Saturday, 25 September 2010

Steve McQueen's Jeans (Part Two)

News and updates first:

1. I should've mentioned last post that the Sanders website has the playboy boot in dark brown where Oi Polloi has them in the more accurate "snuff" colour. Oi Polloi has almost sold out again but anyway, an advantage of the direct Sanders & Sanders route is they stock half sizes. What's more, dark colours wear well and it's better if at least some of your McQueen clothing choices aren't cock-on.

Persol 714 Steve McQueen limited edition

2. Persol has launched limited edition Steve McQueen 714 sunglasses. They feature the elaborate original version of the folding components and, just the sort of thing to put me off, his signature etched on the case and the inside of the arm. Giarre is an Italian website, by the way, that offers polarized Persol 714s at £155 (includes postage). One other large Ray-Ban Aviator I should've recommended last time I rattled on about them, while we're back on the subject of sunglasses, is the model with the light blue lenses (colour code 001/3F).

Dior Eau Sauvage

3. Steve McQueen's estate has OK'd the release of a Steve McQueen cologne. 100ml for €190/£165. French fashion house Christian Dior launched Eau Sauvage eau de toilette in 1966. I heard he wore that. You can get 50ml for £42 from House Of Fraser.

An aside: have you seen Steven R. McQueen? He's the man's grandson. (Steve's son Chad is the dad.) He's in a piranha movie and some vampire TV series. It's a strange thing to see. He has the look of the generic modern young American actor with a few of those original genes running through him.

OK, enough of genes and on with...

Two more things about vintage style jeans:

1. It's always the last place you look. I recommended a pair of dry 1950s Lee Japan 101 reproductions, if you can get them. Well, our local Lee website sells that ideal: 1952 101Z (it doesn't say 1952 but I checked with them). €200/£170 although I've seen the odd size cheaper elsewhere. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Steve McQueen never paid £215 for his Levi's 501s. It's obvious that the 1947 reproductions I mention in part one are grotesquely overpriced. The cost increase in less than a year has approached 100% thanks to those old capitalistic partners greed and demand. Bad news. Cotton prices and taxes are on the increase.

So now, at last, is the main part of the show ...

Steve McQueen wore Levi's and Lee but, of the two, Levi's makes the best modern mass-produced jean. Experience tells me that European mainstream Levi's are of a higher standard than US, although I'm yet to try the newer style US shrink-to-fit 501s.

Levi's in essence has three contemporary cuts with Steve McQueen style: 501, 511 and 514. Get them in the darkest blue and cleanest finish you can find and wear into them.

Levi's 501 ("Onewash" finish, code 0101)

Levi's 501 are, as the Americans like to say, regular fit. Buy Jeans is a cheap and cheerful website that sells these for £45.

Levi's 511 ("S. Diamond" finish, code 0455)

Levi's 511 are slim-fit with a tapered leg. The "S. Diamond" finish has a great feel (they're 2% elastane, and the "S" stands for "stretch"). You can get them from Buy Jeans for £55.

Levi's 514 ("Tumbled Rigid" finish, code 4010)

Levi's doesn't sell 514 in the UK. They're slim with a straight leg, a combination that gives almost a bootcut effect. Perhaps this is why they don't sell here. Except for a western, in this tiny regard they're different to what you'd usually expect from slim-fit Steve McQueen. (The compound slim-fit is hardly recent, by the way. I have a 1950s Levi's advert that sells, for $2.63, slim-fit jeans.) You can get this finish through eBay for about £35 including postage and packing.

Edwin ED-77

Many Japanese denim lovers choose Edwin over Levi's. ED-77 is a modern premium jean, low-rise and slim-fit. Oi Polloi sells them for £95.

Daniel Craig wearing 7 For All Mankind

It's time for Steve McQueen Style's Daniel Craig heritage section. He wears 7 For All Mankind, a relatively recent LA brand, in Quantum Of Solace. The finish is "Mercer". The exact type he wears is unavailable now, but the current "Slimmy" comes close and still suits our slim-fit purposes. They're $174/£115 plus the costs of international dealing.

Next time: Steve Wears The Trousers


  1. Glenn and Fleur Hore25 October 2010 at 00:45

    fantastic blog!!! i guess one would have to buy US made Levis as well to get it authentic, just like Steve.

  2. question...why do you recommend buying these jeans in the darkest wash available? any picture i see with steve in jeans, on screen or off, they appear to be a medium to light wash...just curious

  3. Hi. Hollywood might've given him pre-distressed denim, but otherwise McQueen's jeans are almost certain to have started out dark and worn more naturally.

  4. So the new SM Persol models are really annoying me. They tried to go back to what I'm guessing is the origal folding system for these glasses, but somehow totally fucked it up. Take a look at this demo...once page loads click on where it says "folding system" above picture of glasses, then click "folding demo" below:

    Everytime I try to fold these up it feels like the arm is about to break off. So funky for $350 sunglasses. Based off of this picture I found of the original I'm guessing the break away point was set further back, making it easier to fold.

    There are also a few other differences like the way the arrow at the temples look and the ridges that were on the arms of the originals are now gone and replaced with two metal trim pieces. They're fine on their own, I just think that if they're going to come out with a "Steve McQueen" model Persol should focus a little more on attention to detail, and less time stamping "Steve McQueen" onto every open space.

  5. in the daniel craig photo above, are those the Church rider III shoes he wore in other parts of the film?

  6. No. He wore a lighter coloured version of the Ryder III boot for Quantum Of Solace promotional duties, apparently, but it isn't those either.

  7. ok. I know he wore church riders throughout the rest of the film excpet dress shoes scenes. I still think those are the same boots but it is hard to tell from the front I suppose.

  8. Yeah, sorry. If I remember correctly, that's a promotional still rather than a shot from the film. I don't think they're the same boots, because the sole is a light colour rather than black, but God knows what they are.

  9. yeah i thought the same myself, ano it doesn't really matter, but its one of those things haha, plus I really want a pair of them, my dad got an exact copy (basically) from M&S a while ago...sadly too small for my feet!!

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