The Steel Zipper
Guide to Vintage Levi's 646 Bellbottoms

 

   
Levi's has produced many classic style of jeans through the years that are associated with different eras.   The 1960' and 70's were a free wheeling anything goes era for the youth of America and  Levi's 646 bellbottom jeans were part of the uniform that the 70s generation choose to represent their differences with previous generations.  The 646 jeans were different in many ways from the  classic straight leg 501 and peg legged looks that Levi's jeans had become associated with from previous generations.   Levi's first introduced the 646 style denim bell bottom in 1966 as part of the orange tab line of products marketed to the younger generation of America.  From 1966 to 1971 these jeans were manufactured with the big "E" appearing on the orange tab found on the rear left pocket.  The orange tab being change to a little "e" in 1971.  Levi's continued to manufacturer the 646 style until the early 80's with a little "e" tab.  This style was removed from the Levi's line in the early 80's and later reproduced in 2006 as part of Levi's LVC collection.  We have not encountered an authentic vintage pair that was manufactured after 1981.
 
The 646 bell bottom was produced  as a denim jean ,  a corduroy pants, and a  Sta-Prest Pants .    The chart below contains information on  various colors and finishes that we are aware that the 646 style was produced in.   This style is identified by the long lean look with a moderate flared bottom.  It only has 4 pockets as there is not a coin pocket.  Additionally, the front pockets do not have rivets and the there is not a brown paper patch on rear that most Levi's up until this time period were identified with.  A student version was also manufactured and marketed as a 746 model which was basically a skinnier waist and thigh proportioned to a smaller body frame in the 646 style.  The size tag for these vintage Levi's is always found as a small style label printed on  both sides which is found on the inside seam by the edge of the front pocket or on early Big E versions the tag information is usually stamped onto the inside front pocket with permanent ink.  The tag is never located at the inside waist line.  The Levi's flag on the back pocket is orange with black letters for denim jeans, white with black letters for cords, and black with gold letters for Sta-Prest pants. The front button is always a copper color finish.   The Hallmark number stamped on the reverse of the top button for vintage Levi's 646 bellbottoms is usually a one or two digit number, with a few 3 digit hallmarks appearing shortly before this style was retired.  Levi's 646 bell bottoms were known to made with the following zippers: Talon 42 zipper, Scovill Gardlock Zipper, and Scovill Zipper.
 
As always we welcome your contributions to add additional information to the chart below, please e-mail us additional pictures and styles of Vintage Levi's 646 bellbottoms.
 
 
 
 

 Photo

Style

 

Type

Color

Material Content

346-1512   Corduroy, Childs Light Blue (sky or Powder Blue)  
40646-0213   Denim Jeans, Prewashed Blue 64% cotton, 36% polyester
  646-0216 Orange Tab Denim Jeans, Rigid, Rinsed Blue  
646-0217 Orange Tab Denim Jeans, Rigid Indigo Dye Blue 100% content with 3% shrinkage
646-0517 Orange Tab Denim Jeans, Super Heavy Denim Blue  
  646-0917 Orange Tab Denim Jeans, Indigo Dye Blue 64% cotton, 36% polyester with no shrinkage
40646-0913   Denim Jeans Blue  
Levi 646-1026 Color Sample 646-1026 Big E White Tab Only Pants Striped, Golden Mustard Yellow, Brick Red, and Dark Brown 100% Cotton Sanforized
646-1512 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Light Blue (Sky or Powder Blue) 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1515 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Turquoise Blue Green 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1517 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Navy 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1523 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Tan 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1528 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Dark Brown / Chocolate 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1529 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Light Brown 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1532 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Dark Forest / Hunter Green 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1535 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Green 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1555 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Grey 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
  646-1572 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Peach / Coral 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1583 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Wine / Burgundy 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1584 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Rust (Burnt Orange) 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1586 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Purple 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1587 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Red 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1588 White Tab Corduroy, Durawale Plus Brown 84% cotton, 16% polyester (with 3% shrinkage)
646-1918 Black Tab Denim Jeans, Durango Bell Blue 50% cotton, 50% Dacron polyester, never needs ironing
646-3016 Big E White Tab Only   Striped: Blue, White, Red & Gold 100% cotton
646-4415 ? Sta-Prest Light Blue ?
646-4421 Big E Black Tab Only Sta-Prest Gold  
646-4427  Black Tab Only Sta-Prest Brown ?
646-4451 Big E Black Tab Only Sta-Prest White  
646-4452   Sta-Prest Cream 50% cotton, 50% Dacron polyester
646-4484 Big E Black Tab Only Sta-Prest Red ?
646-4518   Denim Blue 75% Cotton, 25% Polyester
746-0317 ? Student Denim Jeans Blue 100% cotton
746-0613   Student Rinsed Denim Blue 64% Cotton, 26% Polyester
746-8117 ? Student Denim Jeans, 10-12 oz. denim Blue 65% Dacron Polyester, 35% Cotton
746-2913 ? Student Denim Jeans Blue ?

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