What Did Greasers Wear in the 1950s & 1960s?

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A greaser is often associated with rebellion in the 1950s or 1960s. Young men or boys who were greasers usually enjoyed rock 'n' roll, leather jackets, and muscle cars. The term "greaser" is derived from the slicked back, waxed hairstyle that many wore during that time period. While some greasers were involved in gangs, most greasers were just part of a club or group.

Greaser Clothing

Greaser couple

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Young men in the 1950s and 1960s who were considered greasers often wore white or black tee shirts with rolled up sleeves. The tee shirts were usually accompianed by blue jeans. Leather jackets, which were often worn over tee shirts, were another staple for greasers. Accessories included leather belts and sometimes chain wallets. Greasers also sometimes wore white tennis shoes such as Converse All Stars or black boots. Other fashion staples for greasers included denim jackets and flannel shirts.

Greaser Hair Styles

photo caricature of a 50s era greaser in jeans and a t-shirt as he prepares to comb his hair

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Hair styles perhaps made greasers stand out the most, as many young men would sport slicked back hair that was kept in place with a wax or petroleum-based styling agent. Greasers wore hairstyles such as the pompadour, ducktail or waterfall. A pompadour is when the hair is brushed high off of the forehead and styled with pomade. A ducktail, also referred to as a duck's butt, is when hair on each side of the back of the head is combed back and held in place with a greasy substance. A waterfall is the same as the ducktail in the back, but in the front the hair is swirled into a lock that is placed on the center of the forehead.

Hollywood Greasers

2011 Billboard Music Awards - Show

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Greasers were influenced by pop culture, particularly a variety of films from the 1950s and 1960s. Many young men copied the look of Marlon Brando in "The Wild One," James Dean in "Rebel without a Cause," and Elvis Presley in "Love Me Tender." Because of the popularity of the style, even years after the 1950s and 1960s, the greaser look inspired movie wardrobes. In the 1970s, "Grease," "The Wanderers," and "American Graffitti" debuted. Movies from the 1980s like "The Outsiders" and "The Lost Boys" also portray the greaser look.