Small Design Nicety
By Tim Caynes on Jan 01, 2008
I only wonder how uncontrollably out of shape I am when I'm looking for a new pair of Levis. In the UK they have a few ranges that I like and then they discontinue them without warning. When I'm out in the US, I look for cheaper versions of the same ranges only to find that they don't do that range, but they do a 5xx boot cut which may be like that, but I really don't know, sir, I've never heard of a 5xx. I usually come away with 17 pairs of 501s and a spare new suitcase, but they don't quite fit right. The 501s, not the suitcases. Actually, the suitcases aren't too bad a fit right now.
When I find myself drawn to the Levi store in the mall, when I really should be buying a battery for a dead submarine or something, the only thing that really foxes me (apart from how old I seem in there), is trying to remember what size I'm looking for. I mean, I know it's 2 sizes bigger than it really should be, but I don't know quite what state my protruding guts and stubby bow legs are in, and so when someone half my age asks me what size I'm looking for, I can't say. Most embarrassingly (for them), I end up asking them to look at the label on the pair I'm wearing to see what size I need, as I can't actually rotate my head around far enough to read the feet and inches, upside down at the bottom of the label.
It seems that Levis have been following enough old forgetful fat people with wonky heads around to realize that this is a problem. When I was looking around at my own backside to see what I'd sat in on the picnic bench at the Marsh Larder at Holkham the other day, I happened to notice that at the top right of the label on my Levis (518s) are the W and L measurements that I so often am looking for. Nothing unusual there maybe, but they are now printed upside down. Which means that I can now look over my shoulder and read the label to see exactly what my waist size and leg measurements are (and then cry a little bit, obviously). This is genius. It's like when, as a child, you first realize that they've printed ECNELUBMA like that on purpose, so you can see it in your rear-view mirror. Even my hairdresser does it on their gowns now, so that when you're looking at your woeful lack of hair in the mirror, you can also see 'Croppers. Since 1974' in there as well, because it's printed backwards on the unreflected version.
Its only a small design update, and they might have done it ages ago, but I only just noticed it, and it made my day (sadly). I'll buy another pair of Levis as a result. After I've been to the gym a bit. Well, a lot.
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