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Elvis Style – From zoot suits to jumpsuits

Blue suede shoes, a golden suit, a pink Cadillac and the perfect quiff. Elvis had style!

Many books have been written about Elvis, his life and his music. This book, written by fashion journalist Zoey Goto, highlights the King’s style. A style that didn’t just show in his clothing, but also in other items and accessories. Think about his airplane the ‘Lisa Marie’ and the Jungle Room, for instance.

Elvis Fashion

Looking good was important to Elvis. However, he didn’t have money for fine clothes when he was young. His family was very poor, which is why he could only dream of the colourful clothes he was admiring as a 17-year-old boy, in the Lansky Bros window: the store in Memphis Tennessee, where Elvis later on bought a lot of his outfits and where Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and B.B. King were also customers.

In 1954, when he was 19 years old, Elvis recorded the single “That’s All Right Mama” at Sun Records. It wasn’t long after that, he had made enough money to go back to the store and shop ‘till he dropped.
After a while, Elvis was gifted a lot of Lanksy Bros. clothes, as long as he told people where he would get his outfits from. This turned out to be a great deal for the shop, which still is in business today!

Elvis Style book review - The Greaser and the Doll
Photo from Elvis Style: Bernard J. Lansky Collection

Aside from looking good, having a style of his own was very important to Elvis. Before he started wearing clothes that were designed for him personally and he still had to buy his outfits in stores, he would often have his clothes customized. By his grandmother for instance, who would turn his outfits into something personal with needle and tread.

“Elvis Style” showcases a number of iconic Elvis outfits, such as his golden suit, his denim outfit from “Jailhouse Rock”, Alfred Shaheen’s “Blue Hawaii” Aloha shirt, of course the leather suit from the “’68 Comeback Special” and many of his Las Vegas getups.

Did you know?

♠ Levi’s sold “Elvis Presley Jeans” in 1956, even though Elvis didn’t like jeans. They reminded him of the poverty he grew up in. Even though denim has become a familiar look now, denim pants were workman’s clothing.
♥ There were “I Hate Elvis” badges for sale in 1956 to make money on non-fans. This was an idea of his manager, Coronel Tom Parker.

Elvis Hair

Elvis never had bad hair days. His hair always looked amazing! Even when he was enjoying a very rare day off, he would make sure his pompadour was in perfect shape. I can’t imagine what Elvis must’ve looked like if he was still alive and balding or completely bald.

In this book, you can read what products Elvis used to style his hair and for what amount of money one of his locks of hair was sold in 2002.

Did you know?

♦ Bruno Mars started his musical career as an Elvis impersonator? He was performing as “Little Elvis” since he was four years old. The tiny Hawaiian was doing so well, he even got a small part in the movie “Honeymoon in Vegas”, staring Nicolas Cage, James Caan and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Elvis Food

When you think about Elvis and food, you probably think of a peanut butter sandwich with banana and bacon… Elvis loved the peanut butter-and-bacon-combo so much, he once flew his private jet from Memphis to Denver only to pay 40 dollars for the “Fools Gold”, a sandwich with peanut butter, jelly and bacon served by “The Colorado Mine company”.

This restaurant is no longer in business, but if you want to try the “Fools Gold” yourself, you can! Nick Andurlakis, an old employee of “The Colorado Mine Company” who invented the sandwich and served it to the King on that famous trip, now has his own restaurant called “Nick’s Café”. During on of our trips to New York City, we had lunch at Peanut Butter & Co (which is now closed, unfortunately). The Doll ordered one of their bestsellers: “The Elvis”.

Elvis Style book review - The Greaser and the Doll

Elvis did not dine in fancy restaurants, he preferred having simple meals in his hotel room or at home. He liked his steak the same way I like ‘em: “I like it well done. I ain’t orderin’ a pet” is what he used to say.

You can read about his favourite food and dinner in “Elvis Style”.


Elvis enjoyed buying cars. Especially Cadillacs. In his life, he bought almost 300 cards. Most of which, he would give away as presents. Like the pink Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 he bought for his mother in 1955. Pink wasn’t an original factory colour, so Elvis asked his neighbour to paint the car. His mother didn’t have a driver’s license…

Elvis would have George Barris, famous for the Batmobile, customize a lot of his cars. In addition to his cars, Elvis owned several motorcycles and two airplanes. You can read about these in the book as well.

Elvis Architecture

Graceland is the first home you think of when you think of Elvis. He grew up in a home that would completely fit into Graceland’s living room. When he was young, Elvis had moved over 15 times, because his parents had trouble paying the rent.

As a 13-year-old boy, Elvis and his family moved from Tupelo to Memphis, where he at 21 years old bought his first home on Audubon Drive, and later on his famous Graceland. In “Elvis Style”, you can read everything about this amazing home.

Elvis and Priscilla spent their honeymoon in a Mid-Century Modern home in Palm Springs, which is now called the Honeymoon Hideaway. Both Graceland and the Honeymoon Hideaway are tourist attractions, now. The Doll and I hope to visit the Palm Springs home in 2017.

Elvis Style book review - The Greaser and the Doll

Zoey Goto

Zoey Goto is a journalist from London, specialized in fashion, design and lifestyle. She writes for several magazines such as GQ, NME and Elle. Obviously, she is also the author of this wonderful book!



Listen to

– Arthur Crudup – That’s All Right (1946)
– Bruce Springsteen – Pink Cadillac (1984)
– Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)

Elvis Style book review - The Greaser and the Doll


Titel: Elvis Style, from zoot suits to jumpsuits
Author: Zoey Goto
Publisher: Redshank Books
ISBN: 9780993000225
Release date: July 2016
Number of pages: 218



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The Greaser

Mixologist in the making, photographer and tiki enthusiast. The Greaser writes about cocktails, music, movies, and more.

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