The 1950's greaser subculture was defined by youth, irreverence and rebellion.
Ties were thrown out in favor of ratty black T’s with cigarette packs rolled up in the sleeves. Blazers were tossed to make way for leather jackets that were worn and beaten to hell. The young men of this iconic subculture were easily identifiable by their black sunglasses and slicked back hair – the trend behind their name. With a penchant for rock and roll, fast motorcycles and cigarettes, the youth of this subculture defined 1950’s style and left their mark on fashion ever since. However, like many looks - it didn't last. As America entered the 1960's and 1970's the greasers' stark blacks and whites were replaced by the colors and free flowing shapes. The rebels themselves were gradually relegated to a rapidly shrinking number of rock clubs and dive bars.
Fortunately for us, their looks have become an iconic style and have lived on accordingly. So, what can we learn from these guys that can influence our fashion? We partnered up with Kayte of Mass Musings to bring you an editorial-style shoot which stylizes that embodies the aspects of the greaser subculture that we want to transfer to now.
1. Embrace the shorter shirt sleeve: Most t-shirts, especially the kind that you get from company retreats and community sports teams, hang way too low on your arms. Not only does this look sloppy, it hides your bicep – making you look skinny. Back in the 1950’s the greasers made a habit of wearing t-shirts with way shorter sleeves – they even rolled ‘em up to show off a little more skin. When buying your next set of staple blacks, grays and whites, make sure you have them hit higher in the top quarter of your upper arm. If you can’t find ones that do that, just give them a roll.
2. Clean-shaven is king: Yes, we love beards. We’ve even posted about how much we love beards. But there comes a point when a look is so ubiquitous that it starts to lose its sheen (the gilt goes off the gingerbread, as my British mother would say...don't ask). That’s about where we're at with beards now. Looking back at the 1950’s almost all of the greasers were clean-shaven – and proud of it. Once the winter winds have died down, lose the beard and clean up your look to a close shave (no, not even stubble). The #Lumbersexual trend won’t be sticking around forever so get ahead of the game.
3. Go stiffer on your hair product: A lot of guys I speak with are scared of serious hair gel. They opt for medium hold forming creams that keep their locks in check, but don’t do much to add serious style to their hair game. On your next trip to the barbers shop, pick up hair gel that’s got both sheen and extra hold. Personally, I use and recommend Imperial Gel Pomade, but find one that suits your own needs. You don’t need to go all the way to the greaser pompadour, but combing it through and parting your hair will send a well-deserved nod in that direction.
4. Find yourself a serious leather jacket: Sure you can buy one at the Gap or at H&M, but when it comes to leather jackets – I’m a big believer that you need to splurge a bit. The ridiculously handsome leather jacket that Chris is wearing throughout a lot of this shoot is from Scotch and Soda. What I love about it is that it’s well worn without overtly trying, and it’s not completely covered in studs and zippers (that’s fine for women - see exhibit A. below on Katye). You can find one like the one Chris is wearing here.
5. Do Less: If you’re going to take anything from this shoot, and the greaser subculture in general, it is that less is more. These guys looked kickass in black jeans, beat-up Chucks and black sunglasses. You don’t need ridiculous patterns and colors to look good, just a badass attitude and a solid penchant for Ray-Ban's.
A special thanks to Katye Demont of Mass Musings for collaborating with us on this shoot. Thank you also to Scotch and Soda for lending the wardrobe. Finally, thank you to Bill Politis and Tara Plopcharczyk for photography and to Chris Magnin for the good looks. Shot on location in Allston, MA.