Classic American Made: LEE General Style 50 Comments

Trav: I’ve always had a fondness for items that sport the tag “MADE IN U.S.A” because with outsourcing now heavily at hand, there are not many things that are actually made in America. When i found this vintage LEE denim jacket on eBay I just had to get it, not only because it was surprisingly made in the America but also because there is a strong history behind the brand that frequently goes unrecognized. Check out the video below for some history on the classic brand. While preparing this post I couldn’t help to wonder where LEE is now, there is virtually no LEE products in stores that i come into contact with. Their U.S. online store carries very ordinary, bland items, clearly catering to the older, more traditional audience. The weird thing is that the apparel on their UK site caters more to younger, more trendy individuals. They actually have some pretty dope items on the UK online store and even a “coming soon” blog. Companies catering to different targets markets in different countries is surely not a new thing but that is a much bigger topic to be discussed. It would be interesting to know why there are such brimming differences between the two lines. Why not give Levi a run for their money here in the U.S.?

travls gumbs, lee, lee jeans , lee denim jacket, vintage lee, ralph lauren polo boots, street etiquette, cookie boots

Fit Details- Vintage LEE denim jacket, Uniqlo oxford shirt, Nudies, Polo Boots. After wearing my black polo boots all last winter I got sort of bored with them so i cut the straps off and replaced the laces with some old timberland laces. I like them a whole lot more now.

Check out this very interesting time line video below that gives a nice rundown of the History behind the LEE brand.

Concept Animation: Nicola “DeeMo” Peressoni
Music: Stefano Calzolari Dan Mela
Client: Lee Europe


Have something to say?


  • Jeff

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    Alright first comment! haha. Great post Trav, the vintage jacket looks really good. The video is a great addition to the post as well.

  • friendinfashion

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    Lee in Australia is pitched at a younger – hipper market – some very cool designs. Jackets a great pick-up! :)

    visit me @

  • Brittany

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    Those shoe look fabulous with that jacket!

  • Brittany

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    shoes* — sorry, I can spell!

  • grahm

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    I found the same thing when I moved to New Zealand, Lee and even Levis are marketed totally differently

    even more of a shock is the difference between American and Antipodean Wranglers

  • G-reg

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    Lee looks like they make pretty good stuff, but I don’t know about coming over here so late, because Levi’s is already so established the competition would be stacked against them. But that jacket is great. Those polo boots look great btw. Rangers? A close up pic of them would be cool lol.

  • Najee D.

        posted on October 26 , 2009 :

    Lee actually attempted to garner the attention of the young, fashion forward consumer just a few years ago. Here, Lee & Wrangler are typically regarded as uber-utilitarian, with very little focus on fashion and style as we often see it. The case was, and has been, very different overseas for YEARS! I remember a few spots in the U.S. carrying the Lee Authentics (similar to the great stuff we see in the U.K.) stuff and if I remember it correctly, it failed pretty miserably. I think the reception would be a little different now with there being such a widespread focus on timeless, quality heritage products, but I think it would be a tough sell beyond a niche market consumer. Great post!

  • Neef

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    awesome jacket trav…. i like that fact that you changed the laces on the polo rangers… very stylish

  • J-Wood

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    DOPE FIT im soo diggin what you did with the polo boats it gave the jacket and the boots a perfect match !

  • Mitch

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Great look. Awesome video man. Thanks. That video had style.
    And thanks for spotlightling stuff that is made in America.

  • Prêt-à-Porter P

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    i think i had some Lee jeans back when i was young. Had to play my own music while watching the video though. LOL! i know there is this website, i wish i could remember, but it focuses on men’s fashion/style and it has a list of clothing companies that produces “Made in America” stuff. I know Brooks Brothers ties are made in the USA in their Long Island Factory.

  • l0uie the king

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    loving the cookie boots bro i always thought about how they’d look without the straps but never really seen it until now and is awesome!

  • KZ

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Good stuff, I just wanna point out that there’s something funky going on with the colors on your blog. Some of the pictures look off in IE and Google Chrome, but are fine in Firefox, at least for me. Specifically, the pictures in the cord and the weekender bag posts.

  • moe

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    love the jacket bro! noticed the change in the buttons as well as the word lee in capitals! definately has alot of history. theres some collaborations with lee on japanese sites, check it out!

