There’s no subculture more iconic and American than the greaser. His black leather jacket, motorcycle boots, cuffed jeans, and pompadour are known and loved around the world, from the USA to Mexico to even Japan. Greaser costumes and the 1950s greaser aesthetic are hugely popular among men of all backgrounds. So wouldn’t it be kind of funny if the greaser we know and see in films —
— wasn’t actually all that accurate?
Moreso, wouldn’t it be weird if they weren’t even called “greasers” until long after the subculture had died out?
As it turns out, the 1950s greaser is simultaneously the most well known and the least understood subculture out there. With renewed interest in greasers due to new films such as West Side Story, there’s no better time to introduce everybody to the true history and culture of the 1950s American Greaser.
The Greaser Stereotype
Picture this: It’s a small town of the mid-late 1960s. You grew up in the ’50s, but you’re a college student now, and at least a semi-responsible adult. One day, you pass a poster advertising a ’50s rock and roll party. It’s over the top, but it calls for people just like you: rock n’ roll freaks, hoods, and former greaseballs — or, perhaps, greasers. Were you actually a greaser? Well, maybe not, but you can relate to them quite a bit. Perhaps you were an outcast, or a wannabe cool kid, or you got a job just so you could buy one of those motorcycle jackets after Marlon Brando wore it in The Wild One. You certainly rebelled against your parents and liked rock n’ roll, at least.
In another decade, your loose associations with this idea of “greaserhood” will be enough to make you see yourself as an former greaser — even though that poster was the first time you had even heard of such a term.
Cultural Telephone and the Power of Nostalgia
If you are a regular reader of VintageDancer’s fashion history articles, you know that fashion is cyclical. Clothing (and culture in general) tends to go in and out of fashion in about a 25 year cycle. Take bell-bottoms for example: Cool in the 70s, cool in the 90s, cool today. Each time they came back, they changed a little bit. But why did they come back to begin with? The answer is quite simple: nostalgia.
If you were a teenager or young adult in the 1970s, odds are you were grown up and well off enough in the 90s to be able to revisit those years — and you (along with many others of your generation) probably wanted to. Blousy bohemian shirts and tie dye prints reminded you of simpler times and That 70s Show took you back to the good old days, but these new things were derivative. Time, rose tinted lenses, and even 1990s culture all had an influence on this ’70s revival, and they modified it into something that was similar enough that you could relate to it, but different enough to appeal to others as well.
… And then the cycle repeats. Just how you felt about the 70s, teens and young adults who grew up in that 1990s hippie retro-revival saw that as a part of their childhood. This set the stage for a revival of 1990s bohemianism, inspired by 1970s bohemianism, in the late 2010s. Isn’t that a mouthful? And just like its predecessors, it’s also its own thing.
What Did the Modern Greaser Come From?
Unsurprisingly, the modern greaser was a product of late ’70s and early ’80s media. Directors who spent their formative years in the ’50s went on to make Happy Days, Grease, The Outsiders, American Graffiti, The Wanderers, American Bandstand, and much more cinema that was heaped with nostalgia and fondness of their childhoods. That 70s-80s boundary was the first 1950s revival, and it was huge. In many ways, our mainstream idea of “The Fifties” today is much closer to that ’50s revival in the 1970s, rather than the actual 1950s.
In the case of greasers, these films and shows sparked a trademark uniform of cuffed jeans, a white T-shirt, slick hair, and a dark leather jacket. This “greaser” would ultimately become a nostalgic parody of the archetypal cool, edgy, bad boy.
What’s in a Name?
It was only around the mid ’60s that greasers started being called “greasers,” and later still when that word entered the mainstream. S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, published in 1967, is generally credited with attaching that name to the subculture in pop culture. Before that, a “greaser” was an automotive mechanic and, earlier still, an ethnic slur towards Latino and Mediterranean workers.
The period correct terms for a 1950s greaser were different, with the closest being “greaseball.” Punks in leather jackets who loitered around the diner and went looking for trouble were far more likely to have been called hoods, JDs (juvenile delinquents), shook up kids, or (only in Baltimore) drapes. In the 1950s, a female greaser would have been called a “deb” or (also only in Baltimore) drapette. With that said, for the sake of ease, I will be referring to them as “greasers” throughout this article.
