My Time as a Rockabilly

The Start of it All

First off I want to say that the Rockabilly culture and look gave me confidence that I didn’t have previously. I wasn’t one of those girls who had a sister or a mom that taught me how to get perfect beach waves in my hair or how to do a winged eyeliner. I used YouTube to learn how to enhance my features.

From an early age I discovered some Rockabilly youtubers that shared how to do victory rolls and how to set your hair. I could finally do something that I thought fit my face and helped me when I looked into the mirror. I got comfortable with the look and started doing my own thing like side bumper bangs.

Hair and Makeup

I started with hair because I have long, fine, drab brown hair that was limp and when I tried to put volume in it, it never turned out right. When I wet set my hair and styled it with pin curls, my hair just worked. The more I did it, the easier and healthier my hair became. I wasn’t washing it with harsh chemicals and hard water everyday. This was before companies actually started taking out sulfates in shampoos.

Moved on to makeup. Now the pin up look has changed over the years and there’s a modern pin up/Rockabilly look with the winged eyeliner and the bright red lips. This isn’t historically accurate but neither is the prevalence of poodle skirts and bobby socks.

Clothing and Accessories

If you’ve perused the rest of my blog, you will have noticed that I sew a lot of different costumes from different Eras. I have done a review on a Butterwick vintage recreation pattern. I feel like there’s a saturation of Rockabilly knock off dresses in thrift stores, online and in boutiques that it’s not as practical to make my own Rockabilly dress. So I only have one just to say I’ve done it.

I am always on the look out for baubles to take my look to the next level. Since I can’t do anything wild with my hair, I have relegated myself to adding the right shoes, the right purse and so on. I recommend those skeleton hand hair clips, they are the best and really help with the look. Also there are some great Etsy shops that provide top notch hair accessories and flower hair clips.

The Music vs The Look

Like most alternative looks and genres, there’s a musical counterpart. Goth is one polarizing example, baby bats have their own musical tastes verses the die hard grizzly metal goths or the Triad goths. It’s the same with Rockabilly and vintage pin ups. There’s Psychobilly, Rockabilly and the Vintage pin-ups. The vintage girls tend to listen to the original music that came out during the 50’s and 60’s. There was an insurgence of Soda Shop Classics that really defined the decade.

I mixed styles sometimes. Helps keep things fresh.

Psychobilly and Rockabilly is a recent development that developed out of a renewed interest in the 80’s interest in the 50’s. The Greasers vs the Socs was a popular term coined in such popular novels as The Outsiders which was a movie in the 80’s and a novel published in 1967.

Just like in the Goth scene, there is a divergence of people who don’t listen to the music but love the look. It became popular in the early to mid 2000’s. I feel like I rode the wave just like anyone else but I had my own reasons for embracing it.

Body Image

During high school I was very fat skinny which meant I was under weight for my height but because I didn’t work out or participate in sports, I had no muscle toning and did not have a flat stomach. I was never interested in those things, I have always been an avid writer and reader.

Really old pic of me, still had the big arms even though I technically weighed way less than the next pic.

As I grew older, I gained and lost weight according to my current lifestyle. This is not conducive to modern clothing. It doesn’t allow you to adjust the fit and because home economics isn’t taught anymore in school, I never knew how to alter my clothing. Try squeezing into a pair of jeans that you recently spent 300 dollars on that fit just 3 months ago and not get depressed.

I learned how to pose my arms better so they didn’t look so bad.

Rockabilly dresses are surprisingly forgiving. The waist is usually set at where it is supposed to be, at your waist. Not at your hips or a little above. This allows women like me to wear something that doesn’t muffin top or expose my round belly. I have a small waist but very wide hips and wearing something that doesn’t draw attention to this insecurity helped me in how I saw myself.

Why I don’t dress Rockabilly everyday

The style has slowly died out as does most trends. I still wear my Rockabilly dresses and make up my hair when I have the chance but spending 2 hours on my hair every other day or every 4 days is just not a habit I’ve ever gotten the hang of.

Due to other personal reasons, I sometimes don’t have the energy to put into my appearance but that doesn’t take away from the joy I feel when I do spend the occasional energy on dressing this way. It makes these times special and I cherish them when I do get to let this part of my personality and style out on display.


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