How to Wear Levi’s 501 Jeans | Curated Mint

Levi’s are perhaps the most famous brand of jeans in the world. Created in 1873, they have been making some of the most durable and stylish trousers for over a century. Here’s how to wear one of their most popular styles, the 501 jeans.

Levi jeans aren’t exactly a new addition to menswear, and since the 1800s they’ve been making an impact on fashion, even if they didn’t intend to at first. Beginning as workwear for cowboys, miners, and any manual labourer who needed sturdy clothing, and originally being called XX, Levi 501 jeans managed to combine the strength of raw denim with rivet reinforcements, making jeans that could take a kicking while not being a struggle to move around in. The flexibility and strength made them hugely popular, and the workwear staple began to turn into a fashion piece that’s still a big part of menswear today.

Levis 501

So okay, we know how great Levi jeans are, and judging by the fact that the 501s have stayed popular throughout generations of production, we’re pretty aware that they’re good quality as well – which is great as you’re probably going to drop a good £90 for a pair. Don’t let the price scare you off though, as one pair of men’s Levi jeans will, with no exaggeration, last you your whole life – and we’re talking about a life where you eat well, exercise and live into your 80s.

Modern Levi 501s are just as well produced and carefully crafted as they were back in the day, and their comfortable yet sturdy fit is ideal for a range of looks, taking you from relaxed to smart casual with a simple change of tops. These are the jeans to go for when you want something classic, yet with an ability to blend into different styles. So let’s get started and show you a few suggestions on how to dress up these staple jeans.


Jeans are perfect at creating a casual look, and if you’re going to pick jeans that will work with a range of relaxed outfits, Levi’s are the ones to go for. Their range of colouring and fits means you can easily customise your style, adjusting the look to suit your taste and body shape.

A pair of skinnies is a good choice for a casual look, as the statement style adds a unique twist to an outfit. If you’re not a fan of the super tight look though, you can go for an equally casual, but more comfortable slim fit style, which can easily match with a variety of everyday pieces.

Levi’s 501 Blue

Light blue jeans are ideal for a casual look, with their colouring helping to give off a more relaxed, subdued vibe that instantly lightens up an outfit. You can effortlessly put together an easy summer outfit by using a few simple pieces, and even something as basic as a white T-shirt can elevate a pair of Levi jeans into a relaxed, staple look.

If that seems a little too basic, there’s easy ways to customise a simple look, from something as easy as cuffing your jeans, to spending a bit of extra cash on some accessories. A brown leather watch can work with the light tone of your summer look, and a statement pair of sunglasses can easily add a unique twist to a simplistic outfit.

With a few simple alterations you can easily change up the whole look of your outfit, turning it from a summer ready style to an autumn staple. Even a light pair of 501 jeans can be integrated into a more rugged, muted look, simply by changing the tone of the rest of the outfit.

Swap your white T-shirt for a black one and throw on something heavy weight and bold over the top. This could be anything from a shearling denim jacket to a leather bomber jacket, or anything that helps balance out the light tone of the jeans. You can still slip on some more light weight shoes with this look, such as a white pair of plimsolls or trainers, to help keep the outfit grounded in a casual style.

Levi’s 501 Black/Navy

Light blue jeans are great for a lot of looks, but they’re not always the easiest things to wear on an everyday basis. Grass stains, dirt, spilt coffee and that weird, unidentified stain on the train seat can all show up just that bit more clearly on a pair of blue jeans, and other than that, sometimes you might just not like the look of them. A pair of black or navy jeans can be just as casual, while flattering larger shapes and acting as a more neutral base for an outfit.

If you’re going for a navy or black pair of jeans you can afford to make the rest of the outfit a little more vibrant, as the jeans will help neutralise a more bold top half. Try adding some splashes of colour to your outfit, and complementing them with a bright white. A white T-shirt is an easy staple, and adding it to an outfit with white plimsolls helps give an understated, balanced finish. Complete the look with a camo jacket to add some colour, without going too bold or bright, and add some simple accessories like a cap to give your outfit a casual boost.

