Rockabilly style is a unique way of dressing rooted in the rock ‘n’ roll culture of the mid-20th century that emerged in the 1950s and comprised garments and accessories blending post-war rebellion with a nostalgic echo of classic Americana.
Conveying a rebellious spirit and a non-conformist attitude, Elvis Presley’s tailored shirts, leather jackets, and pompadour haircut, along with Bettie Page’s high-waist shorts and patterned tops, are emblematic of Rockabilly’s aesthetic.
Similarly, John Travolta’s portrayal of Danny Zuko in ‘Grease’ with his slicked-back hair, fitted T-shirts, and cuffed denim became a cultural touchstone, further cementing the style’s influence.
Synonymous with the greaser culture, the Rockabilly aesthetic and fashion style is more than clothing; it’s a statement of individuality and a homage to a bygone era reinterpreted for the modern world.
1. Casual Rockabilly
The Casual Rockabilly outfit pays homage to the 1950s by commencing with an off-shoulder puff-sleeve top, reminiscent of Brigitte Bardot’s iconic look, in a peach hue that embodies the era’s affinity for necklines and feminine contours.
Match with Levi’s high-waist Pedal Pushers in rich dark denim and a cuffed hem as a subtle homage to Rockabilly’s pin-up aesthetics.
Accessorize with a thin silk neck scarf from vintage Hermès collections – or a modern variation from Alexander McQueen – and red ballet flats from Repetto or Tory Burch.
Crow the look with a classic Marilyn Monroe-inspired bob haircut that adds a cinematic allure, resonating with the timeless charm of Rockabilly style.
2. Classic Rockabilly
The Classic Rockabilly outfit showcases the edgy and dramatic side of the Rockabilly fashion.
The outfit is anchored by a cropped leopard pattern top like the designs of Dolce & Gabbana and paired with high-shine cropped leather pants from Schott NYC, the clothing brand of rock ‘n’ roll icons.
Wear a vintage biker leather jacket and a wide leather belt – can also be modern ones from All Saints – representing the style’s quintessential daring toughness.
Accessorize with large hoop earrings from Jennifer Fisher, a red silk hair scarf from Hermes, evoking the classic headwear choices of the time, and a thin leopard pattern leather wrap bracelet to complement the top.
Complete the outfit with classic T-Strap Mary Jane pumps from Christian Louboutin or a playful rendition by Kate Spade for a retro and timeless feminine touch.
3. Rockabilly Pin-up
Centered around a polka dot sheath dress that hugs the body, the Rockabilly outfit is a tribute to the pin-up models of the 50s.
Start with a polka dot pin-up silhouette dress from Stop Staring!, a brand specializing in vintage reproductions, and a wide belt to emphasize the hourglass figure.
Accessorize with large hoop earrings from Swarovski, a silver-tone rhinestone bracelet from Tiffany & Co., and a rhinestone bib necklace from BCBG, as the ensemble’s focal point.
Wear a Pompadour hairstyle, a nod to the rebellious yet polished aesthetic of the Rockabilly scene, and Mary Jane from Manolo Blahnik to retain the retro-charm of the 50s fashion.
4. Rockabilly Dance
Built around practical and comfortable garments, the Rockabilly Dance outfit is ideal for events reminiscent of 1950s swing dance.
Start with a polka dot poodle skirt with a wide hem that twirls easily, available at Unique Vintage, and a cropped off-shoulder top from Pinup Girl Clothing for free movement.
Accessorize with large hoop earrings from Hoorsenbuhs, a red headband to keep the hair in place during energetic dance moves, and a satin pleated bag from Coach.
Finally, anchor the ensemble with strappy open-toe pumps from Charlotte Olympia, ideal for comfort and stability during dance events.
5. Boyish Rockabilly
The Boyish Rockabilly outfit blends masculine tailoring with feminine accessories, reflecting the androgynous movement of the Rockabilly era.
Start with a classic polka dot shirt, a sharp waistcoat, and cigarette pants from specialty boutiques like Voodoo Vixen or Hell Bunny to create a retro-inspired look.
Accessorize with Betsey Johnson cherry earrings, characteristic of the 1950s, and a ribbon bow tie brooch from Collectif and complete with open-toe stiletto heels, which could be elegantly crafted by Pin Up Couture or Pleaser, providing a polished finish that’s both stylish and evocative of the era’s fashion.
This “Boyish Rockabilly” ensemble reflects a well-curated blend of 1950s-inspired sophistication with a modern sensibility, perfectly capturing the rebellious yet elegant essence of the Rockabilly style.
Similar Styles to Rockabilly
Rock | Pin-up | Teddy Girl | Greaser | Glam Rock
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A University of Oxford graduate in Design History, Katherine Saxon is researching arising TikTok cultures from a consumer psychology perspective while covering emerging aesthetics in fashion and beauty for TheVOU, Forbes, Business Insider, and more.