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Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:55 am

Look, I like the jumpsuits. I like the idea. I think in many cases, Elvis' clothing in the '70s was both inventive and genuinely cool looking (his outfit for his meeting with President Nixon is AWESOME). That said....

As the '70s came toward their end, and jumpsuits and the like were growing increasingly out of fashion, even among the oddest rock stars, does anyone know why Elvis kept wearing them? Not only did he continue wearing them, but the designs got louder and louder and more outlandish....They were cool in '70-'73 but by '77 we're in the Punk Rock and Disco era. And they really didn't help hide his weight gain. The jumpsuits and huge sideburns, IMO, actually made his weight gain more noticeable, and in the mainstream's eye, people associate '70s Elvis with being a fat washed up guy huffing in a jumpsuit with gigantic sideburns and rings, and that's sad....Did he not see he was becoming something of a joke, as mean as it is to say it, being overweight and wearing gaudy jumpsuits?

What I'm asking is, why didn't Elvis drop the jumpsuits by '76-'77? Why didn't he just start wearing more "normal" clothes on stage?
Also, do you think if Elvis had lived into the '80s...Would he have continued wearing the jumpsuits and massive sideburns in the '80s?
Last edited by Errol Flynn on Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:59 am

Errol Flynn wrote:... why didn't Elvis drop the jumpsuits by '76-'77? Why didn't he just start wearing more "normal" clothes on stage?


Because he loved them very, very much.

Errol Flynn wrote:Also, do you think if Elvis had lived into the '80s...Would he have continued wearing the jumpsuits and massive sideburns in the '80s?


One can only dream of what might have been.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:43 am

I think it all depends on the suit.
And his wieght gain didn't help since looking good
in a jumpsuit would be more of a challenge.

But, I will say this, one of the highlites for me when I visited graceland
was seeing the jumpsuits in person.
They really are a work of art.

There are some that are just plain. Too plain.
Some are way to rhinestoney if that is a word.
I prefer the suits with less stones and more imboidery.

Some of the later suits I like are the Indian suit, the Flame suit, and the Tiger man suit.

But if you look at films from 1971, 1972, 1974, and 1975, you see that he did use alot of 2- piece suits.

Those are usually alot more flattering, even is the design is not the best, at least he looked better in those.

The worst suits for me are the Penguin suit, which made him look twice as heavy, and the Bi-centenial suits, both of which look way too over the top.

The ftd book, forgot the title, was fairly good at documenting the various on stage suits.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:20 am

Why?

Well, why did he tour the country with the exact same stage show for 5 years? Why did he visit the same towns and cities year after year? Why did he throw out scarves at every concert? By this point, Elvis was a guy stuck in a rut. His professional career had become a routine; there was no room for change.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:43 am

That's incredibly depressing....

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:09 am

Towards the end of the concert years say..1976 - 1977 his show had became kind of old-fashioned..it was a country stage show
with these jumpsuits that became out of date..I think he knew it..perhaps he had changed the outfits and songs if he hadn`t died that early and had been in good health..

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:04 am

I know a lot of fans say Elvis stayed with jumpsuits for too long but he evidently didn't care about what he wore.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:13 am

I agree that the best part of the Graceland tour is seeing these jumpsuits in person. I think back on how many pictures of I have seen of Elvis wearing these suits and now, I am looking at them right here in person. I can stand there and study in great detail just like some people study paintings in an art museum. Ekenee is right, they really are works of art. Having said all that, I agree with the original post. I too wish he would have ditched the suits in the last year or two. I think my favorite one is the dragon jumpsuit btw.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:35 am

When he gained weight, the suits became very unflattering. When Elvis grew older in my opinion sure did not develop a more sophisticated taste. He showed that in music and in fashion.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:49 am

Alexander wrote:When he gained weight, the suits became very unflattering...


