Lee Cowboy Jeans From The 1940’s

This vintage pair of Lee Jeans is one of the many treasures from my personal denim archive. It’s an original Lee Cowboy jeans from the mid 1940’s. The first Lee Cowboy jeans were introduced in 1924. With the introduction of this jeans, they focussed specifically on cowboys and rodeo riders. Therefore it is designed with the so called U-shape saddle crotch and button fly. Designed with the specific needs of cowboys and rodeo riders in mind. This as the Western lifestyle became the biggest promoter for jeanswear back then.

Lee Cowboy donut button

The First Lee Cowboy Pants

The first Lee Cowboy jeans were made from 11.5oz denim, also known als 101 jeans. In 1924, the brand introduced also their X bar tacking, this as replacement of the backpocket rivets. In 1946, they introduced the Lazy S back pocket stitching. The stitches on both pockets resemble the shape of the famous Long Horns. This was also the period when they changed their legendary Hair on Hide label (introduced in 1936) into the Twitch patch. This pair feature also the crotch rivet. The crotch rivet disappeared later as a lot of cowboys were complaining that the crotch rivet became too hot when they sit around the campfire. It was not very pleasant for their cross.

Union Made looking up ‘ee’ label

Crotch rivet

Right hand fabric repairs (layers)

Authentic repair

Left hand fabric meets right hand fabric

Washed-out selvage

My Original Lee Cowboy Jeans

My pair of Lee Cowboy jeans features all the specific details described here above. This pair was worn for a very long time as the fabric is totally worn-out. The previous owner repaired the jeans on the front with other fabrics. It’s interesting as the original jeans is made of left hand fabric, while the repairs are right hand fabrics. The jeans has a Lee Cowboy donut button and an Union Made looking up ‘ee’ label. The crotch rivet is covered with repair fabrics. The selvage used on this jeans is plain.

On the back of the jeans you see some authentic school repairs between the two backpockets. The Lazy S stitching on the backpockets are almost gone, but the X bartack pocket reinforcements are still there. The jeans shows some light honeycombs. The Twitch patch is still on the jeans. This pair of Lee Cowboy jeans was found in an old abandoned house years ago in Colorado, U.S.A. It’s a great historical denim item that represent the American denim culture.

Vintage repairs

Worn-out backpockets

 Lazy S stitching

X pocket reinforcement

Light honeycombs signs

Leather twitch patch


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.