – The tandem of Richard Lamm, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Executive Vice President Jim Huntington , team to lead Lee into its centennial as a company with 17 sewing plants, five laundries, nearly 10,000 employees and a daily production capacity of 200,000 jeans. 1926 – Three words: Jeans with zippers. A bunch of different brands have made the style, including Oshkosh (yes, for grown-ups) and Gap, but Carhartt is definitely the easiest the brand to find in thrift stores. In part, vintage jeans have never been so popular because there have never been so many options. The history of the H.D. The Hair-on-Hide Lee patch is first attached to pants’ backs along the belt line. The gold standard of vintage Levi’s, 501s look great on every body type. 1974 – William McKenna leads Lee into the ’80s. Lee is an American brand of denim jeans, first produced in 1889 in Salina, Kansas.The company is owned by Kontoor Brands, a spin-off of VF Corporation's Jeans wear Division. 1960s – The tempo of fashion changes faster than the beat of a Motown retrospective; Lee not only keeps pace, but also leads the way as teens begin digging denim. They’ve got a similar fit, but the zip fly holds everything in if you want to go more fitted, and the thigh is slightly slimmer. A nice alternative to Wranglers, Lee jeans have a similar fit without feeling so Western. 1912 – Losing his shirt and pant sales due to unreliable workwear suppliers from the East, Lee opens his first apparel plant in Salina to produce overalls, jackets and dungarees. Meanwhile, Levi’s and Calvin Klein are made to accommodate curves, and don’t forget that many of the coolest pairs will come from the men’s section. 1909 – A newspaper describes Lee as “head of the largest mercantile business in Kansas City and the biggest citizen of Salina, whose name is in every mouth and whose goods are on every shelf.” Lee evidently wears the pants in the Salina business community; he soon will be making them, too. Rise: High-waisted (at the belly button) or low-slung (at or below the hips), depending on how much you do or don’t size up. Call it a trend, call it a responsible environmental choice, but vintage denim is a "thing" any way you cut it. 1986 – Lee enters its centennial with 17 sewing plants, five laundries, nearly 10,000 employees and a daily production capacity of 200,000 jeans. Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. Thanks to decades of good advertising, Calvin Klein jeans are burned in our collective mind as the sexy denim ideal. Rise: Super high (at or above the belly button). Fit: Usually a cinched waist with a loose, relaxed fit through the thigh and a tapered ankle. 3. The super high waist nips everything in, while a little extra room (and sometimes stretch) through the thigh and its tapered leg make these jeans curve-friendly. 1989 – The jeans manufacturer spends about $2 million annually for rocks from the United States, Turkey, Greece and Mexico used in treating fabric. Rise: Mid to high rise (just below the belly button). 1969 – Lee’s shareholders agree to an acquisition by Wyomissing, Penn.-based VF Corp., producer of Vanity Fair intimate apparel. 1917 – Brigadier General Leonard Wood orders doughboys to be outfitted in Union-Alls, the fatigue the U.S. military couldn’t wear out during World War I. 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