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Fashion

24 Rockabilly Fashion Essential Pieces to Shop

We already know that within Latinx culture, there are so many different nationalities, ethnicities, and identities. But that is also true of the subcultures we are a part of, and their styles. Many Latinxs are into vintage fashion, and that in itself is its own world.

Some may be strictly into Old Holywood glam, while others only like to dress like 1960s mods. Some will subscribe to the punk lifestyle and its clothing, and others will forever rock hip-hop fashions of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Vintage fashion is a way for us to express ourselves, our values, what’s important to us, and what we stand for.

Within vintage fashion and subcultures, there is rockabilly. Based around the music from the 1950s that blended together rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, bluegrass, and country sounds (“rockabilly” is literally a mashup of the words “rock” and “hillbilly”), and influences, the genre includes a very particular dress code, which is alive and well, in places including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, and London. Think pinup glam from the 1950s, coiffed hair from the 1940s, and all the attitude of today. For those who want more edge, there is the similar yet darker psychobilly and gothabilly genres and styles, that add punk influences into the mix, and of course, tattoos for something extra.

There are a lot of Latinxs who love rockabilly. We wanted to give you a glimpse into the culture and share the important style elements that make up their feminine, sexy, bold vintage aesthetic. And of course, as always, we are including where to shop these cool throwback fashions.

The Pieces

Everything in Red, Black, and White

Three major colors that you will see in rockabilly style are red, black, and white. It’s part of what makes its fashions pop and look like they’re from the 1950s. You will see cherries and cherry print, black and white polka dots, red roses, and the like. This color palette goes for rockabilly beauty as well; many people will rock their hair jet black, which matches their jet black eyeliner. Bright and bold red lips are the finishing touch for many rockabilly ensembles.

Red Hot Red Lipstick by Besame Cosmetics, Available at besamecosmetics.com, $24

’50s Swing Dress

Another major garment that makes up the rockabilly aesthetic is the swing dress. Another piece brought into today from the 1950s, it is used to dance swing, hence the name, and adds fun drama to the twists, turns, and flips done on the dancefloor. It’s also such a feminine silhouette, snug and fit on top with a halter, thick-strap tank, and off-the-shoulder styles, a nipped waist, and a full, A-line skirt.

Atomic Off-Shoulder Plaid Swing Dress, Available at atomicjaneclothing.com, $59

Cardigan

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The silhouette of the rockabilly girl is either snug on top and A-line on the bottom, or snug all over (with a pencil skirt, jeans, or cropped pants). A perfect topper to keep these lines is a ’50s style cardigan. You can use it to drape over your swing dress, or you can tuck it into your pants or pencil skirt and belt for a streamlined look.

The Perfect Leopard Cardigan, by Jawbreaker, Available at catslikeus.com, $36

Pencil Skirt

Chances are, you already got this rockabilly wardrobe piece in your closet. Nothing says va-va-va-voom like the curve-enhancing pencil skirt, and it looks sleek against snug sweaters and button-up shirts tied at the waist. Opt for a midi length for an accurate rockabilly look, and for extra flair, you can choose one with a flirty mermaid hem. And once you have a classic black skirt, have fun with polka dots, plaid, and other retro prints and patterns.

Bodycon Midi Skirt, Available at forever21.com, $12.99

Bandana/Headscarf

Rockabilly hair is amazing for all genders, with pompadours, victory rolls, bumper bangs and other 1940s and ’50s hairstyles part of the overall style. To add another bit of interest to the hair and even more style to this look, women will usually tie a bandana or headscarfs over their ‘do. It’s a great way to add some print/pattern or texture to a solid outfit, and protect your hairstyle for more glamorous wears. An even easier option is to get a fabric headband that’s already tied at the top.

Polka Dot Knotted Bow Headwrap – Red, Available at claires.com, $3.49

Round Toe Pumps

The perfect shoes are needed to complete the perfect rockabilly outfit. The style most go for are throwback-inspired round-toe pumps. Open-toe pumps are a fun option, and you will see a lot of Mary Jane-style heels with that iconic strap across the foot, as well as T-straps. Patent leather, bows, and polka dots help to take these shoes just a bit further into rockabilly territory.

The Zest Is History Heel, Available at modcloth.com, $39

Halter Tops and Tie-Front Tops

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The silhouette for tops is just like it is for dresses — snug and sexy, yet feminine. You will see a lot of halter tops, sweetheart necklines, off-the-shoulder styles, and even tops with peter pan collars for those who want a more demure look. With a black pencil skirt, jeans, or cropped pants, you can really have fun with the print or pattern of your top. Or for a sleek and lengthening effect, match the top and pants for a vintage-inspired monochromatic look.

Rita Cross-Over Halter Top – Black, by Unique Vintage, Available at atomiccherry.com.au, $42.95

Button-Up Shirt

Another option for rockabilly tops is the classic button-up shirt. These can be sleeveless or with short sleeves, and are tied at the waist (some tops will already be cut to accommodate a knot without the extra bulk). It gives a more casual, boyish look that’s adorable with cuffed jeans and Converse or saddle shoes. Standout patterns include stripes, polka dots, and gingham.

Red Striped Crop Tie Front Button Up Top, Available at unique-vintage.com, $42

Cherry Earrings

Accessories are bold in the rockabilly world, and never meant to be minimal. In red, black, and white, there will be jewelry with swallows, anchors, roses, and the ever-popular, classic cherries. In fact, cherry earrings are a mainstay in a rockabilly gal’s jewelry box. From just the headscarf, makeup, and cherry earrings, you don’t have to go past the face to know you’re seeing a rockabilly look.

