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Rockabilly Wear

Updated on December 23, 2014
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Rockabilly Wear

When people think of rockabilly music, the first thing that comes to mind is rock and roll legends such as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, and a host of other top bands and artists from the 1950s who were instrumental in ushering in the rock and roll era. The fashions of that time for teenagers reflected the exuberance, swagger, and rebelliousness of rockabilly and early rock and roll, and these days, rockabilly wear is making a comeback.

For those of you who want to embrace rockabilly music and fashions, and the devil-may-care attitude that goes with them, this page will give you a quick overview on how to dress rockabilly, whether you are planning a class reunion or a dance. So ladies, pull up that ponytail, and gentlemen, dig out that Brylcreem from the back of your medicine cabinet and and slick back your hair in a pompadour, while we take a stroll down memory lane ...

But First, Some Vintage Rockabilly Music To Set The Mood ...

Ain't I'm A Dog: 25 More Rockabilly Rave-Ups
Ain't I'm A Dog: 25 More Rockabilly Rave-Ups

Get ready to put on your dancing shoes! This compilation CD will get your toes tapping with its rollicking mix of songs by such top rockabilly artists as Carl Perkins, Ronnie Self, and Link Wary, plus a lot of gems by lesser known acts that never made the national charts.

 

Make The Rockabilly Look Work For You

Want to know how to dress rockabilly style? Whether you are a Baby Boomer, Generation X-er, Generation Y-er, or a Millennial, you're in good company. It's a fashion trend that seems to be enjoying a comeback these days, and it's easy for both guys and girls to get into the swing of things with just a couple of style tips. Follow closely and you'll be the hottest guy or coolest chick in town as you sport the classic rockabilly look.

It's really a pretty easy look to pull off for both sexes. It's all about a couple of classic wardrobe pieces and a whole lot of attitude. Add in an attention grabbing hairstyle and some makeup tricks for the ladies and you've got all the elements of a rockabilly look that would make Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins proud.

The Basic Black Dress, Rockabilly Style

Lindy Bop 'Grace' Classy Vintage 1950's Rockabilly Style Bow Swing Party Dress
Lindy Bop 'Grace' Classy Vintage 1950's Rockabilly Style Bow Swing Party Dress

This ladylike, rockabilly-styled basic black dress is a versatile addition to any wardrobe which you can accessorize in a variety of ways.

 

Switchblade Stiletto Dress

Switchblade Stiletto Women's Darling Dress
Switchblade Stiletto Women's Darling Dress

For something a little more daring, this figure-hugging, black switchblade stiletto dress might make it a bit more difficult to move around on the dance floor, but it is sure to make you the center of attention at your next shindig.

 

Rockabilly Clothes

For guys, it starts with a pair of loose fitting jeans and a classic bowling shirt. You can either wear it buttoned up or unbuttoned over a sleeveless white athletic t-shirt or tank top to show off your pecs (this t-shirt style is also known by its unfortunate moniker, "wife beater"). For an extra touch, you can add a leather jacket to give you a tougher look. Top it off with a pair of black and white creepers or other crepe-soled shoes and you've got the traditional rockabilly style.

The ladies can opt for either a form fitting dress that ends just below the knees or a dress with a halter top, tight waist and full skirt to let you pull off all those rockabilly dance moves. Either way, a sweetheart neckline is key to rockabilly wear, as is a pair of high-heeled shoes. The rockabilly look emphasized the feminine form but the fuller skirt allows women of just about any size to pull it off.

Leather Jackets

Hot Leathers Classic Motorcycle Jacket with Zip Out Lining (Black, Size 56)
Hot Leathers Classic Motorcycle Jacket with Zip Out Lining (Black, Size 56)

A black leather jacket is a must-have for the true rockabilly look.

 

Bowling Shirts

Hilton Men's Retro Cruiser Bowling Shirt
Hilton Men's Retro Cruiser Bowling Shirt

A classic two-toned bowling shirt is also an essential part of any rockabilly wardrobe.

 
The Everly Brothers, ca. 1958
The Everly Brothers, ca. 1958 | Source

Rockabilly Hair And Makeup

Hair is another important part of the rockabilly look. For both men and women, the pompadour rules. Guys can apply a liberal amount of pomade or gel and slick their hair back. The classic rockabilly do was short on the sides and full up top, with just the right amount of curl in the front. Some guys combed their hair into duckbills at the back; others went for a straighter look.

Girls employed the pompadour too, usually while pulling their hair back into a high ponytail. They would puff up the top and pin back the sides, bringing it all together at the back of the head. The high set of the ponytail gives it the proper bounce when you're out on the dance floor, while curling around the front adds softness around the face. And don't forget dark eyeliner along the top of the eyes for a "cat's eye" effect and some bright red lipstick to complete the look.

