I would like to jump in immediatley. First of all to state I am completely at JJ's side in this matter. About two years ago JJ asked me if I would like to join him on his site. He wanted me to provide him with my jumpsuit drawings and background information. And I happily did so. First of all I was caught by his dedication but more than anything else hiw willingness to stay open for different sources of information. JJ is not the kind of person who takes everything for granted and so am I. We've found common ground here. Working together with JJ also sharpened my skills and so you could say we help each other.
Now for the suit. JJ has already layed down the rough lines for it. I would like to get into detail here. At the end of 1973 (during his August/September season in Las Vegas) Elvis started to wear a suit that was not exactly a well thought-of design. It was covered with stones and studs and very colourful to say the least. It was nick-named the "Kitchen Sink Suit". This was a phrase designer Gene Doucette used when the suit was finished: "We've used up everything except the kitchen sink!"
This suit was done with the last pieces of material they've had because Elvis needed a suit "in a rush". Elvis wore it several times during his last 1973 season and started wearing it again during the first months of 1974. Elvis wore the suit on March 20th, 1974 in Memphis while the live album was being recorded. For this reason fans started naming this suit the "Memphis Suit". But the original name was/is "Arabian".
Just before the spring of 1974 Gene found a way to use embroidery on the suits. The reason he developped this way of designing was that the suits would be lighter in weight and therefor easier for Elvis to wear. A whole new line of suits saw the light of day, all done in embroidery. Two suits that has been always associated with 1976 and 1977 made their debut during Elvis Lake Tahoe season in October 1974: the "Mexican Sundial" and a new version of the "Arabian", this time done in embroidery. Therefor we have two suits baring the same name. To avoid confusion we now talk about the 1973 "Arabian" and the 1974 "Arabian". This last suit is better known as "Ace of Spades" or "King of Spades".
Elvis used two belts on this suit. In 1974 he used the original designed belt. When Elvis started to use the 1974 "Arabian" again in the fall of 1976 he used another belt; the one from the 1975 "V-Neck". In 1977 the 1974 "Arabian" was used again and this time Elvis altered between the original belt and the 1975 "V-neck" belt. Looking closely at the 1976 pictures it might come to your attention that the suit looks larger than in 1974. That is right. I asked Gene if there were two versions. But Gene explained that after the Aloha Show in 1973 they started to anticipate on Elvis weight swings and build in the possibility to let the suit out if the situation asked for it.
It's not only the in the pictures you can see the differences between 1974, 1976 and 1977. The above story was told to me by the designer of this suit; Gene Doucette. If he is the maker, there is no reason for me to doubt. He was/is able to explain the details of each suit with so much care and dedication, you can almost see him making the suit. Besides that; a picture don't lie. We are all Elvis fans, we know our stuff. Okay, some people are better in dating pictures than others. JJ has already explained the details like the sideburns and the 1968 Ebony Gibson J-200 versus the Martin D-35. I would like to add that over the years the Graceland Archives have added a lot of confusion in the Elvis world by sticking to lies, myths and half-truths. Personally I rather rely on the knowledge of the average Elvis-fan than on what the Archives has to say.
Below you will see two sets of pictures I have made for comparing. Both 1974 pictures have already been posted by JJ. On the first picture the left one is from 1974, the right one from 1976. On the second one the upper picture is from 1974 and the one below from 1976.