Cherry Earrings – Sweet Rockabilly, Available at heyviv.com, $9.00

Varsity Jacket

Films like Grease, Cry Baby, and Hairspray are great to watch for rockabilly fashion inspiration. All of these films were set in the 1950s and feature teens in high school wearing the latest and greatest fashions. Among the garments represented is the classic, vintage varsity jacket. Today, these preppy pieces are a cool part of the rockabilly wardrobe, serving as a perfect topper to a cute top, cuffed or cropped jeans, and Converse.

Flying Bat Women Varsity Jacket, by Wyrd Wolf Designs, Available at etsy.com, $65.99 – $74.99

Converse

For those who don’t want to rock heels all the time, or at all, your rockabilly look can be perfectly completed with some Converse sneakers. It’s a classic shoe that brings to mind the 1950s, and that will go with everything in timeless black.

Chuck Taylor All Star Sneaker, Available at dsw.com, $49.99

Polka Dots, Leopard Print, and Gingham

Prints and patterns are an important part of the rockabilly aesthetic, as they firmly place looks in the 1950s. Important ones include leopard print, polka dots, cherry print, and gingham.

Retro 50’s Rockabilly Gingham Ponte Pants, by XYZ, Available at toofastonline.com, $34

Wide Belt

The rockabilly silhouette is all about showcasing curves on the top and bottom and achieving a small waist in the middle. Belts instantly cinch our waists to their smallest and allow us to tuck in our tops without showing seams, lumps, or bumps. Your best bet is a stretchy wide belt that will achieve that wasp waist with comfort.

Women Wide Stretchy Vintage Belt, by JASGOOD Available at amazon.com, $14.99 (for two belts)

Cuffed Blue Jeans, Capris, and Pedal Pushers

Rockabilly pants are tight, sleek, and cropped. Denim may be a bit looser if desired for a more tomboyish look and cuffed. Pedal pushers are pants that end just under the knee, while capris fall right above the ankle. Choose a length that works best for you and shows off the best part of your leg and rock it!

Weston Denim Jeans 40s 50s Vintage Retro Rockabilly Trousers Pants, by Hell Bunny, Available at amazon.com, $32.95 – $49.99

Leather Moto Jacket

Along with varsity jackets, leather motorcycle jackets are the cool toppers for rockabilly folks of all genders. They add that edge, that badness, that “don’t mess with me” attitude that you need for this 1950s look.

Faux Leather Moto Jacket, Available at forever21.com, $34.99

The Stores

Rockin Bettie

And now, we are going to share 10 of the best online stores that offer fabulous, fashionable rockabilly clothing. The first is Rockin Bettie; here, you can find tropical swimwear, retro houseware, pretty capri pants in a variety of colors, and more.

High waist Capri-Black, Available at rockinbettie.com, $46.99

Pinup Girl Clothing

Pinup Girl Clothing has been in business since 1999, and offers pinup style garb for women of different sizes (and features models from size XS to 4X). You will find something for your all your various moods–cutesy, goth, elegant, romantic, tough, and more.

The Bad Girl Midi Pencil Skirt in Black Stretch Faux Leather, by Deadly Dames Clothing, Available at pinupgirlclothing.com, $98

Collectif Clothing

There are several cool vintage-inspired and rockabilly brands in England that you’ll want to check out for your throwback outfits. One of them is Collectif Clothing, which carries its own line, collaborations with brands such as Modcloth, and other brands such as Banned Retro, and Splendette.

Collectif Accessories Honky-tonk Bandana, Available at collectif.co.uk, £5.00

ModCloth

ModCloth is one of the first names you think of when you think of fabulous, stylish, and quality vintage reproduction clothing. As opposed to buying real vintage, you will find clothing from ModCloth in a variety of sizes (00-28), with comfortable stretch, and of course, in large numbers. They saw the need for a modern take on vintage clothing and filled it fabulously.

Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit, Available at modcloth.com, $89

Vivien of Holloway

Vivien of Holloway is another well-known and well-loved vintage reproduction brand, straight out of London. It specializes in 1940s and 1950s dresses and separates made from vintage patterns. Some of their collections include Valentine, Animal Print, Tiki Style, Gothic Glamour, and Nautical.

Raglan Blouse White, Available at vivenofholloway.com, $63.41

Stop Staring!

Stop Staring!, founded by Chicana L.A. native Alicia Estrada, has been in business since 1997. The brand focuses on vintage-inspired dresses from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s (although it also offers separates), making them in California.

Rockabilly 1950s Riley Jumpsuit Black, Available at stopstaring.com, $175

Mischief Made

Mischief Made is for the rockabilly girl who wants something a bit different from what everyone else is wearing. In their online store, you’ll find cute tattoo-inspired graphic tees, goth cardigans, countrified sweaters, and more.

Hold Your Horses Sweater in Honey, Available at mischiefmadeclothing.com, $21.99 – $43.00

Banned Retro

What can we say? England has its fair share of amazing vintage-inspired brands. Banned Retro is yet another company offering fabulous throwback fashion who happens to be across the pond. On their site, you can get everything from petticoats to wear with your swing dresses and skirts, to sunglasses, to evening dresses, to shoes, and more.

Grease Bomber Jacket, Available at bannedretro.com, £41.99

Rocket Originals

Just like with vintage clothing, there is a huge need for vintage shoes. The supply can be low, the sizes and width much smaller and narrower than what we are accustomed to today, and there aren’t as many options as you get with buying new shoes. Rocket Originals solves this problem by recreating stylish vintage shoes, as well as knitwear and belts, from the 1940s and ’50s, and from vintage patterns.

Thelma – Red Suede, Available at rocketoriginals.co.uk, $115.12

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