What to Wear to a Rockabilly Music Festival

Dressing for the New England Shakeup Rockabilly Event

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the New England Shake Up  , my first ever rockabilly event.  Though I attend lots of vintage themed events, I’ve never been to one of these. Most of the bigger rockabilly weekenders, like Viva Las Vegas,  are held at times of year that aren’t convenient for me to travel to. But a weekend of bands playing rockabilly music, a vintage car show, vintage clothing vendors and people getting dressed up in vintage attire taking place only an hour drive away? AND I get to swing dance? Heck, I am there!

Of course I had to put together some outfits for this shindig, so figured I may as well do a post to show  some options for dressing for these type of events.

50s plaid halter dress50s plaid halter sundress

It happened to be unseasonally warm. Actually, it was downright scorching hot out for the end of September in New England. So I opted for cool and comfortable, which meant cotton.

I had this 1950s plaid cotton pique sundress for a while and hadn’t worn it yet. I thought this event was a perfect time to take it out for a spin.

And, knowing I was going to be doing lots of dancing, I opted to take both my black and gold pair of   Remix wedge sandals, which are without a doubt my favorite  shoes for swing dancing.   This company makes fabulous reproductions of vintage shoes from the 1920s to the 1950s.  They’re extremely well made and last forever. I’ve had Remix shoes over 15 years  that I’ve abused from hours of dancing and they’re still going strong.  And they did not pay me to say that!

I highly recommend checking them out. Many of the styles are easy to wear, consisting of wedges or thicker or lower heels than you see in modern shoes.  But still very stylish looking. They’re great for those of us over 40 who find it too uncomfortable to  navigate in the sky high stilettos they sell everywhere nowadays.

50s Floral Circle Skirt1950s Floral Print Circle Skirt

As you can see, the outfit choices are geared toward a 1950s look.  I would say most of the people dress in styles from that era for these type of events. Though you do see some 1940s and 1960s attire as well.

Above I’m wearing a 50s black circle skirt with floral border print. Paired with a teal knit top, a vintage stretch cinch belt and vintage jewelry and I was all set for a night of lindy hopping.

Note the hair flowers. These are an accessory staple for putting together rockabilly outfits.

1950s Surfriders Hawaiian Dress50s Surfriders Sundress

You can never go sa-wrong with anything Hawaiian or tropical printed at a rockabilly weekender! Unfortunately I had not packed my 50s Alfred Shaheen dresses when I headed north this year. But, luckily, I did pack this cute Surfriders Sportswear of Honolulu sundress.

And I wore the little vintage cardigan for when inside the hotel and convention center, since the AC was pretty chilly.

I thrifted the adorable straw purse this past summer. I think I paid 3.99 for it!

The bakelite bead bracelet was purchased from a vintage jewelry vendor a few weeks earlier at the Brimfield Antique Show.

50s black and white floral circle skirt

Here’s another outfit I wore. Hubby and I happened to find a nice shady spot on the second day for taking this photo.  The first day was spent at the car show, which was held in the parking lot of the convention center. And it was so hot, I thought I would melt.  Not conducive for posing for pix at all!

Here I wore black ballet flats which look appropriate with a 50s skirt and are comfortable for hours of shopping walking.

Below are photos I took  at the event to give you additional ideas as to how people dress.

Shoppers at New England Shake up

These are two stylish ladies I ran into while shopping at one of the vendor booths.
The gal on the left is sporting a really cute vintage inspired dotted dress. Love the sweetheart neckline, cinch belt and the little shrug.  And she’s wearing  the requisite hair flower. The gal on the right is wearing a 50s Mexican skirt with a cropped halter top. And I love her straw saucer hat and armful of bangles!

Vintage fashion at the New England ShakeupVintage outfit at New England Shakeup

Got a couple of stealth photos here. Didn’t want interrupt these ladies while they were in major shopping mode! The first gal is wearing a turquoise and white floral 50s day dress. The way she has wrapped the scarf in her hair is another popular rockabilly look, and a cute way to put your hair up  on a sweltering day.

The second gal’s high waisted capris or, pedal pushers as they were referred to in the 1950s, are a great alternative to a skirt or dress.  And I’m loving her ponytail!

Blue floral 50s dress at New England Shake up

The lovely Karen is wearing a darling blue floral 50s dress. The vintage jewelry worn with it has special sentimental value as it is from her mother’s own collection. Love that four strand necklace in different shades of blue.