Agreed. In most cases I don't think the jumpsuits were the problem. Look how great he looked in them in the early years.
It's just that jumpsuits are not flattering to those with, shall we say, a rounder figure. Alas, Elvis was fond of them, and seemed blind to the fact that they didn't suit him once he got to a certain weight.
And who the hell was gonna tell him otherwise? The fans were still screaming, the money was still coming in. Can anyone see any of the Memphis Mafia, or Ginger, or Vernon, or The Colonel saying to Elvis 'I want you to put on the Sundial Suit, and take a long hard look in the mirror'??

Towards the end of the 70s and into the beginning of the 80s, I'd like to think he would have moved towards two piece suits, but we'll never know.

As for the sideburns - If he cut those off in '77, I suspect his face would have appeared rounder, not thinner.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:28 pm

Well actually as the seventies progressed, outfits grew even louder in the music business in general. The 70s were not a great time to leave this mortal coil.

The intent behind the suits, leaving aside Elvis' weight gain, was to give the audience a larger than life experience, another thing they can talk about on the way out of the auditorium. With Elvis' weight at it was, even the '68 leather suit would have looked awful. Some of the suits were bad specifically because of Elvis' weight. Perhaps wearing a jacket and pants would have hid it a little better, but that would have been one less bit of spectacle.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:32 pm

I think the change should have happened right after "Aloha From Hawaii". It was then time for a new change, and a new challenge, sadly neither had happened.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:05 pm

Aloha should have been the end of the jumpsuits with the eagle one, the ultimate one. Every aspect of his career should have changed for the better after Aloha , but everything changed for the worse inlcuding the jumpsuits.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:13 pm

r&b wrote:Aloha should have been the end of the jumpsuits with the eagle one, the ultimate one. Every aspect of his career should have changed for the better after Aloha , but everything changed for the worse inlcuding the jumpsuits.


By all accounts Aloha was a roaring success.. so why change something that obviously worked.

Hindsight is annoying isn't it.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:27 pm

KevinK wrote:
r&b wrote:Aloha should have been the end of the jumpsuits with the eagle one, the ultimate one. Every aspect of his career should have changed for the better after Aloha , but everything changed for the worse inlcuding the jumpsuits.


By all accounts Aloha was a roaring success.. so why change something that obviously worked.

Hindsight is annoying isn't it.



A roaring success yes, but the pinnacle was reached, and the challenge over. What was the first thing Elvis did after the show? Got so stoned he couldnt go out the next day with the group. He knew the road was leading back to an awful gig in Vegas, which he hated. If there was something different ahead for him, maybe he would have fared better, thats all I'm saying.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:38 pm

Maybe he didn't change outfits because his weight went up and down.
I think up until 1975 he looked ok in the Indian suit etc.
When his weight really ballooned, he maybe trusted on the tight suit to cover the weight.
The opposite was true and I think nobody told him... well Lamar did!!

"When you start gaining weight with this outfit, you'll kill the first 4 rows with all the stones and studs flying off!"

Lamar once told he really said that to Elvis and it killed him. He thought it was freakin funny.

Now in November '76, he really lost many many pounds, and by Feb 77 he was looking worse than ever.
In two months time!!

In '77 Elvis just didn't care anymore.
If you read about the events of what happended in those final months, depression and health problems, I realize more than ever that he knew the end was near.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:51 pm

r&b wrote:
KevinK wrote:
r&b wrote:Aloha should have been the end of the jumpsuits with the eagle one, the ultimate one. Every aspect of his career should have changed for the better after Aloha , but everything changed for the worse inlcuding the jumpsuits.


By all accounts Aloha was a roaring success.. so why change something that obviously worked.

Hindsight is annoying isn't it.



A roaring success yes, but the pinnacle was reached, and the challenge over. What was the first thing Elvis did after the show? Got so stoned he couldnt go out the next day with the group. He knew the road was leading back to an awful gig in Vegas, which he hated. If there was something different ahead for him, maybe he would have fared better, thats all I'm saying.


Somehow I had a feeling that it wouldn't be long before the drug discussion began..... :facep:

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:57 pm

Justin wrote:Why?

Well, why did he tour the country with the exact same stage show for 5 years? Why did he visit the same towns and cities year after year? Why did he throw out scarves at every concert? By this point, Elvis was a guy stuck in a rut. His professional career had become a routine; there was no room for change.

