If there is one thing the two of us over here are thankful for is the invention of jeans.
Really, what other type of pant is as versatile to style, suitable for a number of different footwear and tops, and in so many options, designs and styles?
You can find several selections, comparisons and brands that focus on denim pants here on our site and we recommend that you take a look if you need some guidance in choosing the best type of jeans for you.
Following our latest comparison with another piece on similar products, today, as per the title, we will look at Levi’s 501 vs. 514 designs and compare them to each other to see their differences and similarities.
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Comparing products within the same brand is a good way of understanding differences in style, cut and fit between them and it also helps you get a better idea as to which option would be best suited to your preferences and body shape.
We chose the 501 and 514 jeans for today’s comparison as they are quite similar in some regards, while very different in other features.
Let’s take a look!
- 1. Levi’s: The Brand
- 2. Levi’s 501 Jeans – A Historical Design
- 3. Levi’s 514 Jeans
- 4. Levi’s 501 vs. 514 – A Comparison
1. Levi’s: The Brand
Levi’s is a brand that makes a variety of products, but it is most renowned for the denim clothing, especially the jeans.
Popular across the world and with all age ranges, Levi’s is a brand with a rich history that dates all the way back to 1853, when Levi Strauss founded the Levi Strauss & Co. company in San Francisco, California.
At the time, quality and durable pants were in high demand as the options available to workers would easily tear and there weren’t many ways to fix them or extend their longevity.
For this reason, Levi Strauss, along with Jacob Davis, came together and started using rivets to reinforce the denim pants.
This new technique made the jeans manufactured by Levi’s last for a much longer time, which is what set the brand apart from competitors.
However, the real rise in popularity came after the ’50s when jeans became part of the wardrobes of many people, not solely limited to workers anymore. It was the hippies that really kicked off the popularity of denim clothing and it was due to their influence that the many styles available today were created.
Even now, more than 160 years later, Levi’s continues to be one of the top denim brands, which goes to show that their designs were as good as Levi Strauss intended for them to be.
2. Levi’s 501 Jeans – A Historical Design
The 501 jeans were originally made in 1873 for the workers at the time, who were looking for durable pants that could withstand factory work and harsh working conditions.
This is a historical design in the history of the brand, as well as in the history of jeans because it was the first pair of jeans that used rivets for reinforcement.
Originally, the Levi’s 501 jeans were made for men and then later adapted for women, too. Because of that, the original design was a straight leg cut that ended at the ankles.
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However, as times and styles changed, the 501 design evolved as well. Nowadays there are a multitude of options and styles to choose from.
Most of the designs maintain the fit and come with the classic button fly, as opposed to the zipper fly on the other modern Levi’s jeans.
The button fly was the only way to do and undo jeans at the time the 501 design was created. The zipper fly came much later and it is the type of jeans closure that is most commonly used.
The women’s designs feature both low, mid and high rise waists, a number of different fits – from straight to skinny – and also a variety of finishes, lengths and colors.
3. Levi’s 514 Jeans
While the good thing about the 501 design is that, aside from the comfort and durability, it comes in so many options that you will have a hard time picking your favorites without breaking the bank, that is not the case for the 514 jeans.
No, we don’t mean that these jeans are not stylish enough for you to want to splurge on them, it is just that the options are very limited.
If you are wondering why that is, the reason is a bit disappointing. They are men’s jeans, as a matter of fact. Women can wear them, too, and in fact there are some options that suit women’s bodies really well, these jeans are technically the “boyfriend” jeans of their style.
Straight legged and in a very relaxed fit, these will fit long and loose, with a low rise. Exactly like the jeans men typically wear.
With a zipper fly and made of 99% Cotton and 1% Elastane, these jeans are super comfortable. However, the low rise might not be the best for those of you who prefer a higher waist.
For those of you who love loose fitting jeans that are a tad longer than they should be, the 514 design would be a great choice.
Being so casual in style, they are versatile when it comes to matching them with heels, boots, sneakers and other types of shoes, as well as with a number of different tops, from the most casual ones to classy and elegant blouses.
These jeans will go great with everything, if you ask us.
4. Levi’s 501 vs. 514 – A Comparison
We are at this article’s main part, the comparison between these two jeans designs by Levi’s. Let’s take a look at their features and see how they compare.
4.1 Fit and Cut
The fit is a noticeable difference between these two.
The 501 design for women is shrink-to-fit, meaning that at the hips it will fit more snuggly.
On the other hand, the 514 is a relaxed fit and, as such, it will fit loosely on the thighs and be a loose fit all the way down to the ankles. This design is also much longer than the 501, which tends to end at or above the ankles, depending on the style.
In regards to materials used, these jeans are similarly made as the fabric blend used in both is 99% Cotton and 1% Elastane.
The elastane gives these pants stretch and helps them wear more comfortably, as well as fit better. This is especially important for the 501, which fit slimmer than the 514.
Both of these jeans styles are made using the Water<Less™ technology.
This technology saves water in the last finishing steps of manufacture. In fact, it can reduce the amount of water required up to 96%, which is a considerable amount.
The difference in the fly used for each of these designs also bears mentioning.
The 501, as we mentioned previously, have a button fly, which is present in all of the 501 designs, regardless of their styles.
On the other hand, the 514 jeans use a zipper fly.
In regards to how the fly affects the way that the jeans will wear and fit, there is no difference. It is a matter of practicality, as the zipper fly is faster to undo.
4.4 Style Options and Colors
A considerable difference between the two, is the number of options available.
The 514 design is very limited in style. There are boot cut and flared options available, but that is about it.
The 501 is a different matter. There are many different styles to choose from, including high and low waist, skinny fit, cropped, etc.
They both feature the five-pocket styling, with the signature “V” stitching on the back pockets.
As for the color options, both of these jeans come in the classic Indigo color and are also available in other darker and lighter colors.
Out of the two, the 514 has minimal highlighting on the legs, whereas the 501 has highlights not just on the thighs, but on the front creases as well.