History of the Greaser
1940s – Greaser Origins
Greasers have roots in the postwar boom of the 1940s. While much of American society was uplifted by the new economy and culture, some did not benefit or even see the “land of opportunity” that mid-20th century America advertised itself as being. These people were predominately blue collar city men, many of them veterans, from lower class or immigrant backgrounds. Where many families were newly able to move to the suburbs and own two cars to a family, these men did not see those benefits. Growing consumerism and cultural homogeneity further alienated those with tight budgets, unique culture/heritage, and post-WWII PTSD (then called “combat stress”).
If you did not fit in the rapidly narrowing mold of “good American,” you were an outcast or even a threat. Of course, many men did not take this facing down. Instead, they created an identity that was proudly and unapologetically counter-culture.
Early greasers were unified by a feeling of estrangement in society and disillusionment towards their lack of opportunity. With mostly trade and military backgrounds, they congregated among labor jobs if employed, or among car and motorcycle hobby groups during leisure time. They enjoyed doo-wop and later rock n’ roll, both of which were seen as “low brow” or “poor” music at the time.
While they shared a common identity, these men did not quite dress the part. They wore clothing typical of their backgrounds, namely 1940s workwear, military surplus, and casual clothing. T-Shirts were not as common as button-up shirts and sweaters, particularly the moto sweater – a pullover sweater with a turtleneck and zipper that went 1/4 down the front (see 1948 image below). Their pants were almost always jeans or wool trousers, and boots dominated footwear. Only by the late 1940s/early 1950s would greasers would begin to deliberately dress a certain way to represent their budding subculture. This look included the staples of 1940s men’s workwear: a thick work jacket, wide-legged dark dungaree jeans, and a plain T-shirt.
Already, these early greasers had something of a bad reputation. They were seen as brutish and dangerous men due to their careers and backgrounds — while their tastes in “poor” music and clothing did not help their image. To make matters worse, their association with motorcycling would begin to hurt them with the ill fame of new outlaw motorcycle groups like the Hell’s Angels (est 1947). Veterans who could not adjust to the modern American life went off to form these gangs with their comrades, running free and causing trouble if not all-out riots in the late 1940s.
1950s – The Black Leather Jacket
By the early 1950s, greasers were showing up all over the news. Both local and national news outlets posted (often exaggerated, if not all-out false) accounts of dangerous leather-jacketed men causing mayhem. These men were accused of being aggressors, rapists, criminals, and thieves without the chance to defend themselves. Even rumors of them in town could make headlines. The asymmetrical side-zip Perfecto jacket became a reason for shopkeepers to turn prospective customers away, and small town Americans loved to obsess over this new menace to society.
The Wild One, released in 1953, was the first movie to represent greasers on the big screen. It was heavily inspired by the Hollister Riot of 1947, and it too benefited from exaggerating greaser culture. It was also, however, a major inspiration for youth. Like adults, many teenagers felt out of place and angry towards society — often due to classism, racism, or social ostracism — and they too latched onto this new carefree rebel identity. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) would further youthen the greaser image, as well as introducing even more boys (and some girls) to a counterculture that seemed to understand them better than mainstream America. For many, this was the only alternative to 1950s conformity.
Frustration, helplessness, and a disconnect from middle class American society were especially an issue among urban teenagers in the 1950s. Youth gang violence would emerge as a growing problem in the 1950s as teens fought with chains, studded belts, knives, and even zip guns made during shop class in school. They, too, often wore thick dungarees and jackets, mainly to defend themselves during “turf wars” with other teens.
Around this same time, rock n’ roll was gaining a reputation as not just crass, but dangerous music. Rather than blaming economics and lack of opportunity in inner cities, adults saw shook up kids hanging around in juke joints wearing crude leather jackets and T-shirts — and those kids were always listening to rock n’ roll. It was a young and “raunchy” style of music that had young and “raunchy” dances as well, with much more closeness and hip movement than the decade’s norm. (Remember when Elvis was seen as provocative?) A new moral panic would emerge based on children being corrupted by rock n’ roll. Parents saw it as a gateway to rebelliousness, taking “good kids” down the path of drug use and sex until they too grew their hair out long and started hanging with the wrong crowd.
Towards the end of the decade, the World War II veterans that comprised the bulk of late 1940s greaser culture were in or nearing their 30s. Those who were not active parts of motorcycle gangs moved on or settled down. By the late 1950s, greasers, in the eyes of the media and public, had transformed into a youth culture. With this youth came slimmer-fitting pants, flashier jackets, big hair, and more “style” and flair.