  • Ralph Thomas

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Great post here fellas , I remember back in my day where if you had a pair of lees you were deemed really styling on people. They were up there with Levis I don’t know what happened along the way as my generation aged but like you discussed here they kind of faded away with Wrangler.

  • Runner

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Agreed. Their collabo stuff is on point and their selvedge denim in London is pretty sweet, Wrangler flagship is a couple doors down from Lee and their stuff is really strong too. Odd how they dont follow suit in other markets?..

  • SneakerFreak

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Great Post , The Jacket is top notch . & Anyone Selling Jay’s or Any Other Respectable Sneakers size 10 / 10.5 Contact Me At / I’m just trying to start up my collection again. thanks alot guys!

  • Tobi

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Great post. I was trying to figure out the brand of the boots, but i had no luck, what u did to those boots is what fashion and style is all about. Improvisation. Great work. Would have never thought about it.


  • Quick

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    I love the mix of black and khaki…awesome look!

  • The History of LEE Video Timeline | Hypebeast

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    [...] fellas of Street Etiquette offer a nice video timeline, showcasing the history of classic American brand LEE, from its [...]

  • David

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    I like this post man and I noticed that you share the same feelings toward the items that are made now. I also like the historic video you provide, letting people in on how LEE the brand has come to be in the US and globally. Besides, most of the time Lee is pushed to the side, at least I think so by other denim and khaki companies. Overall, the jacket and fit mixed with the detailed history made me completely agree with this post and enjoy reading it.

  • melinda (@minimcbooom)

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    LEE denim is actually THE ONLY denim brand my mom ever bought for me as a child…yet another underestimated/forgotten brand. I actually didn’t know what “LEVI” denim was until about junior high school.

  • SwanDiamondRose

        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    i have a vintage LEE denim jacket too. their vintage is beautiful. superstrong and stylish. i’ll go check that UK site now…


        posted on October 27 , 2009 :

    Great post here by my brother Trav and the think the comments warrant that especially from our core American audience where we just remember a vast gap when it comes to the LEE company. It’s funny because we remember it in our youth like Melinda has commented on but after that I’m guessing their market base influence moved to other places focusing on Europe and etc. I think we’re at a point where if they focused some of their marketing here it would be beneficial to the company. From looking at that video you see a lot of history behind the brand and it’s made some staple marks in the denim industry I’m just wondering why the rejection of the US market , The only competition I think they would have would be Levis which is another monster corporation with history, but that’s what businesses do ‘competition’ Pepsi vs Cola , Mcdonalds vs Burger King just a few notable companies who have been always going head to head ..

    Anyone else feel the same?

  • [...] fellas of Street Etiquette offer a nice video timeline, showcasing the history of classic American brand LEE, from its [...]

  • [...] has seen a significant rise over the last few years, without the need for flashy ad campaigns.  Street Etiquette celebrates Lee with this video timeline of the company’s milestones from the 1880s through to [...]

  • Najee D.

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    ^^^Well, in an aspect that probably makes the most sense to the brands in question, they still are very much going head to head…in terms of the almighty dollar. Vanity Fair Corp. owns both Lee & Wrangler and are the #1 jeans maker worldwide (note that Levi is the #1 “individual” jeans maker). But like a said, I’d love to see Lee cater to a shopper that we’re probably most familiar, but I doubt they’d share similar success in terms of volume as Levi’s does. After all, there are still a bunch of people who think Lee jeans are a lesser version of Levi’s lol. Bring back the Buddy Lee campaigns!!!

  • Trav

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    Jeff: Thanks again man!

    friendinfashion: thanks for the info thats def something to know. its interesting to know the differences abroad.

    Brittany: thank you thank you.. and don’t worry we all make spelling mistakes. I myself make one too many lol

    grahm: man thats amazing.. wrangler actually crossed my mind while writing this post. I would have never thought they had different positioning in other countires.

    G-reg: i feel you man but like Josh said above, thats what its all about. I would love to see some competition. Levi is pretty much in a league of its own right now in the U.S.

    Neef: Thanks man

    J-Wood: thats a lot…thats what i was going for :)

    Mitch: Thanks..yeh man the video has style for days lol

    Prêt-à-Porter P: yeh man its always good to know what stuff was and is made in America, seeing that now theres only something like 5% of stuff thats sold in America actually made here. i hope you remember that site, i would love to see it.

    l0uie the king: Thanks man, yeh i was wondering the same thing for a while myself, until one day i got enough courage to cut them off

    KZ: Really?…thanks for the heads up..its fine on my computer.What do you mean by off? is it darker than usual?

    moe: Thanks much…i’ll have to look into those collabs… sounds real interesting.

