Rockabilly: Then & Now

Though rockabilly was traditionally associated with a variation of the music form, it is also associated with a fashion style for men and women.

Traditionally rockabilly has been associated with a rock and roll style of music including hillbilly or country music which was popular in the southern states of America. Like any class or category of music, rockabilly music also had a very strong influence on fashion, as the outfits worn by the musicians and their associates at stage performance and in movies would affect the fashion styles for both the designers and the common man. Thus rockabilly fashion evolved over a period of time as a rather bolder and outrageous fashion compared to the other conventional conservative styles which prevailed.


Compared to the more conservative outfits which were popular, the Rockabilly fashion was definitely more glamorous and revealing, but there were differences based on the social class to which the person belonged. For the more affluent and conservative persons, the outfits were only slightly bold or revealing, with jeans an integral part of wardrobes for people of all backgrounds. For shirts men wore simple cotton or gabardine shirts, with jackets which were inexpensive. Second hand pants were often worn by men, and in other cases longer pants were purchased taking into account future growth.

For women the role models were the heroines and actresses of B movies, and they wore full skirt dresses, lipstick which was bright red or a similar shocking color, flat shoes and pony tails. Bold and brightly colored prints and matching colorful accessories were also popular. Many girls avoided wearing full skirts and conservative dresses which hid their body, instead opting for figure hugging pencil skirts and tight blouses which left little to the imagination. The high stiletto heels added a touch of glamour to their outfits and movie stars like Jayne Mansfield were the role models for these young women.

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