Smart Casual

Although jeans are generally worn in more casual looks, you can easily achieve a smart casual outfit as long as you pick the right things to pair it with. A well ironed, well fitted shirt can save the day countless times, especially if you’re trying to create a smart casual look, and if you pair it with a good pair of jeans you’re pretty much set to go. Accessories can really bring an outfit together, but as long as you focus on the right fit, complementary colours and a streamlined look, you don’t need to go overboard with the extra details.

Levis 501 Blue

Although generally you can create a more tailored, slim line look with a pair of black or navy jeans, you don’t have to necessarily choose dark colours to make up a smart outfit. Create a contrast by matching a pair of light blue jeans with a slim fit navy blue jumper. Try picking a delicate material like a cashmere mix to ensure it doesn’t look too casual, and for a formal boost, layer it over a clean white dress shirt. Do not let the shirt collars out over the jumper. Just trust us on this.

For the bottom half you can go as casual or formal as you like, mixing it up with some white plimsolls for a light, summery look, or trying some brown leather loafers for a more refined, yet still understated finish. If you’re going for something like loafers, where it’s important to show them off, give your 501 jeans a quick cuff to make sure they’re not drowning out your footwear.

You can go a little smarter with your outfit by subduing the colours, and making your Levi jeans the more stand out feature. Grey is great at toning down a light coloured outfit without making too much of a contrast, unlike black, which can be too heavy to match with colours like light blue. A white shirt paired with a grey or navy blazer can help streamline your outfit and give it a more formal finish.

You can change up your footwear depending on what kind of style you want to go for. A pair of black or navy trainers will obviously give a more casual finish to your outfit, but will still work with the overall colour scheme. You could also try a pair of beige desert boots to match with light colour of the jeans, while keeping you smart and comfortable.

Levi’s 501 Black/Navy

It’s a good idea if you’re dealing with cooler weather, and maybe having to wrestle with a downpour as well, is to grab yourself a neat, slim fit waxed jacket, and match it with a white oxford shirt. Keep the colours neutral, going for something like a navy or black jacket to keep the look balanced and sleek.

Pair these with some navy or black 501 jeans to ensure the outfit stays sleek and put together, and finish off with some black lace up brogues. The neat black and white colour scheme will keep things formal, but the waxed jacket will help balance out the style and add a casual finish to the outfit.

If you’re dealing with slightly warmer weather you can pair this outfit with a polished pair of brown loafers, making them tassel rather than penny to keep things less refined. If it’s too cold for loafers, try a pair of lace up brogues or dress shoes, keeping them black or dark brown to match with your navy or black Levi jeans.

How to Wear Levi’s 501 Jeans

  • For a casual look with light jeans you can keep things simple by pairing them with a white T-shirt, white plimsolls and accessorising with some statement sunglasses.
  • For a casual look with dark jeans add some colour to the rest of your outfit, working in prints like camo to help add some vibrancy to your look.
  • For a smart casual look with dark jeans go for a streamlined all black or all navy look to keep things understated and sleek.
  • You could also add in some brightness with a white dress shirt and light grey blazer, keeping the overall outfit tailored yet not too toned down.

On That Note

Levi 501 jeans benefit from being hardwearing, comfortable, and versatile. You can easily match them with a variety of looks, from simple, casual outfits, that highlight the textured raw denim of Levi jeans, to smart casual looks, where a simple grey blazer and white shirt can match perfectly with a laid back pair of jeans.

Whether you’re going for a light or dark pair of 501 jeans, there’s a seemingly endless array of combinations you can create with them. Go for bold looks with stand out contrasts, or subtle outfits with neutral colour ways. Whatever you decide on, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re wearing a quality pair of jeans that will last you through anything.

Feature image from Pinterest

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