Rockabilly Style


Rockabilly Style for WomenImage titled Dress Rockabilly Step 7

  1. Stock up on wardrobe essentials. Rockabilly gals have a way of looking sexy but sweet, combining some girls-only pieces with items that look like they came from their boyfriend’s closet.

    • Show some skin. Wear a classic halter top or dress (no tanks or spaghetti-strap styles) that ties at the neck or features thick straps and a sweetheart neckline or ruching at the bust. You can find vintage versions in resale shops or new styles made modern with fabrics that have cherry, tropical or even skull designs. They’re a great way to show off and yet soften the look of tattooed skin.
    • Rock a high waist. High-waisted pencil skirts and ankle-length pants have a retro, rockabilly feel, especially when paired with a menswear-style dress shirt with rolled up sleeves and a knot tied in the front.
    • Let it swing. A full skirt with some “swing” to it offers a lot of versatility to a rockabilly wardrobe. The Rockabilly wrap dress is a must for dancing–the skirt will flow with every step, twist and turn. To turn a rockabilly guys head, choose a Sweetheart dress, which a full skirt, a fitted and belted waist and a lightly puffed sleeve that falls to about the elbow. One bit of warning–stay away from the poodle skirt. You’ll look like you’re wearing a costume rather than embracing an alternative style.
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    Refine your look with shoes and accessories. Stay true to the style but add your personal stamp to the look with shoes and accessories. The things you’ll need are timeless, which makes them easy to find and gives you lots to choose from.
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    Step up your style. Shiny black or red Mary Janes in a flat or high heel can work with almost all rockabilly gal looks. For a more preppy, casual look, choose loafers or saddle shoes with or without bobby socks or a pair of Converse All Stars.
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    Choose finishing touches. Consider tattoo-inspired necklaces, leopard print or hounds-tooth purses, headbands and small classic earrings. For another way to enhance that sexy-but-sweet vibe, add a flower to your hair;go with a red rose or a large vibrant flower that matches the color of your outfit.
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    Get the hair right. If you choose a classic rockabilly hairstyle, you can go two ways–stick strictly to the look or modernize a bit by following the style but making everything looser and using lighter-weight styling products.

    • Try a feminine version of the pompadour. While the pompadour hairstyle has come to be most closely associated with men, never forget that it was named after a woman (Madame de Pompadour). If you have longer hair, pull it up into a high ponytail and wrap it around a large-barrel curling iron for 30 or so seconds to create a spiral. Then, back-comb your bangs and pin the ends down near your ponytail to create the pomp. You can also create a pompadour front and add a large flower barrette to finish off the look. Short-haired gals can wear a pompadour just like their male counterparts (see directions above) or create a pin-curl look a la Rizzo in “Grease.”
    • Embrace the ’40s. 1940s hairstyles are worn by rockabilly fans more than 1950s styles. Betty Page and her victory rolls are seen everywhere at rockabilly concerts and events.
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    Make makeup the finishing touch. The rockabilly look comes with a distinctive makeup style so proper application is key to an authentic appearance.
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    Create a clean canvas. Use a liquid or cream foundation to even out your complexion and dust it lightly with finishing powder. Apply blush sparingly on your cheekbones rather than the apples of your cheeks.

    • Create a cat eye. The cat eye defines the makeup look for a rockabilly gal. The process of creating the cat eye may seem a little overwhelming at first–there are a number of steps–but you’ll get better and faster with practice. Or you may decide to short-cut the steps a bit to create a modified version of the look.
      • Gently pull your eyelid up and line the inner rim with a few coats of jet-black waterproof pencil. Then line the inner rim of your lower lash line and finally your upper lash line. Blend color into lashes with an angled brush.
      • With a black liquid-liner pen, make four evenly spaced dashes over the pencil line on your upper lash line and connect them.
      • Close your eye and use your finger to trace along the crease of your upper lid, moving outward. When it meets the bony part of your eye, mark the spot with a dot of liquid liner. Place the tip of the liquid-liner pen on the dot and drag it to the outer corner of your eye, thickening the line as you go. This creates the “winged” look of the cat eye.
      • Once the liner is dry, dab your lid with a cream-colored liquid eye shadow. Use a metallic version on the area just above your crease line and inner corner. The metallic shadow updates the look, and the liquid formula stands up well to heat.
      • Finish with two coats of black mascara or a pair of false eyelashes.
    • Be the lady in red. Outline your lips using a red lip pencil. To keep the look from being dated, just use the pencil to define your “cupid’s bow” and the center of your bottom lip. Apply a bright red lipstick with a blue (cool) undertone and a matte finish.

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