Are there different types of denim within the same brand/style?

I bought a pair of Levi’s about 2 years ago. They aged perfect except now they are getting holes in them. I bought another pair a few months back and although they are the same size and same style number they aren’t the same. The denim is…stretchy…would be the best way to describe. I thought maybe I got a crappy pair, denim can vary…so I bought another of the same style as the ones I loved and after a wash they feel thin and stretchy too and the color they are fading to looks like crap.

Does Levi’s have different qualities of denim or something? Even within 501, 514 or whatever?

They shouldn’t. The whole purpose of mass production is standardization. There shouldn’t be any variation at all in items of the same style number.

Is it possible you bought the last two pairs from a sketchy outlet? They might be counterfeit.

Check to see where they were produced. Jeans made in Mexico are usually better IMO, ones from Thailand aren’t too bad, and one, from Indonesia, suck.

And yes, jeans can have variations in fabric, different lots, different manufacturers, etc.

It’s also possible that Levi’s has just changed the definition of what a ‘501’ (or whatever line) is, since you last bought some.

The nternet auction sites are full of Levi Jeans with wrong size labels. A 34 that is a 32 or vice versa is the most common mistake.

I’ve been wearing Levis (501s or 505s) for something like 40 years now. I’ve noticed that their sizing is, and always has been, approximate at best. If I just grab a pair at the store that’s labeled as having a 34" waist, those pants might be way too big. Less often, too small. I’ve learned to try them on before buying, which sucks, 'cause I’d really rather shop online than go to a store.

Try LL Bean jeans, I’ve been buying the same style/size for years and they run pretty consistent.

I’ve been having that same problem with Tripp jeans, which I have always loved and bought exclusively for years. The last two pairs I bought have been just shearing bigtime from the least amount of pressure – i.e., I go to put the jeans on after a shower and my fingers go right through the fabric at the knee.

These are stretch jeans, though, and I believe they’re using something different (cheaper) in place of spandex to make the jeans stretchy.

Many sheets of fabric are stacked on top of each other and cut at the same time. This means the bottom layer of fabric is more compressed than the top layer and will result in a smaller size. Good clothes makers will cut only a few pieces of fabric at once so this size difference is not too pronounced but this is expensive. Cheaper clothes makers will cut many more sheets of fabric at once and live with the inconsistency.

This means that sizing consistency is all but impossible for large manufacturers, every jean coming off the line is going to be a slightly different size and fit. If you want affordable jeans, you pretty much have to live with trying each one on individually to find a good fit.

Another factor in uneven fit is the nature of denim. It’s a heavy, stiff fabric that’s hard to wrestle into alignment, especially at a fast rate of work. The fact that jeans are made with the tricky multi-layered flat-felled seams makes it even harder to sew.

The result is that even the same operator may not be able to make a stack of identical 34-waist jeans.

Levi’s does make stretch jeans in the familiar patterns. Did the label mention any polyester?

If a pair of jeans is “stone-washed” or “acid washed,” you have paid extra to get them halfway worn-out before you ever wore them.

Several years back Levi came out with a cheaper line of denim jeans, the “Signature” ones. Much cheaper feeling fabric. Never had a pair so not sure how they wear out.

Are you sure they are both 50X model numbers? The Signature ones didn’t use those sequences, IIRC.