For several years, ElvisBlog has celebrated the start of summer with an annual Elvis T-shirt review. Dozens of new designs show up each year at ShopElvis.com, so I would study the new ones and pick my favorite top 10 or 12. I was getting ready to start my 2012 research when an e-mail came in from Ashly at T-Shirts.com. They too, offer a nice selection of Elvis T-shirts.
Ashly suggested they could pick a Top Ten from the Elvis T-shirts they offer and volunteered to write about them following the pattern used here in previous years. I said, “Sure, why not. Let’s see what you’ve got.” So, here are T-Shirts.com’s selections, five in men’s shirts and five in woman’s shirts. I couldn’t help myself from adding little comments under their narrative for each one.
Top 5 Elvis Shirts for Men
1. Black Leather
T-Shirts.com: When we visual Elvis, it’s almost impossible not to picture him in tight black leather from head to foot. This T-shirt displays one of the most famous images of the singer, which was on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1969. The shirt features him playing in front of a small audience at NBC’s ’68 Comeback Special.
ElvisBlog: I’ve got no problem with this pick as the best men’s shirt. I favor black T-shirts, Elvis looks so baaaad in his black leather, and the shirt isn’t cluttered up with a lot of text.
2. Cash and the King
T-Shirts.com: You may have thought it was impossible to bring two legends back to life for the price of one, but this t-shirt makes it happen. Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley shared a love for rock n’ roll, blues, country and gospel music. The two took part in an impromptu gospel jam session in 1956.
ElvisBlog: Another good black T-shirt. Notice that Elvis is wearing a tux. The picture was taken on December 21, 1957 when Elvis visited (but did not perform at) The Grand ‘Ole Opry. He went backstage and had his picture taken with Johnny Cash and other Opry performers Hank Snow, Ray Price, Ferlin Husky, and Faron Young.. Legend has it that Elvis changed to street clothes afterward and threw the tux in the trash.
3. American Eagle Jumpsuit
T-Shirts.com: Besides tight black leather, what comes to mind when you picture Elvis performing? If his studded white American Eagle jumpsuit, bedazzled belt buckle and manly chest come to mind, you’ll be taking care of business with this American Eagle jumpsuit T-shirt.
ElvisBlog: That’s a great promo, but I’m not so sure about this design inspired by the jumpsuit Elvis wore on the Aloha from Hawaii TV special. I think I would feel a little goofy wearing it. However, Ashly at T-Shirts.com says it’s a great seller, so it certainly appeals to other folks. Maybe it should be offered as a women’s T, as well.
4. Jailhouse Rock
T-Shirts.com: This T-shirt pours with Elvis’ musical passion and original spirit which coincided with Presley’s motion picture and is said to inspire the first ever music video. This T-shirt emits an emotional grandeur for true Elvis fans.
ElvisBlog: I have a growing file of Photoshopped images that insert this Elvis pose into all sorts of different contexts. Well, it might as well be inserted into a T-shirt design, too, and this one is pretty good. Count all the colors: gray, yellow, black, white, red, and skintone. “Jailhouse Rock” should be higher than # 4.
T-Shirts.com: This one is only for the manliest of men. This t-shirt sports guns and the narcotics badge Elvis personally requested from President Nixon. It also gives you a lovely angle of his devastatingly good looks. Sideburns and all.
ElvisBlog: I’m not too sure about this design which is a cut-and-paste collage of three unrelated photos. There is no real connection between Elvis’ guns and the DEA badge he got when he visited Nixon in the White House. Less informed fans may not know the history of that badge and have no idea what they are seeing.
Top 5 Elvis Shirts for Women
T-Shirts.com: Leather and guitars … what more could a woman ask for? This unique tee is beautifully detailed and captures the essence of the talented Elvis exquisitely. This T-shirt features a different design in the front and back.
ElvisBlog: This shirt has more going for it than you would know by reading the promo above. That’s not an Elvis photograph; it’s original Joe Petruccio artwork. Elvis fans know about all his outstanding paintings of Elvis, and they would be more inclined to buy this shirt because of it, so tell them. Great choice for # 1.
2. Blue Suede Shoes
T-Shirts.com: You can knock me down, step in my face, slander my name all over the place. Do anything you want to do but lay off them shoes! This T-shirt features Elvis with the title of the famous song “Blue Suede Shoes” originally written and recorded by Carl Perkins.
ElvisBlog: I like the shirt, but I can’t figure out why it is called “Blue Suede Shoes.” There should be more than just those words printed across Elvis’ motorcycle hat. A better name would be “Biker Elvis.”
T-Shirts.com: Fall in love with Elvis all over again in this smooches tee. Nothing says Love Me Tender more than a heart embroidered Elvis with lips puckered and ready to plant a big wet one.
ElvisBlog: Some Elvis designs work well for both men’s and women’s T-shirts, but not this one. Strictly for the gals. I really like the design, so I’d move “Smootches” up to # 2 on the women’s list.
4. Blue Suede Shoes … (Again!)
T-Shirts.com: Express your love for blue suede shoes and the young dashing Elvis with this T-shirt. The graphics are in a lovely blue color featuring Mr. Presley himself strumming those beautiful fingers on the guitar.
ElvisBlog: Now I’m more confused. Why are there two T-shirts both named “Blue Suede Shoes,” and neither has an image of any shoes? I don’t mean to quibble with T-Shirts.com. They don’t name them, just sell them. Not a bad design, though. I like the other design a little bit better.
5. Mug Shot
T-Shirts.com: Whether they admit it or not, all women love bad boys. Especially a bad boy with sideburns, sweet shades and the ability to gyrate his hips in a motion that will make you swoon without warning. This is a mug shot you can’t help but display proudly.
ElvisBlog: This is an interesting T-shirt, but the image deserves some explanation. According to Wikipedia, this mug shot was taken in 1970, probably when Elvis was in Washington D.C. visiting the FBI headquarters.
So, there it is, ElvisBlog’s “2012 Elvis T-Shirt Review.” Many thanks to the folks at T-Shirts.com for making their top 10 picks from the Elvis shirts they offer. I’ve always just looked at his shirts as something fun to wear, but T-Shirts.com sees something deeper.
“These Elvis T-shirt treasures give you a chance to hold on to memories tangibly or simply express your love for an artist who left a significant footprint on American culture. These shirts keep the King of Rock N’ Roll close to your heart.”
© 2012 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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