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Styles of Rockabilly

I've been in and out of rockabilly for a while. What I've encountered in Alaska is strong interest, but a lack of social cohesiveness. I helped start a local pin up pageant that my friend now runs. Every so often we get dressed up and go out, but that seems like it's fewer and far between.

For those who are interested in the subculture of "Rockabilly", you will find that there are different style groups within the subculture. I thought I'd go over these with you and also recommend some music with these style groups.


Classic Rockabilly

This is your run of the mill classic rockabilly look. It's full of color, a mish-mash of modern and 50s retro, and is pretty easy to accomplish for men and women. This is generally where people get started. I can be vintage, it can be repro, or it can be retro (vintage reimagined). A lot of people focus on the hair. Most start out with rolled straight leg jeans, converse shoes, plain t-shirt/tank top, and fun hair.

Music: Hits of the 1950s, Reverend Horton Heat, Dick Dale, Patsy Cline, big time players (Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, etc), Stray Cats



Take rockabilly and add in the theory of punk. Wild colors, wild prints, maybe a few safety get psychobilly. Psychobilly can be either 40s or 50s.

Music: Demented A Go, Chop Tops, Guana Batz, Misfits, Horrorpops



Take rockabilly and add in a little gothic influence - usually horror films, the Addams Family, the Munsters, Vampira, and other classic old goth influences. If you're into goth, you might find this as a crossover styling of "Retro Goth". You'll still find velvet, lace, and fishnet here.

Music: The Cramps, Ghoultown, The Creepshow, Young Werewolves, Field of The Nephilim, Deadbolt


Vintage Lifer

Vintage lifers strive to wear vintage clothing or vintage reproduction (historically accurate reproductions) on a daily basis. You will notice these people because they will always tell you the history of what they have on or their purse or shoes or everything else. For these guys, it's a complete lifestyle. Their house is probably decked out with as much effort as how they dress.

Music: Classic 1950s and 1940s (more than just the hits), specific genres within the 40s and 50s.



These guys don't really have a term for themselves. They focus on the 1940s whether it's vintage, vintage reproduction, or retro (a modern reimagining). In cooler climates, this is popular with the women because there was a strong use of trousers for work. They might do a little swing dancing, WWII re-enactments, or occasionally put themselves on a Rations Diet.

Music: Swing, 1940s campy classic, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Andrew Sisters, The Ink Spots, Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy



This spans the 50s and 60s with emphasis on beach, surf, drag racing, classic car shows, tiki, and vintage motorcycles. During the winter, these folks pass the time at tiki bars and restoring old vehicles, or at least they're influenced by that stuff.

Music: Connie Francis, Beach Boys, Dick Dale, Surfergettes, Jan and Dean, The 4 Speeds, exotica jazz, any surf and drag music compilations, Red Elvises


Lounge Lizard

These folks look like they're ready to go spend their nights at a cocktail lounge, if you've seen "Swingers" you know what I mean. It's mostly retro 50s, but with a little 40s tossed in. Mostly it's bowling shirts worn over plain under tank tops and with trousers for men. For women it's cocktail attire or something flirty.

Music: Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Stray Cats, 40s and 50s hits, swing music, modern swing

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