Andy Witchger Tame Impala Surly Brewing in Minneapolis

The music of Tame Impala is constantly evolving. And so too is the fashion of Kevin Parker. Consider the fresh-faced 24-year-old in a Jimi Hendrix headband performing at Coachella in 2011. He is close to unrecognisable next to the mature, Versace suit-wearing Kevin Parker of 2021.

In the ten years in between, we have seen an obsession with scarves during the Lonerism era and the introduction of Gucci jackets following the success of Currents. Parker has more recently incorporated elements of hip hop, disco glamour and designer fashion into his wardrobe. No, he is no Harry Styles. More attention is still given to his guitar pedals than his wardrobe. Nevertheless, Parker’s neo-psychedelic dress sense has influenced millions. (Not to mention inspired hundreds of thousands of shaggy beards and shoulder-length hairdos.)

On the much-delayed The Slow Rush US tour, we have seen Kevin Parker wearing a mix of new and classic styles. Onstage he continues to champion a casual hippy look. We also see a growing interest in grunge-era flannel shirts and vintage band tees. Yes, his fashion sense has changed. Kevin Parker’s flair for originality, however, has not. What follows are seven recent looks that capture the essence of Tame Impala’s style.

1. Tame Impala at the Chase Center, San Francisco

Tame Impala Via Riff Magazine
Via Riff Magazine

Appearing on one of the first nights of his 2021 US tour, Parker wears a tie-die Grateful Dead tee. “Love is real,” it reads. “Of all possible worlds, we only got one. We gotta ride on.” The shirt references the lyrics from two Grateful Dead songs. The first is ‘Not Fade Away‘. The second is ‘Ripple.’  Parker’s shirt appears to be a vintage original. And if this is the case he has made a considerable investment. One bidder in a recent auction purchased a similar shirt for a record-breaking $20,000 (US).

2. Tame Impala at the Hollywood Bowl, LA

Tame Impala Hollywood Bowl
Via Relix.

Appearing at the 17,000 capacity Hollywood Bowl, Tame Impala plays to one of its largest audiences of 2021. Kevin Parker dresses for the occasion. He pairs his Grateful dead tee with slouch jeans and white sneakers. Denim jackets have been a popular staple of his wardrobe for many years. Here Parker glamourises his classic look with a crystal rhinestone-studded jacket.

3. Tame Impala at Life is Beautiful Festival, Las Vegas

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala [via Flood Magazine]

Via Flood Magazine

Kevin Parker was introduced to The Smashing PumpkinsSiamese Dream by his brother as a child. Won over by Billy Corgan‘s angsty lyrics and heavy riffs, he became a lifelong fan. Here we see Parker pay tribute to ’90s grunge with a flannel shirt, baggy denim jeans and Ghost Eaters band tee.

4. Tame Impala at the Moda Centre, Portland

Tame Impala Portland Via Katu
Via Katu

Arriving in Portland Kevin Parker combines his grunge and hippy looks. A brown flannel overshirt pairs with a multicolour ‘Rainbow Maker’ Online Ceramics tee. This LA clothing brand tie-dies all products by hand.

5. Tame Impala at American Airlines Center, Dallas

Tame Impala Mike Brookes/USA News
Via Mike Brookes/Dallas Observer

What does Kevin Parker wear? How best to describe Tame Impala’s style? “Homeless chic,”  one fan tells us. “But somehow costs more than my car.” A local of Kevin Parker’s home city of Perth gives another view. They note his dress choice is “Aussie stoner getup.” The kind that is commonly worn by other bohemian residents of the Australian city.

6. Tame Impala at Outside Lands, San Francisco

Kevin Parker, Tame Impala as The Wiggles for Halloween 2021

Via Joshua Mellin/Flickr

In March 2021 Australian children’s band, The Wiggles covered Tame Impala’s Lonerism era single ‘Elephant’ on national radio. At Tame Impala’s Halloween performance at San Francisco’s Outside Lands, Parker returns the favour. Sporting a “Blue Wiggle” top, he makes a playful salute to his fellow Australian group.

7. Tame Impala at the Western Australian Music Awards Awards, Perth

Tame Impala WAM (Via Xpress magazine)
Via Xpress magazine

Appearing at the WAM Awards, a March 2021 warm-up for his US shows, Kevin Parker delivers a knockout rendition of InnerSpeaker’s ‘Solitude Is Bliss.’ Here he sports a casual look. Parker pairs a grey tee and blue denim jeans. A throwback to the shoeless hippy chic of the InnerSpeaker era.

The Key Takeaway

The way Kevin Parker dresses reflects who he is on the inside. His clothing is an outward manifestation of the playful, creative and laid-back aspects of his personality millions of Tame Impala fans have come to embrace. While his clothing choices show a certain reverence for personal heroes, he is not given to slavish imitation.

What is more, the Tame Impala mastermind is willing to take risks. Kevin Parker embraces change. He can also dress up if the situation demands. Though never at the expense of comfort.

All this considered the matter of dressing like Tame Impala is not so much as about owning the right outfit. But having the confidence to be yourself. And, this being done, finding the clothes to match.

Riley Fitzgerald

Creative Director

Riley Fitzgerald is Managing Editor and Creative Director of The Glitter & Gold.

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The Glitter and Gold
The Glitter and Gold is a digital magazine and record store in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
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