    Ralph Thomas: Yea man..its wierd. I would love to find out when the change happened. In elementary school i had a pair of black Lee jeans and i use to love wearing them. the good old days

    Runner: Where are you located man?..that sounds dope. Is Levi also a dominating force over there?

    SneakerFreak; Thanks man.. i see your getting your hustle on lol

    Tobi: thanks a lot man.. you all ready know. great blog you got over there too.

    Quick: Thanks glad you like it.

    David: really appreciate it man.. when someone actually enjoys reading a post it makes it all worth it.

    melinda; wow thats crazy. Its amazing how things work.. Do you still wear those i kid

    SwanDiamondRose: nice we are vintage twins. Their uk site actually sell vintage replicas. They are mad dope but pricey.

    Najee D.: Great comments man, you sure know what your saying. I totally get you, i can see premium LEE products doing well if marketed to a very defined audience, like the people who are into the whole timeless craze as you pointed out. I personally think there is a huge opening for Lee right now just based on the fact that they are no where to be found in the minds of consumers such as ourselves. I see it working if they push the whole timeless thing. But i def don’t see them selling as much volume as Levi.

  • blackactionhero

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    Yes, I recall the Buddy Lee marketing campaign ! Even the little white animated character, wuttevah dat was about! Hey man I respect the improv on the boots, the ability to think “outside the box” for a black man is rare yet welcome in my book (no homo). I would’ve done a f’ing metallic tie,maybe bronze or gold just to twist haterz wigs. Keep rocking out brothers ! OG,Breeze Team.

  • LEE Denim Video Timeline | Vibezine

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    [...] guys over at Street Etiquette have put together this appealing and informative video timeline, showcasing the history of classic [...]

  • TK

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    I constantly check this blog for updates and was happy to find an update today. Great Post Trav, those RL boots do look alot better w/ the cut off straps. Can’t wait for the next post!


  • DeeMo

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    Hi there.
    The proper credits for the historic timeline animation piece are:

    Concept Animation: Nicola “DeeMo” Peressoni
    Music: Stefano Calzolari Dan Mela
    Client: Lee Europe

    The animation was created for the European Lee website in 2008.

  • VeeUrbanite

        posted on October 28 , 2009 :

    Very good video indeed good stuff , now days you dont see anything with the Made in Usa tag.

  • cam

        posted on October 29 , 2009 :

    i hart them personalized polo boots

  • Missiah

        posted on October 29 , 2009 :

    great post trav , lee’s are so old school I wonder if they still even care about their US reputation now with the younger generation

  • Chief

        posted on October 30 , 2009 :

    You’re a supporter of Made in the USA products,,, but you rock Uniqlo, Topman, Gap and Club Monaco on the daily?

    Lee does compete with Levi’s. They just do it in the arenas where the money is here: big box stores like Sears, K-Mart, JCPenny etc… The main reason they don’t measure up to Levi’s is because Levi’s basically invented jeans. Comparing Levi’s to Lee is like comparing Benz to Ford.

  • samuel

        posted on October 31 , 2009 :

    i have to admit, that lee jacket is hitting. theres a worker-esque feel to it that entertains the rest of the fit; sick! and polo boots ftw.. i have a pair of the cookies myself and i’ve been in love ever since.

    ill post fam, keep it up
    -peace & light

  • Prêt-à-Porter P

        posted on November 1 , 2009 :

  • Luke

        posted on November 1 , 2009 :

    Great post and great jacket. Your premise reminded me immediately of Carhartt. When I was living in the UK the brand was being marketed strictly to a young, hip, street audience. In the US it was still totally working class. The websites seemed to be polar opposites…graffiti and music on the UK site and a dude climbing a telephone pole on the US homepage. I spent just the last 2 years in Minnesota and the same clothes I saw in boutique windows in London were being hung next to the chicken feed and Stihl blades. Marketing is a kick.

  • Kadeem J.

        posted on November 1 , 2009 :

    Yooo trav great post bro…I dig the idea of cutting the straps off the boots and putting a different pair of laces. Adds a different coolness to them

  • Craig

        posted on November 1 , 2009 :

    another great post and I agree the boots look great.

