A rough guide to trucker jackets

The trucker jacket – or denim jacket, to some – is a staple of the skinhead and bootboy wardrobe that has been worn for generations. The Northern Avenger will not explore the entire history of the trucker jacket, but he will provide a rough guide mainly to the models that were worn in the original skinhead era.

Levi’s Type 3 (557XX) Trucker jacket

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First produced in 1962, the classic Levi’s Type 3 Trucker jacket was a staple of northern skinheads, usually teamed up with Levi’s or Wrangler jeans or Sta Prest. Notice the Levi’s patch on the left hand side above the pocket, which was usually taken off the inside collar and sewn onto the jacket (while labels were about the size of a jean back patch until 1967, by 1968 smaller labels were also in circulation). Also, note the way the jacket is buttoned at the top and how the cuffs are rolled just once. I replicate this look today, sticking to my northern roots.

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1960s ‘big E’ Levi’s jacket

The best Levi’s jacket available today would be the Levi’s Type 3 1967 Trucker with big E tab. However, this is very expensive, which is why the 70500 Levi’s trucker is perfectly acceptable, just as long as it does not have side pockets.

Modern ‘big E’ reproduction

‘Big E’ jackets were produced until 1971. The ‘small e’ 70500 is the most common Levi’s Trucker jacket you’ll find on the vintage market today. If it has no handwarmer pockets, it dates 1971-1985.

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Vintage ‘small e’ jacket: no side pockets = 1971-85

20MJL Blue Bell Wrangler

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Not much is known about Wrangler jackets, only that they were worn up north. I’m guessing it was it was the 20MJL jacket, given that it was produced from 1968 -70 and the later Levi’s style 127MJ was not produced until 1973. The skinhead above at the Market Harborough soul all-nighter 1968/69 is wearing this style. They are no longer produced, but can still be found in vintage shops sometimes.

60s wrangler
1960s 20MJL jacket

The jacket below threw us off a bit. Someone selling it online claimed it was a 1971 Wrangler, although the more Levi’s-like cut looks more like a 127MJ model. According to Vintage Motorcycle Jackets and a couple of other sources, it wasn’t produced until a couple of years later.

1971 Wrangler jacket

Blue Bell needle cord Wrangler

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Well, no one said all trucker jackets had to be made of denim. Available in various colours and a bit shorter then most trucker jackets, these were popular in Manchester and other places in the north around 1969-70. To our knowledge, the skinhead in the picture above was from Blackpool. Another northern item.

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Be prepared to pay a lot of money for these on eBay. For this reason, I think other brands are also acceptable. Also available in the 20MJL style, but I have no idea how long these have been around.

Levi’s Leather Trucker

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Said to have been worn up north, as the above picture of a Coventry skinhead wearing a leather trucker in 1969 supposedly demonstrates (personally, I wouldn’t consider Coventry ‘up north’). Expensive then and expensive now. Skinheads with leather truckers were seen as hard because wearing one would attract the attention of greasers. Leather truckers were stud fastened as seen in the picture – unlike button leather Levi’s truckers today.

No name/no brand leather truckers with stud buttons very much like leather Levi’s can be found on eBay for reasonable prices. I would rather wear one of these then a modern Levi’s leather trucker.

Lee Rider jackets

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Supposedly, the bloke on the left is wearing a Lee Rider jacket in Barrow 1971. I don’t know a great deal about Lee jackets, but the one I have is of decent quality (yes, I own 4+ denim jackets).

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Readily available from eBay at decent prices, their raw denim jackets are also meant to be good (I can confirm that they are – Editor).

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Modern-day raw denim Lee Rider

That’s all for now, folks.

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Less common but not unheard of: London skinhead with trucker jacket in 1969

Text: The Northern Avenger

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8 thoughts on “A rough guide to trucker jackets

  1. Ah, those were the days. In the summer of 1968 I bought a brown leather Levi trucker from my mate P*** A***** for £5. Yes – a fiver! I moved down from Blackpool to London a week later. Within a week I got a tearstained letter from his mum, enclosing a fiver, telling me he’d nicked it and asking me to send it back. Oh well… for the briefest of times I owned the coolest jacket in town!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve got two Trucker jackets made of suede. The brown one was sold at Tchibo shops (coffee brand) in Germany some years ago.

    The black one is a Levi’s.

    Like

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