Lee Jean Patches

You do stupid things when you’re a teenager. Hopefully those stupid things aren’t morally, legally or ethically wrong. Sometimes they are just silly!

When I was a teenager there was a really weird fad. Stealing Lee jean patches!

If you were fortunate enough to be able to afford them, the cool thing was wearing Levi jeans, or Lee’s. They had a leather patch sewn to the back.


The fad was (you may not believe this) we tried stealing other people’s patches. Literally sneaking up behind someone and grabbing the leather patch with your fingers and pulling it off. Some people cheated and by hand, reinforced the stitching on their patches with extra strong thread so they couldn’t be ripped off.

It was a prestigious thing to be able to say you stole so-and-so’s Lee patch. It was a fairly short-lived fad as I recall.

I’ve been cleaning out some old boxes and found my patch collection. I had written on the backs of each the names of the people, mostly guys, who I had ripped off. Literally!


Some of my girlfriends collected enough that they sewed them together to make a belt.

Such a stupid fad. Anybody else remember this 1970’s craze or was it solely a Manitoba phenom?


6 thoughts on “Lee Jean Patches

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  1. lee’s and levi’s were two completely different brands. however, when i was a kid growing up in the bronx, older kids would vic (steal) the lee patches off of us younger kids in the neighborhood. i have no idea how this made its way all the way to manitoba. regardless, supposedly you could trade in enough of these for merchandise or prizes somehow or somewhere. i would love to know how such a mysterious lee jean points land of oz was conjured up but i assume it never really existed.

    1. I’m from Queens and I remember being young and stupid as well. I use to steal them and then sew them on my Adidas tongue. I have actually been looking for a couple of patches for just that reason recently. I want to buy a pair of shell tops but gotta have the patches first lol.

  2. Hello Evelyn! I am looking for one of these nostalgic Lee tags. I realize that your post is sort of old, but I’ll take a chance and ask if you have any to sell? As for the stupid things that are done when young, the fad in Montreal was to steal a younger kid’s coat! Needless to say, I didn’t have my Lee jacket for to long! 😢

  3. Hi there, I’m from The Bronx and I remember exactly why people started snatching Lee patches. There was a electronics store owner named crazy Eddie in the Bx so he had fake Lee jeans that looked silly with the fake leather patches so he told his guys and to ask for old or new lee patches and he’ll give you a walkman or something. That’s when it got crazy! I think it was 10 Lee patches for something. It was insane when every kid got their patches snatched lol

  4. I’m from the Bronx and kiss fm and wbls promoted for V I M store. Said bring in lee patches for clothing

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