How to dress Rockabilly | Lady K Loves

20th August 2021

How to dress Rockabilly gif

How to dress Rockabilly

This is an origin story…

A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away

Well… really it was around 10 years ago in Hastings, but from Bristol & this current place in the Lady K Loves journey, it was another lifetime!

Lady K Loves originated as a brand creating rockabilly inspired clothing and helping inspiring people on how to dress Rockabilly. Based on a love of all things 40s & 50s (more audio & aesthetic than values & behaviours, to be fair) our founder, Kessie, started hand-making items to sell. Looking to fill holes to perfect her rockabilly wardrobe & create items that referenced 1940s & 1950s design. There was a real focus on Googie architecture, Mid Century Modern, Rockabilly music & the Atomic era.

We’ve grown & changed considerably since then. An understanding of production has Lady K Loves seeking a more sustainable path. A love of a range of vintage & musical references sees us welcoming in a wider range of eras, from a little 30s & 40s inspo up to our recent 70’s vibes.

Whatever the time, the focus is the same, to make great items that support a vintage rock’n’roll inspired wardrobe for badass babes.

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In this series of blogs we’re going to look at key wardrobe items to build your specific look, starting with our inspiration point, Rockabilly.

Rockabilly is, called by some, the birth of rock’n’roll music. Take a big dash of country, throw in some swagger, Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s songwriting style & then dress it up in some blue suede shoes, a pomp & you’ve got Rockabilly… or Elvis! Though it’s fair to say he was one of the main & best know propagators of the style. Like most subcultures, there are some key items that help you effortlessly infuse your look with the style.

We’ve broken it down for you so it’s super easy to bring this look into your wardrobe every day!

First things first… Leather jackets

How to dress Rockabilly example

Now, leather jackets are a staple in any wardrobe no matter what your aesthetic is… It’s a classic item that is completely timeless and never goes out of fashion. We talk about this in our 50s Bad Girl Clothing and How to Dress Like a Badass/Bad Girl Wardrobe Staples blog posts.

One of our favourite rockabilly bad girls who rocks a classic leather jacket is Wanda Woodward from Cry Baby.

We see the classic leather jacket being a staple item across a load of different subcultures; greasers, bikers, psychobilly, even pinup with a bit of a bad girl edge… the list is endless.

Leather jackets are just one of those key wardrobe items that are great for any look and can be worn throughout the seasons. It’s great to add a hint of rock’n’roll sass to any outfit. And honestly? They just look so fucking cool!

And thankfully, now, there are so many vegan leather options out there. And as time goes on, more and more creative new leathers that are more sustainable and biodegrade better than the classic PU.

Or, you can opt for buying second-hand leather. Really, this is completely up to you & your personal ethics. Whatever works for you and brings you the most joy. You do you boo.

A bloody good pair of jeans!

Like the leather jacket, a good pair of jeans is an absolute ESSENTIAL in any wardrobe.

We always talk about how we believe that feeling good in yourself is the first step when creating any outfit or look. This is why we’ve designed our jeans the way we have; with YOUR body shape and your comfort in mind. Made from stretch denim, you don’t have to worry about your denim being uncomfortable and stiff anymore. Our jeans are really ones you can wear when you’re just lounging about. Which, I admit, sounds kinda weird. But it works, somehow. (Thank you stretch denim!)

We’ve also designed our jeans to be woven, specifically, so you can do a turn-up/cuff the legs and it’ll give that rockabilly feel with the contrasting lighter colour. Small details like this are one of our favourite things to play around with. Tiny details that the untrained eye might not spot outright, but actually transforms the entire outfit. And the outfit would look completely different and totally bare without it.

And we make them ethically & sustainably, which means they’re good for you, the people, and the environment. We care, you wear.

Opt for a pair of wide leg jeans if you prefer a more biker, greaser, androgynous look with a more masculine clean-lined silhouette.

If you’re more on the pretty pinup side of rockabilly style, a pair of high waisted skinny jeans are always favourable! Super classy & feminine. Plus they go with any top.

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Bowling shirts

Let’s face it, bowling shirts are just such a cool clothing item. This is an item that is great if you prefer more of an androgynous style. But I’ve also seen some badass babes rock these in a feminine style too.

A structured but comfy blouse also falls under this category we think. Whenever I put one on, I instantly feel like I’ve just stepped out from a film that was set in the 50s.

And who rocks a bowling shirt better than Elvis?!

Pair with a pair of jeans, cigarette pants, or you could even pair it with a skirt. I’ll be honest, getting multiple outfits from one piece of clothing makes me do a happy dance. Anyone else? Or am I alone in that one?

How to dress Rockabilly, Elvis

The humble pencil skirt

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We just love a good pencil skirt. We literally have a whole blog post about them & how to style them. Made popular in the 50s by the likes of Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth & more.

V2 is one of those skirts that’s suitable for all occasions… Dinner, brunch, lunch, hell – even breakfast! And anything in between. We love dressing up a pencil skirt for a night out on the town with our girl friends. It’s an easy throw-on item that makes you look classy and put together, with minimal effort. And low effort high payoff outfits are our ULTIMATE favourites. Ahh, the easy life!

Button down denim

Let’s talk Wanda… Wanda as in, our skirt Wanda of course and how it was inspired by Wanda Woodward from Cry Baby – the ultimate badass rockabilly babe.

Like the classic pencil skirt, this baby is great for any sort of occasion and can be dressed down to be incredibly casual. Made with the same We Care, You Wear ethics as our jeans (and also incredibly comfy) if a bad girl style is more your thing, Wanda is the one for you.

Swing Skirts

How to dress Rockabilly clothing

Notably, a classic, seen in most 50s movies & also worn during swing dancing. Oh how we just LOVE these. These are great for any bad girl outfit too, think Rizzo from Grease… Comfortable, flowy, versatile so you can tailor it to your mood… Our Katie skirt is a great option here, with a funky print to add a nice pop to your outfit. Or, Doralee might be more for you. In solid block colours, the minimalist in me loves this!

Our fave for how to dress Rockabilly… haltertops!

Our Tabatha was made with rockabilly influences. And the best thing about this top is because you tie it yourself, it makes it incredibly versatile. There are so many ways to tie it, meaning you can change the entire look based on your aesthetic or mood that day. Tying it in a slightly different way can really transform it. It’s basically multiple tops in one… Who DOESN’T want that? This top is really so fun, and who doesn’t want to mix fashion with fun?

Clothing inspiration for how to dress Rockabilly

What key items do you think are essential in any rockabilly wardrobe?

How to dress rockabilly

1 – Leather jackets – Especially Bronx or moto styles
2 – Jeans – In indigo with a turn up with a white T for true rockabilly style
3 – Bowling Shirts – Casual 50s style and the 90’s SoCal punk scene (hello Social Distorician
4 – Pencil skirts – especially button-down pencil skirts, get a wiggle in your walk.
5 – Swing and full circle skirts – with layers and petite-coats beneath
6 – Halter and sun tops – especially in simple geometric prints and polka dots or leopard and animal prints
7 – Capri pants and Peddle pushers – tight-fitting and showing off your calves!

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