Greasers are a working class youth subculture that originated in the 1950s among young street gangs, and then became popular among other types of people. In the 1950s and early 1960s, these youths were known as hoods.
Their name came from their greased back hair, which involved combing back hair with wax, gel, creams, tonics or pomade. The greaser style was imitated by many youths not associated with gangs, as an expression of rebellion. The term greaser reappeared in later decades as part of a revival of 1950s popular culture.
American greasers were known more for their love of hot rod cars, as well as being fans of 1950s rockabilly music.
Clothing items typically worn by greasers included: white or black t-shirts (often with the sleeves rolled up); Daddy-O-style bowling shirts; black, blue or khaki work jackets, Levi denim jackets; leather jackets; blue or black jeans (with rolled-up cuffs anywhere from one to four inches); and baggy cotton twill work trousers.
Typical greaser footwear included: motorcycle boots, army boots; winklepickers; creepers; or Converse Chucks. Common accessories included bandannas; stingy-brim hats, flat caps and chain wallets.
Typical hairstyles included the pompadour, or quiff held in place with hair wax (pomade).
Greasers are usually portrayed as urban working class ethnics, often Italians or Mexicans in ethnicity. Notable exceptions to the “urban ethnic” portrayal include earlier movies, such as The Wild One and Rebel Without a Cause, as well as the popular film The Outsiders, which portrayed the more rural, Southern variant of the greaser subculture.