The once-unacceptable interests of your average rebellious teen also found new fame in pop culture. Rock n’ roll became a sensation, T-shirts were gaining variety, and the “rebel biker” look was assimilated into something “cool” for the times. Generally, this era is regarded as the height of greaser fashion.
1960s – A New Decade
Greasers were still semi- prominent going in to the early 1960s, though now mostly involved in custom car culture and hot rods. While there were likely far more greaser-looking kids in the early ’60s, the “spirit” of greaserhood that identified them as a unit was rapidly fading. Many once-edgy styles had become fashionable or socially acceptable to wear, and many JDs of the 1950s had grown out of their rebellious years into standard young adults. As a subculture, greasers would fade from view before virtually disappearing in the early-mid 1960s…
… But they did not disappear completely. In many ways, the “greaser” fashion never died. Bikers, an early offshoot of greasers, would see a spike in popularity and media coverage between the early 1960s and mid-70s as well (mostly between 1964 and 1973). Their growing associations with drug cartels, hippies (the new counterculture), violence, and troublemaking kept them strongly associated with motorcycles and black leather jackets — all the way to today.
The early ’60s greaser teen/young adult also changed his look somewhat. He wore slim pants and winklepicker boots, with his hair teased high and his T-shirt tight. He was simple and often monochrome in his colors, no doubt influenced by the growing mod culture of the new decade.
The Greaser Legacy
While their reign was short, greasers became a staple of the wild spirit, ideals, and culture of the mid-century USA. Their iconic status transcends not only time, but space. The call of disillusionment amidst 1950s prosperity resonated in countries as near as England and as far as Japan. Not surprisingly, many of these subcultures grew and developed to become their own things.
Also known as rockers (or greasers around the mid-60s), the Tons-Ups were a subculture revolving around motorcycles and rock and roll. Similar to greasers, there was a moral panic that pushed against rocker culture, and the rocker attire was enough to have most of them banned from many venues. In time, this fear subsided into a general public perception of teen obnoxiousness/boorishness. Ton-up boys were seen as voluntary drop-outs of British society and, at their lowest point, losers.
The ton-up boys lasted from the 1950s on through their peak in the 1960s, where they faded out of public view in favor of the more ‘mod’ cafe racer culture. Bikers in Johnny-boy jackets and dark denim would remain on the fringes of pop culture before getting absorbed into the hard rock and punk scenes of 1970s England.
Contrary to popular belief, both the names ‘rocker’ and ‘ton-up’ referred to the motorcycles’ large-displacement engines. Depending on who you asked, “ton up” referred to either one’s ability to ride over 100mph, or his bike’s displacement being over one liter (1000cc). ‘Rocker’ similarly referred to the rockers of the new four-stroke engines on newer high powered motorcycles.
While the traditional British motorcyclist wore a waxed cotton Barbour jacket and wool slacks, ton-up boys wore American riding clothes as inspired by The Wild One — black leather, dark denim, engineer boots, and many insignias painted or pinned onto their jacket back and sleeves. The film had such an effect that it was actually banned by the British Board of Films until late 1967 — fourteen years after its initial release! Such a strong reaction had a major effect on the taboo appeal of ton-up life.
Teddy Boys (UK)
Before the ton-up boys, there were the Teddy Boys. The teddy boys, or Teds, were mostly working class youth who were dissatisfied with the culture of the postwar United Kingdom. Their distinct fashion came from heavily discounted clothing produced when fabric was still under ration during the war. Similar to the ’50s greasers, the Teds were also rather notoriously criminal, forming gangs, starting riots, and taking part in violent attacks on other gangs or innocent bystanders…
… And they were also associated with 1950s rock and roll.
The unique dressing style of Teddy Boy subculture was the first time British youth differentiated themselves as teenagers by what they wore. The style was a mix between 1910s Edwardian men’s fashion and 1940s zoot suits – drape jackets, large-collared shirts, waistcoats, bolo ties, and high-waisted slim-cut pants that exposed the socks. Their shoes were mainly loafers, chukka boots, or their signature crepe soled “brothel creeper” shoes. The jelly roll hairstyle seemed to be favored.
While there was no direct connection to American greaser culture, the Teddy Boys’ roots reflected the same sentiment, attitude, and struggle felt by 1950s greaser youth. Their choice of unique dress was a major point in the history of not only British counterculture but British teen culture as a whole.
Teddy boy culture lasted from the late 1940s all the way through to their revival in the 1970s-1980s. They have a lot of history and carry a lot of public interest, so I hope to write a full article about them soon.
