Back in the murky mists of time when I was about 13 or 14, my principle aim in life was to own a pair of Levis. There was a shop that sold Levi jeans, Sta-Prest, Ben Sherman shirts, two tone trevira suits and all that sort of stuff just up the road from where I did my Saturday job. I worked in a sort of early Superdrug type shop which was somehow able to employ schoolkids and pay them £1 a day. I did graduate to their ‘posher’ perfume and cosmetic shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea a couple of years later where I toiled under the management of an Austrian beauty and a Jackie Collins lookalike who tried to teach me about clothes and good cosmetics and, despite the fact that I still only earned a pittance for the day, staff discount meant I could dabble in the upmarket perfumes and skincare products other 15 year olds could only dream of. Anyway, I digress and wallow in a pit of nostalgia and lost youth and the whole point of this story is to tell you that I found, whilst searching for vintage French décor in a flea market, a pair of Levi 501s for the princely sum of 2 euros (around £1.50 or $2.25).
I have fond memories of sitting in a hot bath wearing my new Levis in order to shrink them to my size. I don’t really know why this was necessary because, by the time I bought my first pair, Levi Strauss had already introduced pre-shrunk jeans quite a few years before. Maybe they just hadn’t arrived in Streatham High Street. The ones I found in the flea market aren’t vintage or anything but practically unworn and a really good bargain so they came home with me and did good service on the way by being protectively wrapped around this statue I found.
I was so in love with my original pair of Levis that I kept the big printed label that came attached to them as a souvenir for ages. I should have kept the jeans too, they might be worth something now but, like many pairs at the time, I think they eventually ended up being cut down to shorts.
Have you got any fond memories of treasured items of clothing from when you were younger? Have you hung on to things – other than your wedding dress or your children’s baby clothes – which have sentimental value for you?