We understand that each wardrobe is as different as the person wearing it, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things that find a place in every closet. Regardless of how you view your personal style, the guidance outlined in this series should help set the bedrock for every closet. With classic design and ageless appeal, garments featured in "The Foundation" are easy to assimilate style staples that are sure to be worn on a regular basis. Advice found in this column should become tenets to dress by—no matter where you are in your style journey.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger name in blue jeans than Levi’s. Founded in 1853 as a dry goods business, the brand’s now signature riveted denim jeans find their start in 1873, identified from earlier editions of denim thanks to the addition of metal rivets on the pockets and other points of strain. While 501s were originally denoted by “XX” (to denoted the jeans’ extra strong durability), it earned its now-iconic numerical name in 1890—a sign of the lot the product was produced in.

While the 501 has stretched far beyond its workwear roots, it’s that democratic design that has allowed it to transcend classes and cultures to become a mainstay in closets around the world. While Levi’s has since iterated on the 501, both reworking the 501 silhouette and expanding into completely different numbered editions of its signature blue jeans. This includes trimmer leg shapes (like the 501 Taper) or faithful reproductions (like those recreated under the Levi’s Vintage Clothing label) However, while certain cuts fade in and out of popularity and relevance, it’s the 501 silhouette—from its straight-through-the-leg shape to button fly closure—that remains a symbol of American style, and is often reproduced and reinterpreted by denim brands across the fashion spectrum.

From Acne Studios to A.P.C., Supreme to Visvim and nearly everything in between, the 501 is still a standard-bearer in the world of denim—whether it bears the Levi’s red tab or not. With fans spanning nearly 150 years of use, it’s hard to imagine a better blank canvas upon which to build the base of your wardrobe.

Want to learn more about Levi’s? Study up here.

Interested in some different denim? Shop Grailed’s trending jeans here.

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