Pencil Skirts

Red Stretchy 1950s Rockabilly High Waist Pinup Pencil Wiggle Women's Skirt
Red Stretchy 1950s Rockabilly High Waist Pinup Pencil Wiggle Women's Skirt

This red hot little number pairs nicely with a halter top or tight sweater.

 

Where To Find Rockabilly Wear

When you consider how to dress rockabilly, it's really not all that hard. One of the best places to find classic rockabilly clothes is at thrift stores, especially those that specialize in clothes from the 1940s and 1950s. You can also find some really cool items on this page. It is such a time-tested look that even some retailers carry pieces that would work in putting together a rockabilly look.

Remember that no matter what particular outfit you choose, what really brings the rockabilly look together is attitude. It's all about that fun loving, rule bending, hard driving swagger. That's what gives rockabilly its soul and will really make you stand out from the crowd.

Purses And Handbags

Lux De Ville Lucky Me Kiss Lock Bag Faux Leopard with Rose Handbag Purse Retro Vintage
Lux De Ville Lucky Me Kiss Lock Bag Faux Leopard with Rose Handbag Purse Retro Vintage

Meow! This cute faux leopard handbag provides a nice finishing touch to any rockabilly outfit.

 

Do you remember the 1950s?

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Do you think Rockabilly wear is making a comeback?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You rock with Rockabilly wear.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      thebeatmodnrocker 4 years ago

      It is here in New Zealand. It's such a bold, fun look... playful and tough, innocent and sexy. That the clothes also come with dances, music, cars... it's just the most babydoll!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      What a fun Rockabilly lens! Blessed.

    • susieque2 profile image

      susieque2 5 years ago

      love the info here!!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I love the rockabilly dresses. I definitely think their comeback would be a positive contribution to fashion. Blessings.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Love the style and the music. The first time I ever got introduced to Rockabilly there was a huge convention in town and I walked into it. It was so much fun to watch.

    • BerylJones profile image

      BerylJones 5 years ago

      I love the style, the music and the dancing. I am looking for a dance school at the moment and when I do, I will use this lens to buy some fabulous outfits.

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image

      floppypoppygift1 5 years ago

      Great lens! I love your choices of Rockabilly wear- so choice! Cheers~cb

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Popping back in to bless this awesome lens! :)

    • iWrite4 profile image

      iWrite4 5 years ago

      i love Rockabilly music :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Yes, I think these styles are coming back. I love the bowling shirts too!

    • hippiechicjewelz profile image

      hippiechicjewelz 5 years ago

      I LOVE rockabilly style! I am a huge fan of Betty Paige and the "pin-up" era when REAL women were admired rather than emaciated barely dressed skeletons. Rockabilly ROCKS and is making a HUGE comeback!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What an awesome lens - I've always loved Rockabilly fashion! Keep up the great work. :)

    • profile image

      BettyCharlotte 5 years ago

      Nice. Rockabilly fashion

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Rockabilly is hot again and you have everything to complete the perfect look!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cute stuff here!

    • SoniaCarew profile image

      SoniaCarew 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I so want the Folter Clothing Vintage Handbag...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens! You've chosen some great looks here, and I enjoyed looking at them!

    • DIY Mary profile image
      Author

      DIY Mary 5 years ago

      @greenmind: The Stray Cats are a true rockabilly revival band so yes, I would say that they definitely count.

    • greenmind profile image

      greenmind 5 years ago

      Hey cool idea for a lens. I remember seeing Stray Cats in the late 80's -- do they count, or too commercial??

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I had no idea this is what Rockabilly was about! LOL Thank you for this great article and for visiting me on my article! :)

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I wasn't born yet, but I LOVE Rockabilly style! Great lens! And thanks for visiting me! :)

    • DIY Mary profile image
      Author

      DIY Mary 5 years ago

      @Mickie Gee: Good suggestion. Thanks!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      I was not actually a teen in the '50s. You need to add "Just a Child" to your options above.

      What a cute lens. Enjoyed my visit.

    • profile image

      nikyweber 5 years ago

      great lens thumbs up

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Fun lens - I can remember a few friends who really got into this look about the time Stray Cats became popular.

    • trainstorm profile image

      trainstorm 5 years ago

      All my mates were rockabillys or psychobillys in the 80s. I was the one with the Mohican. Fun days.

    • profile image

      jetliu123 5 years ago

      looks like a fair lady and gentlement

    • profile image

      Runnn 5 years ago

      Classic and it looks cool. Thanks for sharing.