According to Ponyboy Curtis, the protagonist and narrator of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Greasers and Socs dress themselves differently. The Greasers, the group with which Ponyboy identifies, wear their hair in a longer style than the Socs. Dallas Winston prefers not to use hair oil, but many other greasers do, like Sodapop's friend Steve Randall, and Johnny Cade, whom Ponyboy describes as "the gang's pet."
The Greasers tend to wear similar clothing, all characterized by a worn, careless appearance. Blue jeans and t-shirts are Greaser essentials, as well as leather jackets, tennis shoes, and boots; Johnny Cade wears a jean jacket instead of a leather jacket. Sometimes, their clothing has rips and the sleeves of sweatshirts have been cut off, but usually their shirttails are untucked. Switchblades are a favorite accessory of Greasers, and they help to reinforce their dangerous reputation as "hoods." Ponyboy does not go into much detail about the fashion choices of Greaser girls, but he does imply that most of them wear dresses that are much shorter than the girls who associate with the Socs.
The Socs, on the other hand, wear madras shirts as well shirts of other colors, like white and yellow, and one Socs is described as wearing a "semi-Beatles haircut." Madras is a distinctive plaid cotton fabric, and shirts made out of madras are typically in a button-down style. This slightly more formal, mature choice of clothing suggests that the Socs have more money than the Greasers, and this image is reinforced by the sports cars they drive, like Mustangs and Corvairs. According to Ponyboy, Socs girls like Cherry and Marcia tend to be "sharp dressers," but not much more detail is provided about their fashion choices.