4 Chic Reissued Jean Classics for Denim Nerds to Totally Geek Out Over

by Charles Manning

Denim isn’t just a fabric, it’s an obsession. And while innovations in wash, cut, and tech are great, there’s something special about the old school pieces that made denim such an iconic part of American culture in the mid 20th century. Lee, one of the OG American denim brands, founded in 1889, has reissued four of their most iconic women’s styles from their post-WWII heyday. Check ’em out!

1. Side-Zip All-Purpose Blue Jean, $250
First issued in July of 1950, these jeans feature Lee’s exclusive, lightweight Jelt denim — a stronger, tighter weave of denim. Back in the day, these jeans represented a style folks could wear to work, day in and day out, without having to worry about whether their clothes were going to quit on them. Today, with it’s 27 inch cropped inseam and wide-leg opening, the All-Purpose Blue Jean still possesses many of the same features that made the first issue so great. They’re made of 8 oz. sanforized denim (which means they won’t shrink in the wash) and is outfitted with back-pocket bar tacks and flat-felled seams. And the side-open zipper keeps the front flat and figure-flattering. (Also available in rigid denim for $175.)

2. Lee Rider 101J Jacket, $300
The history of Lee’s icnonc denim jacket stretches all the way to 1925, when the first 101J Rider jackets first appeared in the brand’s product catalogs. Although originally designed as workwear for cowboys, they soon achieved mass popularity among American men. When women started borrowing them from the men in their lives, Lee saw an opportunity and soon released the Ladies Lee Rider jacket, which was most famously worn by Marilyn Monroe on the set of 1961’s “The Misfits.” The jacket is a classic, so you’re not likely to notice many, if any of the slight differences between the original and the reissue. It’s the same slimmed down, form-fitting cowboy jacket with slanted chest pockets and short-cut waistband. It is made with lightweight left-hand twill cone denim and features the brand’s instantly recognizable zig-zag topstitching. (Also available in rigid denim for $300.)

3. Ladies Lee Riders Jean, $250
Lady Lee Riders were first introduced in February, 1947. Those original jeans were nearly identical to men’s Lee Riders with a few exceptions like a small dart in the yoke to create a more fitted waist and allow for more fullness through the hips and seat. Using lightweight selvage denim from Cone Denim Mills, Lee painstakingly replicated the first edition Lee Riders made for women, featuring a button-front fly, brass shank button, bar tacks on the back pockets, Lee-stamped copper rivets, and Lee’s signature “Lazy S” compound curve stitching on the back pockets. (Also available in rigid denim for $175.)

4. Side-Zip Lee Frontier Lady Jean, $250
First introduced in June 1952, the Frontier Lady Jean featured a side zipper closure, tapered legs, and two small flap pockets terminating at the hip. Forgoing the five-pocket construction of Lady Lee Riders for a flat front, the Frontier Lady No. 320 was tailored, tapered, and trimmed to assure comfort and aesthetic appeal. The reissue features the same arrow-shaped “Fancy Dart” belt loops and pearl snaps that made the originals so special. Made of lightweight Jelt Cone denim, this reissue is a faithful rendition that pays homage to the past while still looking thoroughly at home in the present. (Also available in rigid denim for $175.)

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