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How To Recognize The Authentic Lee Jeans Details

Branding on a pair of jeans was (almost) always a key element since day one. These elements were responsible so people noticed immediately which brand someone was wearing. Some of these elements were developed as a practical element to make the worker pants more durable so it would last longer. And some of them were added just out of commercial aspect, better known as branding.

Last year Nick Williams devoted an entire book with the title Denim Branded to this subject. With his book, he’s breaking down each denim branding element piece by piece with rich photographic content and fascinating backstories about their existence and evolution. His denim branding bible contains examples sourced worldwide from brands and collectors archives. Highly recommend the book if you’re not familiar with it. Get a sneak of the book here.

But how can you recognize the authentic details from Lee jeans, the American denim brand? Which unique details are still today on their jeans, and jackets? The most key details are highlighted here below so you can recognize a genuine pair of Lee jeans or jacket next time.

Lee Buttons

The branded Buttons are made of heavy gauge metal. Rust-proof with two-prong tack fasteners securely fastened around the bar in the button so it can’t turn, they’re the strongest known button attachment.

Bull’s Eye Rivets

The branded Bull’s Eye rivets reinforce the fabric and help to avoid tearing from day to day use.

Hair On Hide Label

The iconic Hair on Hide label was created in 1936. Branded directly onto the cowhide, it practically screams cowboy. In previous article you can see more of these labels here.

Leather Patch

From 1946, the Lee leather Back Patch has the wavy Lee brand logo. This custom font was created to symbolize a steer’s twitch when branded with a hot iron and represents another nod to the brand’s cowboy roots. Learn more about the brand Lee Cowboy jeans here.

Lazy S

1944 saw the introduction of the ‘Lazy S’ decorative stitching on the back pockets. Unique to Lee, it is also known as the ‘longhorn-stitch’ due to the shape created when a rider is sat on the back of his or her cattle. More historical facts on a genuine 1940s pair here.

Cross Tacks

The ‘Cross Tacks’ on the back pockets are a clever replacement for traditional metal rivets, which can scratch or mar saddles, furniture or upholstery.

Zig Zag Stitching

The now iconic Zig Zag stitching on the classic Lee Rider Jacket is not just for decoration. It is precisely placed between the buttons for reinforcement and to avoid layers of denim shifting as you unbutton your jacket. Learn more the Rider jacket here and here.


Read also the previous Lee article: ‘7 Key Styles What Makes The Lee Brand Iconic’ here.

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.