A Guide to Levi's 500s Series

Finding the perfect pair of jeans is difficult at the best of times let alone when you dive into the world of the Levi's The 500 series. To help eliminate your vintage denim shopping woes we want to provide you with some insider tips and tricks to find the most flattering, bum-enhancing pair!  Check out our ultimate guide to shopping vintage Levi's 500 series.

505 - Regular

A big player in the history of denim, these were the first jeans with a zip! Sitting at the waist, these straight fitting jeans are perfect for creating everyday outfits. Super comfortable with a little added room in the thigh, these jeans are for everyone! Paired with an oversized shirt and headscarf, these jeans are perfect for creating a 1940s ‘Rosie the Riveter’ look.  Paired with white socks, moccasins and a flannel shirt, they become a symbol of 1940s teenage defiance!

550 - Relaxed

550’s are for the more relaxed jean wearer. Sitting at the waist, not too tight in the thigh and with a stylish taper toward the ankle. Make them your own by customising them 'til your heart's content!

517 - Bootcut

517’s are all about enhancing fabulous shoes! Designed to fit over boots, these are the perfect jeans to show your shoes in all their glory. They are cut slightly lower in the waist, perfect for floaty bohemian shirts, a suede jacket and those amazing shoes! A great base for the ultimate 70s look!

501 - The Icon

Possibly the most iconic jeans in the world, the 501 goes with literally anything. Dress them up or down, they will always be a winner! Slightly high-waisted, with a straight leg, defying every convention, whilst fitting flatteringly into every area, we at Beyond Retro, cannot sing their praises enough! May we suggest pairing them with docs and white socks?


Sizing can be difficult, especially with vintage jeans! When shopping, remember that the size you think you are is probably not the size you will end up with. This can happen for a few reasons most notably because our jeans are pre-owned! Denim stretches and molds over time to the body they spend the most time with.  

Most styles defy gender! But jeans are cut differently for men and women merely because we are anatomically different! So a 30 in men’s will fit differently to a 30 in women’s. Bear this in mind when shopping for vintage - a lot of men's and women's will be mixed in. A lot of women find that if they are trying on a ‘mans’ jeans, they will need to go up a size to allow more room for their hips.   


  • Most styles defy gender!
  • Black denim will always be tighter than blue.
  • Men and women's sizes differ - women tend to go up a size, if not two when trying on men's jeans.
  • Buying a pair of vintage jeans instead of new saves 36 bathtubs of water!
  • Try, try try! The jeans that you like the least, may be the ones that fit the best!