In the early 1950s, Levi's was looking to "go east, young man" – basically, the San Francisco-based clothier wanted to expand its customer base beyond the rugged Westerners who'd been their core audience since 1873. So it streamlined the fit of its workhorse jeans, the 501s, and replaced the button-fly with a more user-friendly zipper. By our estimation, Levi's was way ahead of its time.
We've been wearing these 1954 reissues for a while now, and the vintage fit is refreshing: The legs are slim and tapered, without the annoying constricted movement associated with current-day, high-end cuts. In fact, they fit so well that we've been gobbling up pairs instead of taking off-the-rack 501s to our tailors. Plus, they're woven from the exclusive white oak collection at Cone Denim, the infamous mill in Greensboro, North Carolina that's been in business since 1891. And in case you're not a denim nerd who knows exactly what this means, three things: 1) the denim is so soft it actually feels supple in your hand, 2) the rich blue coloring will be have buddies at the bar asking where they can score a pair, and 3) these age gracefully – no frayed knees here – so you'll be wearing them three years from now, and they'll look better than new. [$270; mrporter.com]