Rockabilly: A Retro Style Review

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If you’re a fan of vintage clothing (and we’re guessing you are, because hello—you’re here), you’ve no doubt heard the term ‘rockabilly’ at least a hundred times. The rockabilly movement started in the 1950s, merging the worlds of rock n’ roll music and “hillbilly” music, otherwise known as country music. rockabilly took the USA by storm from the early 1950s to well into the ‘60s, but soon fizzled out as Disco made its way into the hearts (and skating rinks) of the world.

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Miss Lark Bahar in the Salmon Polka Swing Dress

You might be hard pressed to find many die-hard fans of rockabilly music today, but rockabilly fashion is still very much alive and well! Just as rockabilly music combined the best of both rock n’ roll and country tunes— rockabilly fashion combines the best of modest, Americana and sexy pin-up girl styles. The result? Figure-flattering dresses with pops of bright colors and patterns.

If you’re a little bit country and a little bit rock n’ roll, this vintage look is for you. Keep reading for our top tips on how to make this style your own, as well as our favorite rockabilly dress picks for every occasion!

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Sapphire Siren in The Vamp Off The Shoulder Dress Photo credit: Christopher Harkins Photography

 

ROCKING ROCKABILLY: OUR TOP 5 TIPS

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1. SWING, SWING, SWING

A full, 1950s style swing skirt is absolutely a rockabilly staple. Rockabilly dresses are all about movement. Whether you’re dancing the night away with friends, having a good time at the roller rink, or turning heads as you walk down the street—a full, flowy 50s swing skirt is a must-have for any Rockabilly wardrobe.

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2. HIGH WAIST HEAVEN

A high waisted pencil skirt is a sure-fire way to add a touch of Rockabilly to any outfit. Not only is a high waisted skirt classic and fashionable, it’s flattering on just about any body type. Feminine and chic, this type of pencil skirt can be easily paired with a gent’s button-up blouse to emphasize even more the contrast of girly & edgy that catapulted rockabilly wear to popularity. Roll up those sleeves (Rosie the Riveter style), tie a knot in front to show a glimpse of skin, and voila—you’re a rockabilly queen.

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Jessica Kellgren Fozard in The Siren Burgundy Vintage Skirt

 

3. ACCESSORISE & MESMERISE

Ask any rockabilly gal and she’ll tell you—accessories are key to the perfect rockabilly outfit. While a rockabilly outfit is totally retro and glam all by itself, the perfect accessories will take your look from whoa to WOWZA as fast as you can throw on a pair of sunglasses! Cute and colorful headbands with bold prints, cat-eye sunglasses, high waisted belts, and a matching clutch bag will have you looking and feeling like you just stepped out of a retro time machine. Take us with you!

 

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Now these shoes were made for walkin’!

 

4. MUCH ADO ABOUT SHOES

Arguably one of the best features of rockabilly fashion is the plethora of shoe options! While wearing Converse sneakers with a swing dress isn’t a common fashion norm, rockabilly wear promotes the mixing and matching of girly and tomboy styles, just as rockabilly music mixed and matched county tunes with rock n’ roll jams. If stylish comfort is your MO, don’t be afraid to throw on a pair of sneakers with your favorite rockabilly dresses or skirts. After all, who said fashion and comfort don’t go hand-in-hand? If date night calls for a dressier look, opt for a glossy pair of Mary Jane pumps in a bold color, like red or electric blue. Ballet flats, peep-toe pumps, and saddle shoes also have a place in the rockabilly wardrobe (and on your feet)!

 

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Sapphire Siren, photo credit: Jill Kerswill Photo

 

5. KISS AND MAKE UP

Last, but certainly not least on our list of tips for dressing like rockabilly royalty? Makeup! Rockabilly makeup is known for bold and pouty lips, sexy cat-eyes, long and luxurious lashes, all topped off with a bit of rouge to accentuate the cheekbones. There are tons of rockabilly makeup tutorials online to show you the ins and outs of turning your face into a retro glam masterpiece—all you need are supplies! Be sure to stock up on bold lip colors (think cherry reds and bold pinks), felt-tip black eyeliner, and glossy rouge.