Not unlike how the Hell’s Angels were formed, the Kaminari Zoku (“thunderers”) or Bōsōzoku (coined in the early 1970s) were originally ex-kamikaze pilots seeking thrill and brotherhood lost after wartime. Early members of the Bōsōzoku scene felt largely disillusioned by the apparent loss of traditional culture and values in postwar Japan. Inspired by both this emptiness and mid-50s American films such as The Wild One and Rebel Without a Cause, they formed motorcycle gangs and took on the morals and values of the bushido code (the way of the samurai).
Men of these gangs were young and from poor backgrounds, generally moving on from the group in their early 20s. They owned loud and showy motorcycles, often illegally modified, and clashed with rival gangs as they rode through Japan. Just like American greasers however, their movement evolved dramatically from its postwar roots, changing from gangs of displaced veterans in the late 1940s to delinquent youth seeking trouble by the 1990s-2000s. They seemed to have peaked around the 1970s, where they received increased news presence and earned their more lasting name.
Most famous of bōsōzoku activities was the shinai boso — an organized (sometimes multi-gang) event that involved riding at full speed and otherwise showing off on the busiest streets of Japan. It was at least partly planned in advance, led by a group leader and containing a designated rider bearing a large flag of the sponsoring gang. Boso drives could involve members in the hundreds and were extremely high-stress events, requiring breaks and often leading to several arrests and accidents in a single ride.
While fragmented bōsōzoku groups still remain in Japan, their dramatic decline in the Lost Decade marked the end of their reign around the early 2000s. Their 60-year history makes them the longest lasting subculture on this article.
While leather jackets and denim saw use, the most recognizable article of the bōsōzoku uniform was the tokkōfuku, a modified work uniform related to the WWII kamikaze pilot’s uniform, emblazoned with their gang name and Japanese nationalist symbols.
Rockabilly is a music genre of the early 1950s, and a portmanteau of “rock and roll” and “hillbilly.” Its country-western influence gave way to a unique form of dress that saw big influence in the 80-90s, at which point it became a subculture… but rockabilly itself wasn’t exactly a subculture in the ’50s. Both 1950s greasers and conventional adults enjoyed what we would call rockabilly music (which encompassed names as big as Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis). The ’50s elements of rockabilly fashion that emerged in the ’80s was occasionally greaser, but could also be based on ’50s business and casualwear.
The conflation of “rockabilly greaser” is likely recent, emerging alongside the revival of hot rods and the general ’50s aesthetic at the turn of the century. As it is used today, “rockabilly” seems to have become something of a catch-all for any contemporary expression of 1950s kitsch and culture, blended with elements of punk. Rockabilly men often wear contemporary greaser-esque clothing — cuffed skinny jeans or dress pants, converse shoes or work boots, short-sleeve button ups or graphic T-shirts, and denim/leather jackets. Tattoos, gelled hair, chain wallets, vests, suspenders, and western shirts/accessories are also common elements.
What Did Greasers Wear?
Original greaser clothing was a fusion of postwar biker clothing, working class apparel, and urban fashion trends. Fabrics were thick, boots were heavy, color choices were slim, and there was a heavy emphasis on form over function. Many of these things were antithetical to ’50s society. From the 1940s on through most of the ’50s, these working men stood out among the put-together casualness of mainstream 1950s culture.
In addition to this article, I heartily recommend reading our articles on 1940s men’s workwear, 1950s casual clothing, and 1950s men’s workwear for the full scope of what was available to and worn by blue collar men of the era.
Leather Motorcycle Jackets
Perhaps most recognizable and iconic of all greaser jackets is the ‘Perfecto’ style motorcycle jacket. First made in the 1910s by Schott NYC, it was designed for comfort and warmth while riding motorcycles, with an asymmetrical zip closure, boxier fit, and shorter length. It saw most of its popularity postwar, through the late 1940s and 1950s. After Marlon Brando wore it in The Wild One, the jacket became heavily associated with greasers — and sought after by the youth who idolized them. Even today, the black asymmetrical zip motorcycle jacket remains the greaser uniform on television.
Buy it: Schott nyc – Large selection of leather jackets, workwear, boots and some knitwear. Very high quality.
In the 1960s, the cafe racer jacket took over in popularity, and the asymmetrical-zip motorcycle jacket waned until it was picked up by punks and rockers in the 1970s-on. Greasers of the early ’60s may have worn black or dark brown variations of the cafe racer jacket.
