Rockabilly Fashion: Why Do You Want To Dress Rockabilly?

by Buster Fayte, Featured Writer,

This is rockabilly? Really? HELL NO!(Photo copyright

I come up against this questions not all that infrequently. I just stumbled upon an online article that lists eight rockabilly fashion and beauty tips to try. The article goes on to list polka dots, red lipstick, pumps, and so on. And every time I run into the rockabilly fashion topic, I recoil just a little bit. I think, as I pointed out in my post Rockabilly or Poser from several weeks back, it sits uneasily with me when people start trying to look “rockabilly” without the essence of rockabilly music to back them up.

I don’t like rockabilly style for style’s sake. I like rockabilly style for the sake of the music. If you’re into the music (and since you’re reading this blog, I figure you are into the music!), you probably don’t have to try to look rockabilly. It comes naturally to you. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against folks learning how to cultivate and refine their rockabilly look. As long as it’s not just an empty fashion statement.

I guess I’m just an old “stick in the mud” when it comes to fashion. God knows I’ve never been accused of being on the cutting edge or anything! I just think people should dress they way they feel comfortable dressing and not the way some magazine or website tells them they should dress because it’s the hottest trend. If you feel comfortable dressing in retro/rockabilly clothing because you’re into the music and the culture that surrounds it, then it’s real. If you decide to dress rockabilly because you saw it in a magazine…well, that’s something different.

I enjoy finding a retro-looking shirt at a garage sale or second-hand shop just as much as the next guy. When I was on stage in my old band Kevin Fayte and Rocket 8, our wardrobe was a big part of the act. We’d change outfits between every set and in order to support that habit we had to do our share of shopping for rockabilly fashions. So, it’s not that I think it’s silly to dress like that. I guess I just get possessive when people who don’t love our music attempt to steal our look.

I love to look at pictures of all the people dressed in their idea of rockabilly/retro finery as they’re attending a rockabilly show or a weekender. These are people–many of you who read this blog–who are into the fashion because they’re into the music. I don’t like it when people who aren’t into the music ape our style. They usually do it wrong and, not to put too fine a point on it but, they look stupid (see the accompanying picture!) Anyway, they just don’t look sincere. And when the fashion designers get hold of the style, they turn it into something bizarre. Certainly not something real.

When you go out to see your favorite rockabilly band, or when you’re packing all your rockabilly finest for three wild days at your favorite rockabilly weekender, it’s not that you don’t put a lot of thought into your outfits and the statement you’re going to make with what you wear. But your process is not calculated to simply make you look like you’re hot with the latest cool trend. Instead, you’re process is one of true communication with your fellow rockabilly lovers. That’s the way it should be.

Rockabilly fashion is getting to be trendy right now. We’re seeing it on “the runways of Milan” and the streets of Manhattan. But I’m not in this for the trend. And neither, I suspect, are you. We’re in it for the music. In my perhaps overly possessive opinion, if you love the music, you’ve earned the right to wear the fashions free and clear. Those that are just wearing the fashions because they saw some silly Hollywood starlet put a quiff in her hair or some hearthrobe of the moment slick up a pompadour and long sideburns don’t do us rockabilly lovers any favors. They don’t honor the music and the musicians of rockabilly. They’re simply exploiting the culture. And in the process, it seems as though the very term “rockabilly” is becoming polluted. That’s sad.

So, set me straight. Am I off base here? Do I have the right to be possessive of the term “rockabilly” and of the rockabilly fashions? Or am I just being selfish?

Buster Fayte is an author and rockabilly musician. He Blogs at “Buster Fayte’s Rockabilly Romp” where he writes about the passion he shares with millions of musicians and fans for rockabilly and oldies music. Buster has written several books including the “Complete Home Music Recording Start Kit”. He writes original songs, sings, and plays both guitar and bass.

Source: buster Fayte’s Rockabilly Romp


About Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague

We are a Bar and Bistro where old school meets the new school, dedicated to preserving the roots of rock and roll and it's modern adaptations as well as preserving the cultural identity of our neighborhood through our food, the the principles of the slow food movement. A little bit of rockabilly and retro combine with the kustom kulture of today, in an atmosphere devoid of Pretension.
This entry was posted in Clothing, Culture, Fashion, Music, Retro, Rock n Roll, Rockabilly, Rockabilly Guys, Style and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Rockabilly Fashion: Why Do You Want To Dress Rockabilly?

  1. Buster Fayte says:

    Shoot; sorry about the typo in the very first sentance!

    • Buster Fayte says:

      Holy cow…”sentence”, not “sentance”…just not my day, I guess!

      • Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague says:

        No worries 🙂 Right now I cannot even find the word sentence.

      • Matt says:

        While we’re on the topic, the word is “poseur,” not “poser.” I’m probably being fussy pointing this out.

      • Buster Fayte says:

        Oh; you mean as in, “That Buster’s a real poseur for pretending he knows how to write!” Poseur it is! Thanks for the education, Matt!

      • Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague says:

        Your such a Powzer 🙂

      • Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague says:

        I had a teacher ask me what’s the difference between 2/3 and 3/4, I told her thats what I have been saying all the time, what’s the Fuckin’ Difference lol 🙂 Thanks for the heads up Matt.

  2. incaunipocrit says:

    Reblogged this on Basil Wheel.

  3. Matt says:

    Aside from my getting hung up on one word I thought it was a very good piece.

    • Buster Fayte says:

      Thanks Matt. I don’t mind at all being corrected. It makes me a better writer, so don’t give it another thought!

    • Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague says:

      No worries Matt, thanks to Busters miss spelled word, wich I think I just miss spelled, miss spelled, I had more comments on this post than most others so it worked out lol Maybe I should start an English lesson blog to really drive the comments. Our new Motto is We don’t spell well, but are readers don’t read well. 🙂

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