Rockabilly Style and Fashion Tips
Rockabilly style and fashion tips: Rockabilly (that’s rock and roll spliced with hillbilly) has a distinctive style and sound. Sure, we tell you how to get the feisty look – but we’ll also help you source amazing rockabilly bands.
Rockabilly fashion is just one branch on the giant alternative fashion tree. And it’s a particularly small branch. Although rockabilly first came about in the 1950s and is still faithfully embraced today by many people, rockabilly fashion is seldom heard of in mainstream culture. However, you rockin’ mooks will get a chance to stock up on your favourite styles this summer as 50’s fashion (from which rockabilly takes much of it’s inspiration) is ‘coming back’.
Rockabilly fashion tips
- Flowers for your hair (the more obnoxious and eye-popping the better)
- Rockabilly shoes: Creepers, pumps or platform-heeled shoes with cute designs
- Checked shirts. Can be tied tight around the waits or worn open over tight tops with a giant waist cinch belt
- Cat-eye sunglasses
- Low cut or off-the-shoulder blouses
- Hair held back with a tied kerchief
- Pencil skirts
- Bettie bangs
- Quiff hairstyle
- Pin-up girl makeup
- Hillbilly denim
- High-waisted capri pants or capri jeans worn with heels or pumps
- Google for images of cheesecake pin-up girl Bernie Dexter. She is a modern godess of rockabilly and will give you visual inspiration galore.
So, what exactly is rockabilly fashion and where did it originate? Well, rockabilly music is an early form of rock and roll music, which developed in the United States during the 1950s. A splicing of ‘rock and roll’ and ‘hillbilly’, rockabilly sounds brought the country barn dance to bluesy rock and roll with very swingy, vibesy results. Rockabilly fashion is, of course, the fashion that would be worn mainly by fans of the music. Interesting how often fashion and music tastes often go hand in hand, isn’t it?
While unusual, rockabilly fashion has evolved through the years. Nowadays you’re looking at retro 1950s style dresses (pencil skirts for a more modern look or poofy skirts worn with petticoats are fine), ‘Bettie bangs’ or pinned back bangs to form a quiff, pin up style make-up, bandanas, nautical items (anchors away!), bowling style bags, cherry prints and tattoo-style art on anything and everything!
As you can probably tell, these clothing items are intended to make a statement. Many alternative fashion labels provide rockabilly fashion at reasonable prices. Hell Bunny is one of my favourite rockabilly clothing stockists right now, but be sure to hunt around in thrift shops for more genuine retro items.
If you want to browse around for more rockabilly clothing and music inspiration, go to…
Buy rockabilly clothing online…
The first thing you want to do is listen to a bit of rockabilly on net radio and get hours of glorious inspiration for free! So your first pit-stop is to go to Radio Tuna and search for ‘rockabilly’. From there you’ll hook into the sweet online DJ sessions from rockabillyradio.net (and you’ll see there are plenty of other rockabilly radio stations out there to tune in to).
While you’re listening, you have two choices – practice your rockabilly dance moves or check out all the rockabilly bands that have websites exclusively on Rockabilly Radio. You’ll find a bunch of contemporary rockabilly bands on there for you to get your teeth into.
Or you can check out our super-condensed list of rockabilly artists here:
- The Stray Cats (okay, we lied. The Stray Cats are psychobilly – a mixture of punk and rockabilly. But check ’em out. Gotta love that deep bass).
- Charlie Feathers (one of rockabilly’s great pioneers)
- Johnny Burnette Trio
- King Draper
- Raging Teens
- The Honeybees
- Kim Lenz and her Jaguars
- The Chop Tops
- Rip Carson
- Three Blue Teardrops (psychobilly again but hey, who’s keeping notes?)
Lastly, google for rockabilly nights near you so you can go and dance for real. If you’re lucky, you may just find one.
I hope this teeny tiny guide has given an insight into the wonderful, hidden yet tenacious world of rockabilly fashion. Rockabilly isn’t going to die and it isn’t going to go away. It’s just going to hide in small venues, recording studios, boutiques and thrift stores where the herd can’t find it.
If you like the fashion, do be sure to source out the history or rockability and check out a few bands too to know your roots. If you’re already poofing your skirts or tying bandannas around your quiff before you’ve finished reading this article, rock on!