If you didn’t know, Elvis Presley died on 16 August 1977, and today (10 August) marks the start of Elvis Week; an annual Elvis festival in Memphis Tennessee. There is an action-packed schedule of events including concerts, panels and the competition to find the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist, as well as charity fundraising events like the Elvis Presley 5k Run. If this sounds like your kind of thing, you might want to get in early for next year’s 40th. Many people go out and hire Elvis costumes, but if you prefer to bring a little Elvis glamour to your everyday look, here’s how to build a Signature Wardrobe Elvis Tribute Outfit.
Like any other outfit, your Elvis Tribute Outfit has to be appropriate for your climate, location, and activities. This gives you two options:
- Pick an existing Elvis look that is appropriate for your circumstances, or
- Adapt an existing Elvis look to your circumstances.
Clearly, the Elvis look you choose when you are being chauffeur driven to an indoor formal banquet will be different to the one you wear on the train to work or ride your motorcycle to a vintage bike event. Regardless of the type of event, you should consider the amount of warmth you need, whether you will be indoors or out, and the amount and type of physical activity (and eating and drinking) you will be doing.
Luckily Elvis has sported many looks over the years, so regardless of what colours and patterns you like, your body size, shape, and fit preferences, there will be a look you can make your own. Many of the images are under copyright protection so I can’t embed them, but here are some examples:
This is a relatively simple look to copy. Good for getting out and about on your motorcycle, or with a finer finish for a few cocktails in the evening.
Clothes: black leather pants and jacket (or leather look if you prefer). Ladies could choose a skirt instead.
Shoes: black boots.
Accessories: black cuffs, one with round watch, plus the big rings (right pinky and left ring finger. I’m not sure that a bag to match the feel of this outfit exists, so make sure that you have pockets.
Grooming: if you want to go all the way, blue-black hair with the sides combed back and the top up and back for the pompadour. You’ll need some gel or wax as a fixative. I’d suggest the natural/no makeup look for this. Or maybe red lipstick.
At first glance, this seems impossible, especially for everyday, but merely requires a bit of craft work and a really good thrift (charity) shop nearby. This could be manufactured for day or evening with changes in the fabric (e.g. denim v satin) and patterning.
Clothes: you can’t get away from this being a jumpsuit, but you could wear flared pants with a close fitted jacket instead. Get yourself a glue gun and some acrylic gems and metallic studs and go mad. If you want a cape-like feature, pin some similar fabric across the jacket shoulders and glue on gems in the same pattern. If you prefer a skirt, a wide one will balance the fitted jacket nicely. Or, I think this would be wonderful as an evening gown with a fishtail skirt.
Underclothes: probably something smooth that doesn’t leave a visible line
Shoes: definitely white with the white outfit. Given he wore gold shoes with his gold suit, you’d have to match your shoe colour to your outfit.
Accessories: BIG statement belt, plus your rings. Sometimes he also wore big necklaces too. I feel that you’d need a bag and that it should be the same colour and similarly embellished. Probably a clutch.
Grooming: big hair that balances the big outfit would be best. I guess you’d need highly coloured makeup too, but applied with a light hand.
Clearly, not Elvis, but this is accidentally a good match to this Jailhouse Rock promotional picture that I can’t use due to copyright protection. Good for casual events.
Clothes: dark pants and jacket, with a striped shirt. Or a pencil skirt. Dark blue denim seems the most accurate. And if you get it right, it can double as your Mademoiselle Outfit.
Shoes: black shoes, with either white or no socks.
Accessories: plain, maybe a watch and necklace. A matching bag would be discreet, perhaps a slender shoulder bag or small clutch.
Grooming: neat hair, smooth and maybe slicked back. Definitely red lipstick.
A more business-like look Elvis wore to meet President Nixon. One that is almost exactly the same thing worn by business people now.
Clothes: He’s wearing a black suit and coat with a white shirt.
Shoes: black boots.
Accessories: statement belt and necklaces. If you’re taking a bag, it should be a very smooth professional one, perhaps a black leather satchel or slim briefcase.
Grooming: neat and clean hair and fingernails, discreet makeup and fragrances.
If you didn’t already know, a movie starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey about this meeting came out earlier this year.