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Levi's Shirt Dating/Legit Check?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Indigomaha, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. Indigomaha

    Indigomaha Registered Guest

    I purchased this Levi's denim button up off eBay a few days ago. I was hoping someone might be able to give me an idea of how old this is? The care tags are completely faded. Because of the small e and trademark I'm guessing 80's or 90's. Thanks!
    IMG_2349.JPG IMG_2351.JPG
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  2. wyogems

    wyogems VFG Member

  3. Attirelyvintage

    Attirelyvintage Registered Guest

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  4. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Hi everyone, I just joined today after finding this thread via an online search for info on vintage Levi's shirts. I happen to love these shirts, and have collected quite a few of them in a surprisingly large variety of colors. I've collected them in two styles: the type with metal/rivet buttons, and double chest pockets without flaps (manufactured in many different countries); as well as the "Barstow" style with western chest and pocket patterning, black/white marbled snap buttons and double chest pockets with flaps. These shirts with marbled snaps were also manufactured all over the world, but today tend to be found most often in Europe, were they were apparently marketed most heavily. I owned a couple of the metal buttoned variety back in the 90's, but it was only a few years ago (during the pandemic) that I began to "collect" them and really appreciate them for their comfort and style and great utility. I have also collected a couple of examples with Levi's advertising embroidered on the back of the shirt (as in my avatar).

    What many people don't seem to realize is that the large majority of these shirts had manufacturing dates (month and year; or "quarter" and year) printed on a white tag that was located toward the bottom of the inner side stitch on the left side of the shirt. In addition to product code numbers printed in black ink on these white tags, there would almost always be a date included, such as "1Q 93", or "3QTR 94" or "11 / 95". In some cases, I've found the ink on these inner tags to be washed away completely or very faint due to that particular shirt having been washed many times, but generally these tags are still readable.

    I've seen photos of tags dating from the late 1980's, but one has to consider that there were different shirt designs and different labels used over time. The earliest date in my collection (with the green-bordered Levi's label like the one in the opening post above) is from 1992. I have also seen youth shirts with the same label, but the borders are reddish rather than green. This green-bordered label was in use up to 1994. In 1995, Levi's changed the label design (the top and bottom green borders were removed), and this borderless label was also used in 1996. In 1997, the label design changed again to the "Red Tab Jeanswear" label. Somewhere between 1998 and the early 2000's, the labels were further simplified, and date tags were no longer included in the shirts.

    Levi's label '95:'96.png Levi's label '97.jpg
  5. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    More photos... (having trouble posting multiple images, will try to add more later)

    4 QTR 92 tag.png
  6. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Testing here... I'd like to add a few more photos...

    Still getting a repeated "security error" when I try to add photos (in the same way that I added photos successfully above). Anybody know why?
  7. MagsRags

    MagsRags VFG President Staff Member

    Interesting information about dates on Levi's tags. Not sure what might be going on with uploading more photos, Jim. Tagging our most tech savvy volunteer, Ruth @Retro Ruth - if anyone can figure it out, she'd be the person.
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  8. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Thank you, Maggie. I'm wondering whether I tried to upload too many photos in too short a time span...? But I'd like to share images of some of my favorite shirts, in part to help raise awareness that not all vintage Levi's denim shirts were some shade of blue! :)
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  9. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth VFG Member Staff Member

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  10. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Thanks so much, Ruth. That is very helpful. I probably should have considered file size, but I had no idea that some of the photos I was posting (and attempting to post) could vary so much in size. Also, the "security error" message sort of had me thinking there was something else at play. Anyway, I will see if I can get some images re-sized and posted.

    Hopefully this particular subject isn't too far out in left field for the folks here (and apologies if I don't have much to contribute to the forum in general... but I do love history, and design, so I appreciate the overall appeal of VFG). I tried pretty hard to find any online forum where these Levi's shirts were being discussed, and came up fairly empty. Posting here seemed like it might at least get a few views. More photos to come (hopefully)...
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  11. MagsRags

    MagsRags VFG President Staff Member

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  12. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Thanks Maggie- I will look into that too. As a consumer/collector, I've just been piecing information together based on what my shirts are revealing as a collection. So I still don't see myself as an authority or expert, but I would enjoy sharing what I can. Perhaps someone who worked for the company might discover this topic and fill in some of the finer details. :)
    Retro Ruth likes this.
  13. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    A bit of background...

    I've always been a big lover of color. Colors and their variations fascinate me. Having a touch of OCD around this can make things challenging at times, but always fun.

    One of my favorite colors has always been teal (darkish), which I always used to call "blue-green" when I was a kid. I was just entering my 40's when I got the first of these shirts (circa 1995), and it was teal. I loved it, and literally wore it out. At that time, I wasn't aware how many colors were being produced. My shirt was likely a gift I received, and for whatever reason I didn't seek out another. Somewhere around 2000, my wife gave me another, in black, which I still have (kept it in nice condition). Fast forward to 2020, the pandemic, increased online shopping activity, improved finances, and a sort of random re-discovery of these shirts. Nostalgia played in too (I really loved that teal shirt). Before long I found myself realizing just how many colors were produced (to be honest, I'm still counting)... and the number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30! The teal version, as it turns out, seems to have been one of the most widely-produced. It wasn't long before I bought one, and then things began to get a little crazy. :)

    More to come, but for now here's an image of (one of the shades of) teal.
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  14. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    As I mentioned earlier, I also fell in love with another style of Levi's shirt with western stitching and snaps with a marbled appearance. These also were produced in many colors, and the variances within the shirt style (based on country of manufacture) are greater than I've seen with the metal/rivet button shirts. The labels and materials (fabric type, color of the stitching, etc) are sometimes quite different.