    Living in the UK I fdid wonder why I did not see any Lee products whilst in America. It’s a shame as they have some great pieces in their collection every season in particular their checked shirts.

  • willy cheesesteak

        posted on November 2 , 2009 :

    Good stuff. That is a fantastic jacket too along with what you did to the Cookies, actually looks a lot different now than all the other Cookies you see on the streets.

  • Chris

        posted on November 3 , 2009 :

    Are those the nudie wax denim? if so what style are they? Thanks.

  • Trav

        posted on November 4 , 2009 :

    blackactionhero: Thanks man…ill have to say that black men do think outside the box ..just in dif ways.I see your point though.. Thanks for the Props!

    TK: Thanks man…nice blog you have there

    DeeMo; Thanks for the info..i didnt see credits on the LEE site…u did the Concept Animation? Dope!

    VeeUrbanite: Yeh its a rare site to be seen

    cam: Thanks :)

    Missiah: lol judging from what im seeing…they dont

    Chief: Seeing that im a big fan of well made reasonable priced items, i wear products by companies that produce in different countries. There is not much to pick and choose from here in the U.S. and they are usualy much more expensive seeing that the production costs here is so much more than Asia

    samuel: Thanks man..yea cookie boots are hitting big right now

    Prêt-à-Porter P: Thanks a lot man…i didnt realize ACL had that list. Dope stuff.

    Luke: thats so crazy man. This stuff is so fascinating..another reason why I’m a marketing major lol.

    Kadeem J.: Thanks man. B)

    Craig: yea man..its a shame..maybe they’ll bring some over to these sides sooner or later.

    willy cheesesteak: Thanks man..yea i wanted to switch them up a bit..thanks for the love

    Chris: yes, they are Thin Finns

  • kd

        posted on November 7 , 2009 :

    hey trav great fit as usual im in france and i want to order these boots could you tell me if they fit true to size or anyone else thx in advance peace

  • Trav

        posted on November 8 , 2009 :

    ^^yea man true to size

  • JfkJean

        posted on November 9 , 2009 :

    I swear this guy Trav is a beast!…and the best part is all of his pics say “I just shitted on you and you didn’t even realize it”. I love it!!

  • Keith

        posted on November 11 , 2009 :

    I love that jacket. Your whole ensemble looks fantastic.


        posted on June 19 , 2010 :

    Browsing around looking for information about the last of the union label LEE jeans, I come accross your site. I as well as every american are perpetualy annoyed at the fact that american made is all but gone and what it connotes. I’m 45 years of young age and remember a few things that I would like to share, over the last 45 years our american production has split out of town but I’m now at my parents age when I was a teenager. I grew up on military bases and was in style for wherever I was at and my parents had roots in the country (blue collar, farming, raising horses) Lee jeans and other Lee wear meant hard work and fashion work casual, like your khaki Lee jacket. The point is that with Lee there was a comfortable choice. Levi’s were too expensive to work in (1970′s) and Wrangler was just about on par with Lee.
    Then the “Jean War” hit hard and suddenly my family could not afford the madness, we went to K-mart for the blue light specials and J.C. Pennys for thier “Plain Pockets jeans”. My father said “they should have kept the W.P.B. (War Production Board) and this would never have happend, reffering to WW2 and our ability to make everything here in the U.S. I also overheard alot “Kennedy and those damn brazilian womens shoes, thats what did it, now everything is going to go downhill”. I still look for those old items and still wear them as I’m american and need an american fit. I still know of quite a few walk in stores in my area where I buy right off the shelf 60′s 70′s 80′s vintage jeans, shirts, whatever! I like your site and what you have to say, I do not like the fact that you went to EBAY to get that Lee jacket. I have a friend from childhood who now runs his old family store, he is hard working, raising a family, but he has alot of stuff from when the store was a downtown family department store, he mainly works the big and tall side and medical uniforms nowdays as obviously he cannot compete otherwise.
    His name is Mr. Jason Leiter ( 770-428-6136. He’s a good guy, I know he has what you might want or need. Hope I helped you out in your endeavor. P.S. Damed shame you had to bid on that jacket, I believe it undignified to bid on clothing, land yes clothing no!

  • Arcieri Keness (@ArcieriKeness)

        posted on November 29 , 2011 :

    @mike868y @holdadesert