Rocketman: Take Off Into Self Expression and You Do You

Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is truly mesmorizing in his portrayal of Elton John in the bio-fantasy musical Rocketman. Ahh, but the music, though. Crocodile Rock! Saturday Night’s Allright for Fighting! I’m Still Standing! And… and….

Oh, who are we kidding?

The real star of the movie is the costumes! All 85 of them, including 60 pairs of glasses and 60 pairs of shoes.

The film leaves no doubt that Elton, arguably one of the most flamboyant artists on the planet, was all about self expression. Understatement?

Elton John wasn’t always Elton John. First he was Reginald Dwight. Presented primarily in flashback, the story spans a period of 30 years, following his rise from shy piano prodigy to international superstar, all while wrestling with his complicated relationship with an unaffectionate father, addictions, his sexuality and loneliness.

It is set apart from the standard biopic by serving as a legitimate musical. For instance, starting in with one song and continuing with it into another setting of his life. The musical numbers are sometimes prone to flights of visual fancy. It works and should delight even those with casual recognition of his music.

Oh, and that wardrobe! It moves.

Dress to Express (Or Rock)

An any teenager would tell you, outfits are the ultimate form of visual self expression! And as any adult in the workforce would tell you, dress for success!

However you want to dress it up, we send messages about ourselves and it begins every morning.

Costume Designer Julian Day said the costumes and designs in Rocketman were deliberate and underscore how Elton feels throughout the film and where he is in life.

That devil outfit? Elton dons that during his bad boy period, but it also expressed his need for real love. Notice the heart shapes everywhere in its design, right down to the wings.

The Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ensemble – ruby red slippers, a fur coat, a metallic shirt, and straw hat – pays homage to the four heroes of the classic Wizard of Oz. Day said it represents his search for self acceptance and self fulfillment.

Outfitting our Personality

Clothing expresses personality! But is there a shadow side to reoutfitting our image?

The movie hints at it. Read this exchange between Elton and his songwriter and collaborator Bernie (Jamie Bell, Fantastic Four):

Bernie Taupin: It used to just be the two of us. Now there’s busloads of people just to do the music. Hang on, hang on, don’t you want to just go out there and sing without this ridiculous paraphernalia? You know, just be yourself, Reg?
Elton John: Why the f**k would I want that, Bernie? You know, you wouldn’t say this s**t to me if you were a real friend. People don’t pay to see Reginald Dwight. They pay to see Elton John! 

….it shows the dangers of being caught up in a persona and the personality that you invent …

– Elton John

In an interview with, Elton – real Elton, not movie Elton – described his outlandish 70s antics as a coping mechanism. “I’m glad that I became a performer because I love performing more than anything,” he said. “But initially, as in this movie, it shows the dangers of being caught up in a persona and the personality that you invent … and then losing sight of who you aren’t, and you don’t know who you are anymore. And then you end up in rehab and then you have to start your life basically all over again.”

As if to further emphasize that thought, there is the title of his 1988 album, Reg Strikes Back.

Let’s Move

To recap:

Clothing and fashion is a form of self expression and can sync up with our personality and mood. It can be a confidence builder, making us feel empowered and more in touch with our inner self.

Take it a step further and dress how you want to feel. That will help you embody the state of mind you seek and can shape others’ perception of you in a positive way.

But take a lesson from Elton and don’t take it too far and invent a persona for the sake of changing persona. Be true to yourself.

You shouldn’t come out any worse for wear!

Rocketman is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Rocketman (2019)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Lee Hall

Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard

Rated R for language throughout, some drug use and sexual content


  1. April

    I haven’t watched this movie yet. I definitely need to add it to my list of movies to watch! It will be fun to see how his various costumes reflect what’s happening in his life. Thanks for putting this movie on my radar!

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  2. Ashlyn

    I haven’t seen this movie, but I have seen Elton John in concert, and he was great! I will have to check out this movie now. I definitely think it’s important to dress how you want to be seen by being true to yourself. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. James

    Fantastic movie from a non Elton John fan. It’s something I didn’t notice with costumes to reflect how he was feeling.

    I use dressing up in a suit to help my confidence- it makes me feel more professional and better looking, which is good for days when I feel down. I’d often show up to the office on these days in a suit to help myself.

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