    The first one of these that caught my eye in a big way was a striped example. I found it at an online worldwide marketplace site called 'Grailed' (some of you may be familiar). The seller was in Moldova. As soon as I saw the listing, I knew I had to own it. It dates to 1995, and has the standard non-bordered label as well as the square Levi's tag on the front above the bottom hem. I've since seen one example of the same striped fabric used on the metal button/no pocket flaps style shirt, but I've never seen another striped example of any kind with the marbled snaps. (this is the seller's photo):

    Levi's stripes:snaps.png

    I have since purchased a few shirts in the same "Barstow" cut/style, and with marbled snaps, but the fabric colors differ from any color used in the run of the metal button shirts without pocket flaps. Two of them were manufactured in Tunisia in 1993. They both have the green-bordered label, but the letter for the shirt size (one "L" and the other "M") are stitched in red thread on the large label itself rather than on an adjacent white size tag. The stitching on these two shirts is also different (a golden brown color).

    s-l1600.jpg s-l1600-3.jpg s-l1600-2.jpg green (Grailed).png

    And finally, my most recent purchase is this unusual example that I found in Malaysia. Manufactured in China. Great quality and attention to detail, and yet so different (color, label, etc).

    Rose (China).png

    Rose  (China).png
  15. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth VFG Member Staff Member

    It may be they are all similar size but hovering around the the 8mb mark, some just under, some just over, and so the ones just over won't post. We've had that happen before with someone else.

    If it's not the file size, tell me the exact wording of the error message and I can look into it. I can't remember what message you get when the file size is too big, but I do remember it didn't make clear what the issue was! It may well say it's a security error.

    Yes we are happy to discuss Levi's here
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  16. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Thanks Ruth. You were right- it had to do (at least primarily) with file sizes. As I mentioned, the file sizes for the images I was working with were all over the map (from 250 kb to 26 MB!), which came as a surprise to me. Anyway, although I've still run into a couple of problems with files that wouldn't upload properly, I was able to find workaround solutions on my Mac. As for the error messages I've gotten (and there have been a few different ones since, including the phrase "security error", and the more obvious "this file is too large"), I didn't save the exact wordings. Aside from the file size issue, I think there were a couple where I had to try different suffixes (jpg, png, etc) after I edited the sizes down. At any rate, I think I'll be able to troubleshoot now if necessary. Thanks again!
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  17. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Here's a collage I assembled, showing the colors I've seen thus far for the metal/rivet button shirts. I was amazed to discover the variety that were produced... a half a dozen variations within the purple range, a similar number of greens, three orange/rusts, a couple of yellows, and I've even seen three different brownish shades including an interesting sort of ochre color.

    Levi's shirt      colors.png

    There seem to have been two or three different teal variations, including one that's a bit brighter and bluer, and the one I illustrated earlier which is one of the most common colors produced. The third teal I've seen was one I purchased on Mercari a couple of years ago which was really dark and rich... maybe my ideal color. The seller's images looked good, and it was marked as a Large (the best size for me, although I have a few Mediums and XL's in my collection due to minor inconsistencies in production). When the shirt arrived, I opened the package, held it up, and immediately knew something was awry. When I inspected the shirt, I quickly noticed that someone had butchered it in an attempted alteration (the internal side seams were ragged, and ink guidelines had been drawn. Sigh... the seller had picked it up at a thrift shop, but either didn't notice or simply didn't divulge the butcher job. Oh well, at least I know that the color exists, and I've been on the lookout ever since.

    Levi's Dark             Teal.png
  18. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    One of my metal button shirts is a nice chocolate brown. When I first examined it, I noticed that on the inner side seam tag, rather than code numbers and the manufacturing date, it had the following stamped: "sample garment, shows the style and fabric only; may not meet 1st quality standard”. The shirt appears flawless, and my guess is that this brown was a new color at the time. I just realized yesterday that there's something else a bit unusual about it. It has the squared tag near the bottom front, which was used in 1995-1996. But the main Levi's collar label is unique. It's very similar to the standard label for '95/'96, but it has a green border on all four sides. I haven't seen many (if any?) others in this brown color, so mine may be somewhat of a rarity.
    Screen Shot 2023-05-19 at 5.34.12 PM.png
    Last edited: May 19, 2023
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  19. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Here are some examples of another fun tangent I've taken with my interest in these 90's Levi's shirts. I don't have any particular knowledge about these, so I'll just let the photos speak for themselves.

    Levi Strauss Original (green).jpg
    Levi Strauss "LS".jpg
    Guaranteed authentic.png
    LS Jeanswear.jpg
    American Trademark.png
    Red Tabs  '53.png
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  20. JimR56

    JimR56 Registered Guest

    Three more to add to the above post...

    Light green            (Tradera) .png

    A Tradition                 Since 1850.png

    Women's (M)     22" .jpg
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