Vintage fashion at the New England Shakeup

For evening many gals opt for dressier outfits.  I spotted this fab vintage blue lurex cocktail dress and had to get a photo.  I wish I could find one like it for myself!

Shannon Fatale at New England Shakeup
Check out this stylin’ couple. On the left, in the amazing green sequined number, is the glamorous Shannon Fatale , pinup model and dancer from NYC. The green chiffon panels attached to the back of this dress make it look just as spectacular coming and going!

Vintage Outfits at the New England Shakeup

This couple, who were kind enough to let me take their photo, really caught my eye because of their outstanding outfits.  They’ve got more of a 40s vibe going on. How about that amazing leopard print gown (or is it a jumpsuit?) Not sure and should have asked. After X amount of cockttails I get a little forgetful. Don’t judge! One gets very thirsty after hours of dancing.

Either way it is stunning.  And the green turban and bag are perfect finishing touches.

Hawaiian dresses at New England Shakeup

Spotted at the pool party, this adorable mother and daughter wearing their Hawaiian dresses. Mom opted for a vintage maxi with a cool obi sash. Her daughter is wearing an adorable sarong dress. Am lusting after those silver mules!

So there you have it.  Now you have some idea of how to dress for a rockabilly concert or event.

I love how there were people there of all ages. I know there is an assumption that these type of events attract only 20 and 30 somethings. But that is not the case at all.  People over 40, 50 and even 60 and 70 love rock and roll too! And I’m always excited to go somewhere where people are dressed up. So very rare these days. And the vintage looks just make it all the better!

Till next time…..



Patti/Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday

Catherine/Not Dressed as a Lamb for #IwillwearwhatIlike linkup

Jess/Elegantly Dressed and Stylish for Turning Heads Tuesday

By | 2017-10-03T08:09:01-04:00 October 2nd, 2017|Events, My Vintage Style|12 Comments

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  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Thank so much Jess! I hear from dancing friends of mine who travel to NC quite a bit, that there is a good size swing dance community there. Not sure if it’s anywhere near you though. I could listen to swing and rockabilly all day, any day. Such happy music!

  2. Avatar
    jess jannenga October 5, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    So fun!! I am a huge fan of swing music from Benny Goodman and players of this era to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Brian Setzer. this would be an event i would go to, lots of fun! My hubby and I took swing dance lessons before our wedding and we both enjoyed it. i love each outfit you chose and they all have fab details, the shoes, the vintage bag … Also loved the “pedal pusher outfit’ and it looked fun to shop too. Thanks for sharing, you looked great!!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 5, 2017 at 11:51 am

    It does my heart good to go somewhere where I’m not looking at a sea of ratty t shirts, jeans and sweatpants 🙂

  4. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 5, 2017 at 11:51 am

    It does my heart good to go somewhere where I’m not looking at a sea of ratty t shirts, jeans and sweatpants 🙂

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    Vix October 5, 2017 at 6:20 am

    I have to admit that i’m not a fan of the 1950s but the outfits (especially yours) and the people you’ve snapped look truly fabulous.
    It is nice to go to an event where everyone has made an effort. xxx

  6. Avatar
    Porcelina October 3, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Such great outfit inspiration here, thanks for sharing all these photos!

  7. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 2, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Patti, that one is definitely on the top of my favorite 50s skirts list!

  8. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you Monika! I do love looking at everyone’s outfits when I go to these vintage themed events. It’s definitely a major part of the fun.

  9. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    And I would have loved to have met you there! I think we would have had a fun time 🙂

  10. Avatar
    Patti October 2, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Oh what fun! Your black circle skirt with the floral border is TDF. Thanks for linking up, xo


  11. Avatar
    Monika Faulkner October 2, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve never been to a rockabilly event, dear Theresa, but it looks like a ton of fun!! Checking out everyone’s cool vintage (and vintage-inspired) looks would be the best part for me…besides the shopping, of course!! Your own outfits are adorable; and if they’re any indication, hint at a pretty amazing wardrobe to choose from!! By the way, I totally agree that the world could use a little more occasion to “dress up”!! XO


  12. Avatar
    Suzanne October 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I loved all of these outfits.

    What a fun way to spend a couple of days!

    I would have loved to have gone.


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