Very well said, Justin. Agreed.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:11 pm

It's not very well said at all.

Elvis changed his show as much or more than many entertainers that I have seen down through the years. His first three or four songs were always the same, but if you check each year, you will see that he added his new hits into the lineup each year with the exception of his last. We have the luxury of hearing show after show with many of the same setlists. However, I saw othe entertainers for years and they basically had the same show year after year. Elvis did better than most.

Why did he throw scarves? Seriously? Because he wanted to give back something to his fans who wanted to take home part of him.

I agree the same towns year after years should have changed into bigger and better tours outside of the United States. I also agree that the jumpsuits should have been replaced as the '70s wore on, but the other issues chosen to pick apart here is not "Very well said."

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:58 pm

Rob wrote:It's not very well said at all.

Elvis changed his show as much or more than many entertainers that I have seen down through the years. His first three or four songs were always the same, but if you check each year, you will see that he added his new hits into the lineup each year with the exception of his last. We have the luxury of hearing show after show with many of the same setlists. However, I saw othe entertainers for years and they basically had the same show year after year. Elvis did better than most.

Why did he throw scarves? Seriously? Because he wanted to give back something to his fans who wanted to take home part of him.

I agree the same towns year after years should have changed into bigger and better tours outside of the United States. I also agree that the jumpsuits should have been replaced as the '70s wore on, but the other issues chosen to pick apart here is not "Very well said."


Very well said Rob :wink:

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:58 pm

For all the numerous discussions about Elvis needing to change his on stage attire after '73 or whenever, 20-20 is hindsight. In the early 70's the jumpsuits had become a trademark for Elvis and the Aloha show further cemented that idea in the mind of the general public. People went to the shows expecting to see him in a jumpsuit.

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:22 pm

promiseland wrote:I think the change should have happened right after "Aloha From Hawaii". It was then time for a new change, and a new challenge, sadly neither had happened.




+1 :smt023

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:52 pm

After Aloha, Elvis should have dropped the jumpsuits, dumped the Colonel, stopped touring and taken a year off to get healthy. Other than that, everything is fine.

Image

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:05 pm

Rob wrote:It's not very well said at all.

Elvis changed his show as much or more than many entertainers that I have seen down through the years. His first three or four songs were always the same, but if you check each year, you will see that he added his new hits into the lineup each year with the exception of his last. We have the luxury of hearing show after show with many of the same setlists. However, I saw othe entertainers for years and they basically had the same show year after year. Elvis did better than most.

Why did he throw scarves? Seriously? Because he wanted to give back something to his fans who wanted to take home part of him.

I agree the same towns year after years should have changed into bigger and better tours outside of the United States. I also agree that the jumpsuits should have been replaced as the '70s wore on, but the other issues chosen to pick apart here is not "Very well said."



Great post rob !!!

Re: Why didn't Elvis abandon the jumpsuits?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:26 pm

It's easy for us to offer our respective opinions on this topic. Yet by the mid-seventies the jumpsuits really became part of the excitement of the Elvis shows. I can recall having conversations with different people before the shows from 1974 until 1977 and every time I would hear, "I wonder what jumpsuit he will wear tonight?" I don't recall those converstions with the 1971 or 1972 shows I attended. There was a level of excitement, anticipation, of the jumpsuit just as there was for Elvis. It has already been stated how the jumpsuit collection at Graceland is a very popular part of the visit.
That being said, if it is true that Elvis "didn't care" because of his health issues in his later years, alongside that I would suggest that he knew there was an expectation from the fans to see a jumpsuit. Let's face it, with his weight issues for the filming of EIC, why would you wear the sundial jumspuit? The gold, the flashiness of the suit, even the regal impression of that suit was giving the fans what they wanted.
Obviously, there isn't a simple answer to Elvis and to why he did or did not do certain things. The so-called "concert years" do seem to follow the same tragic pattern as the so-called "movie years." In many ways it is a shame when one considers what Elvis still could have accomplished in his life. Maybe, to some extent, we fans should have been more demanding. Who knows....

rlj