The Fundamentals of Rockabilly

In recent years interest in the rockabilly lifestyle has significantly increased. In fact, it’s become so popular that it can arguably no longer retain the label of a subculture.  Rockabilly is inspired by 50’s clothing and country and western icons such as Dolly Parton and Janis Martin.


There are plenty of ways to achieve the rockabilly look; however, if you’re a newcomer it’s probably best to ease yourself into your new attire before you go all out. If you change your entire lifestyle overnight, you may succumb to shyness and feel awkward.

Base Colours

Start off slow with your base colours – red, white and black. Don’t worry too much about looking rockabilly at this point as the idea is to get a solid base style that you can work around. If you’re lost for ideas play it safe with a black and white polka dot dress.


When you feel comfortable in your base clothing, add more layers. Remember to try to retain your body shape. Use items of clothing that fit snugly around the contours of your body. Showing off your curves is one of the most important elements of the Rockabilly style. A bold coloured blouse or cardigan is perfect.


Rockabilly is fairly lenient when it comes to footwear. The most common approach is to use high-heels; however, if you’d prefer a more comfortable option, then Converse All Stars are an ideal alternative. The classic black and white high-tops are hugely versatile and can work with almost any colour combination.


Once you feel comfortable with your base colours, add a little more flavour to the mix with accessories. Jewellery that has sailor themes, such as anchor necklaces, is typical of the style. If you would rather take a gothabilly approach, don’t be afraid to combine darker elements. A studded wristband can work surprisingly well with a 50’s style dress.

Remember that rockabilly clothing and alternative fashion is about representing social and political views that don’t conform to the mainstream. Once you feel comfortable in your new rockabilly getup, feel free to add your own unique take.

Josefine Andreasson is a fashion blogger who loves to write about alternative subcultures and rockabilly clothing. She is currently in the process of starting her own vintage fashion store named Retro Delilah.


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