Characteristics of Rockabilly Subcultures

Characteristics of Rockabilly Subcultures

When you think about rockabilly, you probably imagine the country and western look that was popular in the 1960’s. Over the years the rockabilly style has evolved into a variety of different subcultures, each with their own unique features and style guide. In this article I will be explaining what characteristics define each of these styles and will give you advice on how to incorporate them into your own look.

Hod Rod

Imagine driving down route 66, chewing tobacco in a flaming hot rod. The hot rod image can go two ways, with each style defined by the jacket. Wear a flannel shirt in a classic red and white checked pattern or put on a leather jacket with vintage car logos stitched into it. This look is closey related to the greaser image. When you’re at home, stick to the mechanic look with retro overhauls.


The greaser style is modelled on Danny from the movie Grease. This is possibly the easiest rockabilly style to achieve. Dress in tight stone washed jeans and wear white socks so you get ankle biters when you walk. A tucked in white t-shirt and leather jacket will complete the look. To add a little more flavour, wear your hair in a pompadour and put on some shades.


Think Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and of course, Elvis Presley. The rocker look is much smarter and more formal than all of the other rockabilly styles. A tieless grey suit with undone buttons at the top will form the perfect base layer. Add a pompadour haircut, shades and some smart black shoes and you’ll be good to go.


The cowboy style is pretty self-explanatory. It’s modelled on western movies from the 1960’s and the Clint Eastwood image. To dress like a cowboy, wear tight fitting, stone washed jeans and a jacket with tassels. Obviously, no cowboy look would be complete without a classic cowboy hat. Use mens square toe cowboy boots and a clunky belt to add a little more to your getup.


The vintage style is the cliché rockabilly image. This is a little more dressed-down than the other styles and isn’t quite so obvious. Combine any of the previous styles to achieve this look. With the vintage style you only need to incorporate small elements to achieve the whole effect. Perfect if you don’t want to dive straight into the deep end.


Gothabilly is a fairly new subculture. While it retains many of the original rockabilly elements, it’s certainly not typical of the style. The gothabilly look incorporates heavy dark makeup, tattoos and Gothic attire with clothing from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The rockabilly scene in constantly changing and in recent years has seen a drastic increase in popularity. If you want to get involved, start off slow and buy yourself a pair of stone washed jeans. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.

About the Author

Josefine Andreasson is vintage clothing enthusiast with an extensive collection of rockabilly dresses. She is currently in the process of starting her own retro clothing store.

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