Denim jackets were a workman’s staple. Made of thick cotton twill and able to take a beating, these came in a variety of styles and were plentiful. Most common was the Type II denim jacket, developed in 1953 and lasting until the Type III style jacket replaced it in the 1960s. The chore coat silhouette was also often made in denim and was more popular in the early 1950s. A red plaid/check lining on the inside was common in cold climates.
Gabardine, or gab jackets, had a similar silhouette to the classic bomber jacket, but made in gabardine or twill fabric. Blue collar jobs often provided gab jackets as part of their uniform in navy, tan, brown, green, or another neutral color. Modified gab jackets were often marketed as hunting jackets, like the iconic red jacket in Rebel Without a Cause. Hobby groups, MC clubs, and gangs often decorated the backs of these jackets with club decals and iconography.
For historical accuracy, work jackets of any kind were most likely to have been worn by most greasers of the 1940s and early-mid 1950s due to their accessibility, practicality, and low cost.
Military surplus leather jackets were warm, durable, and cheap — all important things to consider as a 1950s greaser. A-2 “bomber” style jackets were popular in black and brown. Ike jackets, another military style, were common in casual fashion and even popular as part of some workwear uniforms.
Even outside of military surplus, military-esque details and silhouettes were very prevalent in 1940s and 1950s workwear.
The early 1950s pants silhouette was high waisted and baggy, with lots of room in the seat and thigh for movement. Workwear preferred denim, cotton twill, duck cloth, and occasionally corduroy. Rather than pay for a tailor, the cuffs of these pants were instead rolled up to their appropriate length.
(For those seeking full accuracy: most 1950s men, even greasers, did not wear their pants with much more than a quarter break. Cuff them so that they do not bunch up at the bottom. In the mid-50s on, it is actually encouraged to show a bit of sock.)
1950s blue jeans were a dark navy and often so stiff that after washing, they stood up on their own! As these work trousers wore down, their color washed out into a progressively lighter blue, showing the age and wear of the jeans. Working men and greasers often continued to wear their worn-down jeans, but it was considered unfashionable and sloppy. Only in the very late 60s and into the 70s was it considered desirable to wear lighter-colored (or stone washed/acid washed) jeans.
In colder climates, denim was often lined with plaid flannel, which showed when cuffed.
The early 1950s pants silhouette was wide and roomy, not unlike 1940s trousers. In the late ’50s and into the 1960s, jeans became popular and their shape was modified. The seat rose, the leg slimmed, and the waist lowered into a younger and trendier cut. Young greasers of the era may have worn these pants, especially black jeans in the early 1960s.
Aside from denim, workwear pants could be made in cotton twill, duck cloth, oilskin, wool, and occasionally corduroy. Some of these, like oilskin, were specific to certain careers or climates — in this case sailing/port jobs or any wet environment. Colors for workwear were neutral, with very little trim, and often the pants matched the color of the work shirt/jacket.
By the 1950s, thin belts were more common than suspenders. Those in mechanic or bodywork jobs would wear their belt to the side to prevent the buckle from scratching up the paint of cars.
While not exactly common, leather pants were available. They followed a similar silhouette as most 1950s pants except the seat was higher. Speaking from experience, they were also sticky, creaky, hot, and generally very unpleasant to wear — a problem modern leather pants work around by making them very, very slim fitting. My advice is to wear them lined or layered. Late ’50s/early ’60s pants were slimmer fitting with a lower waist, which better complements the material but would make you look more like a punk.
The traditional greaser and workwear shoes were boots. They could be black or brown and anywhere from ankle to almost knee-height, most often around mid-calf. The most common boot styles were lace-up combat boots, engineer boots (the most iconic), and the cowboy/western boot in the southwest. Steel toes were available albeit with a slimmer profile. Soles were not the chunky treaded shape of modern boots but instead similar to today’s dress shoes.
Greasers of the early 1960s wore winklepicker boots, a pointy-toed boot not unlike the trending Beatle boot/chelsea boot of the era but with a sharper toe. Winklepickers could have texture or decoration on the toebox and also occasionally came in loafer form.
Sneakers and Creepers
For those who did not want heavy and hot boots, shoes were also an option — especially favored by the youth. Chuck Taylor / Converse tennis shoes were comfortable and came in solid black, solid white, or black and white. Chukka boots gained traction through the 1950s for their casual flair and suede or nubuck upper, which could be found in any color from camel to blue. Loafers, already popular among teens, were available in two-tone colors but were especially popular in brown.
