If you’ve spent any time looking at denim jackets, you’ve probably noticed they’re often categorized: Type I, II, or III. This isn’t any quality grading or mean that one is superior to the other, but merely how denim enthusiasts refer to the order of the styles as big papa Levi’s produced them. (Hint: Type I came first).
If you’ve wondered what those types mean and which one might be for you, read on as we delve into Levi’s original three jackets and the many, many more they’ve inspired.
Levi’s Type I Jacket
We’ll start with the Levi’s Type I jacket. This jacket first appeared in the early 1905 and identifiable by its 506XX lot number. Early models had no front pocket flap and prior to the 1936 version, there was no infamous Big “E” red tab anywhere on the jacket.
Type I jackets also contain a pronged cinch-back or “clincher” located lower center of the jacket. These so called “clinchers” used a sliver buckle dating from the early 1900s-late 1930s, Levi’s started using bronze buckles to cut back on costs during wartime rationing in the 1940s.
Modern Type I Reproductions
Levi’s no longer produces the Type I for their mainline and stopped production of their repro a few seasons ago, but that hasn’t stopped a plethora of Japanese makers from creating their own homages. Below you’ll find just a few of the many Type I style jackets on the market today.
Levi’s Type II Jacket
In 1953, Levi’s produced a second interpretation of the Type I jacket, the 507XX and yes – you guessed it right, it was called, “Type II”. The main changes made to this jacket from its predecessor are the two patch pockets with button flap closure and bar tack stitching for reinforcement. In addition, the cinch back was replaced by convenient waist adjusters on the hips.
Modern Type II Reproductions
Levi’s stopped production on the Type II in the 1960s and stopped production on their own licensed reproduction just a few seasons ago. But like the Type I, numerous Japanese reproduction houses still make the iconic style to the stitch, including:
Levi’s Type III Jacket
Last but not least, we have the “Type III” Jacket, which is probably the most recognizable jacket style. During the early 1960’s Levi’s introduced the 557XX, also known as the Trucker Jacket. This jacket was a complete modification from the previous jackets, coming in as the first jacket to feature the now famous pointed pocket flaps and a slim fitting cut.
The 557 series evolved to the 70505, 71205 and 70518 based on its design. Some of the design change are as follows: The Big ‘E’ Type III range from the 50’s – 71 and Small ‘e’ Tab range from 72 – present. An alternative way to determine the difference in the period is by checking if there are two lower hand pockets. If yes: mid 80s – present; if no: 50s-Mid 80s.
Modern Type III Reproductions
Levi’s still produces the Type III, now listing it simply as a Trucker Jacket. There are also a plethora of Japanese brands reproducing various years and iterations of Levi’s design. Check out offerings from:
If you’d like a deeper dive on all the above, have a look at our in-depth vintage guide that can show you the year by year updates to all Levi’s denim jackets.