Sometime around 1950 a motorcycle club in a small town in California gripped filmmaker Stanley Kramer’s imagination. It inspired him to make a film in 1953 called “The Wild One”, which starred Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin as two crazy bikers who terrorize a small town.
Their uniform and motorcycles rejected society’s accepted norms. The loud motorbikes, the short, black leather flight jackets, the jeans and white t-shirts all became the symbol style for anyone called a “greaser.”
It is important to note the slight military/police look that greasers went for. Although they tried to dress as anti-authority as possible for the times, it is ironic that they chose clothing that was worn by authority figures to express their defiance.
Two more films, “On the Waterfront” and “Rebel Without a Cause,” brought the greaser look further into the forefront.
“On the Waterfront,” once again starring Marlon Brando, featured denim jackets, jeans and plaid shirt sans tie.
James Dean, who suffered an untimely death in 1955, became in international cult sensation with his look. Swept-up hair, jeans and leather jacket defined the look of a rebellious teenager who felt misunderstood by his parents.