Lee 81-LJ Lee jackets

Vintage Lee 81-LJ jacket

Lee 81-LJ is in my opinion one of the sweetest lined chore coats that have been made. Some time ago I came across this one from the 1960’s. It’s bruised and battered. But what the hell, it’s real nice any way.

How to date the Lee 81-LJ?

There’s three key features that helped discerning what decade the jacket is from. The neck label design got “Made in USA” added to it in the 1970’s.

Lee 81-LJ collar and tag

The label on the front pocket also changed in the 1970’s. On that one Lee added the MR and R-tag. Finally, the lining was changed to one that doesn’t the red and rust colors in it.

Lee 81-LJ chest pocket

Lee and the Jelt denim

As much as I love Levi’s old XX-fabrics, Lee’s Jelt denim intrigues me as well. The feel is more smooth and it’s almost like a lighter shade of indigo compared to Levi’s denim. Yes, of course all denim gets lighter with wear but this one fades more towards white than gray if you catch my drift.

Lee 81-LJ bottom pocket

L for Lining

You have probably already figured it out by now – the LJ in the model name stands for Lined Jacket.

The lining Lee used for their jackets caught my eye a long time ago before I really liked chore coats. Back then I saw it on a Storm Rider jacket in a vintage shop in Copenhagen.

The colors have changed over the years but this is probably my favorite combination. It works really well both with this well worn denim and when the jackets are new.

Lee's classic lining

Hardware that is easy to like

Another top feature on the Lee 81-LJ is the hardware. The large buttons with the Lee logo works like a charm in combination with the big pockets of a chore coat. It all fits so very well together.

Lee branded buttons
Chore coat cuff fades