A Style Icon Ahead of His Time: Elvis Presley

22 June 2022
A Style Icon Ahead of His Time: Elvis Presley

For Elvis Presley, the title “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is apt. But he’s more than that, he’s a fashion tycoon.

Even 45 years after his death, Elvis Presley is considered one of the greatest style icons of men’s fashion ever. The King, who likes to think outside the box and makes bold fashion decisions, had single-handedly revolutionized men’s fashion long before viral red carpet moments, flashy ad campaigns and the promotional power of social media. While looks with fluid genders and designs that go beyond stereotypical gender perceptions are just beginning to adapt to today’s fashion, Elvis is a name that experienced this about 70 years ago and changed the course of fashion.

Every combination that the singer wore turned into a street trend the next day and shaped the popular looks of the season. The fact that someone with such a wide sphere of influence was open to distinctive looks had a profound effect on the fashion perception of the 50s and their perspective on gender in fashion. The style preferences of Elvis, who single-handedly steered men’s fashion, were far ahead of their time. You can think of Presley as the Lady Gaga or Harry Styles of the 50s. Before Elvis, it is not possible to see a heterosexual man combining a pink shirt, pink socks and pink belt. What about a gold suit? We don’t think so. Super mini shorts, lace shirts, glittery jackets, custom made shiny shoes and jewelry are some of Elvis’ favorite pieces. In other words, we can say that while fashion is a shallow platform for men and a playful freedom for women, Elvis rewrote the rules.

A Style Icon Ahead Of His Time: Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

When you enter the time warp, Elvis Presley has many looks that can be considered contrary to the period, but deserve the title of iconic. Interpreting traditional silhouettes from her own point of view in her daily looks, the star adopts the motto “More is more” when it comes to the stage. According to Tommy Hilfiger, Elvis is the first white male to be unafraid of the glow. Wearing a gold suit that cost $10,000 for the cover of his album “5000000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong”, Presley proves that he is the golden boy of male style. Wearing this gold suit is torture for Elvis, but for the singer, fashion and the continuation of the show are more important than anything else. In addition, this extravagant fashion sense of Elvis affects not only the street style of the 50s, but also the perspective of today’s celebrities and high fashion houses. From Brandon Flowers to Tupac, from Bruno Mars to Jared Leto, many names from all categories are experiencing the Midas touch inspired by Elvis. This gold-soaked look is also splashing out on the catwalks of brands like Versace and Costume National.

Contrastingly, floral patterns, which were considered feminine in the 50s, are one of the style signatures of the rock and roll king. The name behind the embroidered motifs on Elvis’ clothes is the singer’s grandmother. Confirming the place of dominant florals in men’s fashion, Elvis’ shirt in the movie “Blue Hawaii” inspires powerful fashion names such as Dior and Prada to launch beachfront inspired collections.

A Style Icon Ahead Of His Time: Elvis Presley

And of course, when gender-fluid is mentioned, the first looks that come to mind are Elvis’s overalls and cloaks embellished with stones. Elvis has no budget limit for these heavy and flashy costumes. The cost of the appearance, called The American Eagle, or Aloha, is exactly $ 65,000. Zeki Müren, one of the first names to come to mind with the stage outfits he said he designed himself, when asked about the similarity between him and Elvis Presley, he replied, “Our souls may have shown similarity”.

Presley questions gender stereotypes not only with her fashion sense but also with her hair. Long hair, which is considered feminine, is in Elvis’ repertoire. Inspired by his years as a truck driver, the pompadour model refers to Presley’s contradictory image behind crystals, while also supporting the masculine and sexy portrait of the iconic name. For this sharp and signature look, Elvis also does something not uncommon among men at the time, routinely dyeing his hair black. While three different waxes are used for this hairstyle, Elvis’s hair care is daily massaged with jojoba oil and vitamin E.

Well aware of his reputation and the image he created, was Elvis Presley also aware that his choices would have such a strong and long-term impact? Elvis, the king of rock and roll, style icon and the object of desire of the 50s, gives a lesson to those suffering from fragile masculinity: details that are considered feminine turn into a form of self-expression, taboo lines between the sexes are blurred and labels are being stripped away.

Long story short, if Harry Styles is performing in a fuchsia suit today and garnering applause for his style choices, he owes it a little bit to Elvis Presley.