Across the pond, Teddy Boys favored creeper shoes. Unlike other 1950s sneakers, creepers had a thick crepe sole and often a leather upper that could be either a solid color or two-tone.
In the late 1940s, T-shirts were not as appropriate to wear in public as they are today. While this attitude was changing during the 1950s, they were still seen as somewhat racy.
T-shirts, worn as work undershirts, generally came in solid colors. Teens could also be seen wearing ringer shirts (solid colored shirt with contrast-colored neck and arm-bands) or T-shirts with horizontal stripes. Graphic T-shirts were an option, but they were relatively uncommon up until around the 1970s. Instead, knit shirts with animal patterns were popular with younger men.
Unlike modern T-shirts, 1950s T-shirts were quite fitted, with shorter sleeves and a higher seam at the shoulder.
Chambray and other sturdy cotton cloths were made into button-up work-shirts. The fit for 1950s button-ups was loose and boxy, tucked into the pants and worn with an undershirt (T-shirt or sleeveless). In warm weather, the shirt sleeves were rolled up and the shirt unbuttoned. Solid colors were favored for work uniforms. Plaid, small patterns, and textured fabric were equally as common in casualwear.
This article on 1950s men’s shirt styles goes into more depth with fabrics, styles, and colors of the era.
The average 1950s man washed his hair about once weekly, and wore heavy leave-in product between washes to keep his hair in shape. While a blue collar working man’s haircut was short and free of excessive styling, greaser culture opted for long, shiny, elaborately styled hair. This would get even more pronounced as the subculture moved towards the youth.
This article on 1950s hair and grooming covers both standard and greaser hairstyles.
Greaser Outfits and Inspiration
There was no fixed uniform for greasers. What greasers wore was largely defined by the region they were from, as workwear needs varied across climates and jobs. Culture also influenced how young men expressed themselves, and different regions were home to different ethnic groups. While the lasting greaser image of today is influenced largely by the west coast and New York, there are many options for dressing up with the greaser look.
The large cities of the northeast, like New York City and Philadelphia, are the home of the classic greaser as we know it. Their large Italian and Puerto Rican populations in the 1950s contributed to the elaborately styled “greased” hair, while many leather and work jacket makers established themselves to serve the many blue collar workers and tradesmen in the region. In all, this is the fundamental “greaser outfit” as defined by television and history, and can be worn plain or embellished to your liking.
The origin of greasers in their original form is credited to the big cities of the northwest, but also to the south. Port jobs, rapid development, and immigration defined the 1950s Gulf South, particularly major cities such as Tampa, Houston, Mobile, and New Orleans. Fabrics were loose and breathable to combat the humidity of the region, with styles significantly influenced by South American, Caribbean, and African-American culture. A short-sleeve button up could be worn mostly unbuttoned (with or without an undershirt beneath it) to beat the heat. In cooler months, a gab jacket would suffice to keep the chill away.
The classic rockabilly look involves a bowling shirt, Hawaiian/aloha shirt, or other short-sleeved button up worn over a pair of jeans and boots. This outfit follows that general concept in a more accurate 1950s greaser spirit. Wear the shirt a size or two too large and untucked, either fully buttoned or fully unbuttoned (undershirt optional), with the sleeves rolled. Your pants should be worn over, rather than tucked into, your western boots.
Plaid or checks are other good patterns to consider for the shirt. Pants can be a dark wash denim, but I recommend black pants to black shoes.
Through films and in culture, California was a major contributor to the modern image of greasers, especially in the mid-late 1950s when greasers took a turn towards youth and pop culture fame. This outfit pulls heavy influence from the classic greaser — a Type II denim jacket, straight-leg jeans cuffed high to expose the sock, and some loafers for a more casual flair. An embroidered patch on the back of the jacket gives a motorcycle club flair.
With bitterly cold winters and a more rural population outside of its big cities, less emphasis could be placed on the hair. Instead, hats may have been worn that reflected the logging and hunting common to the region. Outerwear was bulky and warm, often made of wool and layered over a thick shirt-jacket, though Oregon was an early adopter of both the Perfecto-style jacket and the 1960s cafe racer jacket. Instead of a leather jacket, I chose (lined) leather trousers, that would likely have been worn tucked into a pair of logging boots.
An A-2 bomber jacket could just as easily replace the plaid coat, which could be painted WWII pilot-style with a gang insignia or phrase.
Next: Building a Workwear/casual/greaser style wardrobe with links to more clothing and shoes