Vintage Lee Jeans Rider M.U. Aggies Jacket from 1962

This original vintage Lee Jeans Rider jacket is new in my denim archive. This Rider jacket is from the 1960’s and captures a great story. Back in the days people used denim jackets a lot as a ‘canvas’ to express themselves. Or to promote their business, event, motorclub or whatever. This particular jacket was used for students at the University of Michigan, USA.

Vintage version of Lee Jeans M.U. Aggies jacket from the 1960’s.

The history of Michigan State University (MSU) dates back to 1855, when the Michigan Legislature established the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan in East Lansing, with 3 buildings, 5 faculty members and 63 male students. The college’s athletic teams were known as the ‘Aggies’. So the M.U. Aggies on the front of this vintage jacket referes to them.

At the agricultural university they organised a lot of special events. And for these special events they made special jackets for the students. These jackets are a sort of class jackets for the students. This jacket was made for the ‘Bonde Fest’ in April 28th of 1962. It was the 5th edition of this event as you can see at the top of the horseshoe. And the student name was Keith as you can see his name chainstitched on the left arm. Under his name you will see the year 1963, this is probably because he was graduated in this year. The horseshoe refers to the fact that it was an Agricultural College.

Details of the Lee Jeans Rider jacket

This vintage Rider jacket from Lee Jeans dates back to the ’60’s. You can recognize this as there’s only a R on the necklabel next to Lee. The refers to Registered. You see this also on the label on the chest pocket. These jackets are also known as ‘seconds’. The ‘first’ editions have plain labels on the chest pocket and the 3rd editions have MR + R on the labels, these were produced in the 1970’s and later.

The jacket is made of the typical Lee Jeans left hand fabric. The jacket is worn, but still has a nice dark blue colour. You can see some wear fadings at the elbows. The jacket is stitched with yellow thread, something really common at denim items from this period. The closure is stitched with the authentic zig zag for extra strength. The collar is stitched with 4 rows of thread so it could easily stands up, something that was popular amongst cowboys. On the back of the jacket there’re cat-eye buttons as waistband adjustment.

The jacket is Union Made, Made in USA, from left hand sanforized denim fabric. The right breast pocket has the Amalgamated Garment Workers of America tag.

Lee Jeans Replica M.U. Aggies Version

Lee Jeans developed around 10 years ago a version of a M.U. Aggies jacket (see more shots here). This M.U. Aggies jacket was inspired by the 52nd edition of the Farmers Fair at the 10th and 11th of May in 1957. Lee Jeans found an original version and created a replica version of this jacket. This jacket was lauched as a special edition.

Replica Lee Jeans M.U. Aggies jacket vs original vintage Lee Jeans M.U. Aggies jacket.

Lee Jeans replica M.U. Aggies jacket.

About Lee Jeans Rider jacket

Lee Jeans introduced their popular Rider jacket in 1931. It was the first slim denim jacket made for cowboys. The Rider jacket is a true Western style jacket. The Rider jacket is also known as the 101 jacket or 101-J. The J stands for Jelt Denim which was introduced by Lee Jeans in 1925. Jelt Denim is a lightweight denim fabric with twisted yarns for extra durability.

The Lee Jeans Rider jacket has some features which were especially developed for cowboys. The inward breast pockets are made to slip in more easier for them to reach the inside of the pocket with the opposite hand. This was especially very handy when riding a horse. The authentic Rider jackets have a wider waistband for a better fit making sure the jacket didn’t fold upwards while riding their horse. Another key feature for an original Lee Jeans Rider jacket are the cat-eye buttons on the back of the jacket.

Written by Wouter
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine I'm working as a freelance marketing specialist for brands and retail. Specialized in denim.