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Sapphire Siren, photo by Christopher Harkins Photography

To help you easily perfect the look, here are a couple of excellent tutorials on rockabilly hair and makeup from PinupDollAshleyMarie and CherryDollface.

These gals sure know what they’re doing and their channels are packed with some really useful (and entertaining!) videos on all things vintage, pin up and rockabilly so take a look around and check them out while you’re there.

 

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Madison, aka The Mad Girl in the Red Tartan Swing Dress

ROCKABILLY FOR EVERY OCCASION

At 1950sGlam, we’re all about taking the hassle and stress out of your hunt for vintage fashion finds. To make your life easier (and more fashionable), we’ve done the legwork of searching and selecting pieces we know you’ll love as much as we do. Our selection of rockabilly dresses is slammed full of pretty, pin-up picks and colorful classics, all of which are vintage inspired and retro runway ready. We have rockabilly dresses and skirts for every season of the year and any occasion life throws your way. Check out these options for date nights, Sunday best, wedding guest glam, casual Fridays, and office wear!

 

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Jessica Kellgren-Fozard in the Maggie Floral Dress

1. DATE NIGHT
50s MAGGIE FLORAL SWING DRESS

This 1950s style floral swing dress covered in big, bright flowers does all the talking for you (though you should definitely still talk to your date). As sexy as it is sweet, the Maggie dress features a sultry V-shape neckline front and back to show off a bit of skin while keeping it classy. The crossover front and matching fabric waist sash create a slimming effect that accentuates both the bust and waist line. The 1950s swing skirt is perfect for dancing the night away with your date or pulling a Marilyn Monroe on a subway grate. We hope your date likes to boogie!

 

2. SUNDAY BEST
ELLIE BLUE AND WHITE POLKA DOT DRESS

What’s blue and white and you all over? Our Ellie dress, of course! This rockabilly dress combines the bold patterns of pin-up fashion with the modest coverage of classic Americana style. The Ellie features a classic rounded neckline, complete with wide black trim and a feminine, decorative bow. Three quarter length sleeves offer coverage and warmth for chilly autumn mornings, while the 1950s swing skirt lends itself to an easy, breezy, warm Sunday afternoon. A bold lip color adds just the bit of oomph you need to truly achieve the rockabilly gal look.

 

3. WEDDING GUEST GLAM
TIFFANY PEACH SWING DRESS

This soft and feminine dress features a classic sweetheart neckline, cap sleeves, and a 1950s swing skirt, all of which ooze rockabilly goodness. The pretty-in-peach color, flattering on any skin tone, is perfect for the wedding aesthetic and lends itself to experimenting with bold, fun accessories. Tie a hot pink headscarf in your hair, glide on a bold lip color, slip into a pair of pink, peep-toe pumps, and dance the night away!

 

4. CASUAL FRIDAYS
VINTAGE FRUITY FLORAL SWING SKIRT

Girls just want to have fun—and look good while doing so! Our Fruity Floral Swing Skirt has all the retro glam of rockabilly style with its fun, fruity pattern and bold colors. The high waistline flatters any shape, and the 1950s swing skirt allows for easy, breezy fun. Pair this classic skirt with a simple, oversized button-down blouse, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to have some casual, comfortable fun.

 

5. OFFICE WEAR
CHERRY 50S STYLE MERMAID SKIRT

Nothing says Rockabilly like a plump, juicy cherry pattern, and nothing says office wear like a sleek, form fitting pencil skirt. But wait for it – this one comes with a very classic 50s fishtail! Our Cherry Wiggle Skirt is professional without being boring; a drab office outfit simply won’t do for the rockabilly gal.

Rockabilly music may be a thing of the past, but rockabilly fashion is here to stay—that is, if we here at 1950sGlam have anything to say about it. Make these styles your own and keep that rockabilly fire burning!

Love,
The 1950s Glam Gals

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