Long before the Overton Square revival returned the district to prominence, Mr. Lincoln’s Costume Shoppe was a neighborhood mainstay. For more than three decades, this storied shop has provided Memphians and visitors with costumes for rent and theatrical makeup, accessories and masquerade masks for sale.
The added foot traffic and excitement from Overton Square’s resurgence has made Mr. Lincoln’s more visible to passersby—great news for owners Barry and Katie Lincoln! The shop was around for nine years before the Lincolns came across it as customers, renting costumes for Annesdale-Snowden Historic District home tours. At the time, Barry worked for a potato chip company. After a layoff, he decided to go into business for himself, serendipitously around the time the store’s previous owners decided to sell. He purchased the store, located on Florence Street on the west side of Overton Square, and renamed it Mr. Lincoln’s Costume Shoppe.
Having owned the costume shop now for 25 years, the Lincolns are gearing up for their busiest season. Although Halloween is Christmas for Mr. Lincoln’s, the store stays busy year-round, with additional peaks at Mardi Gras and Christmas. Along with costuming individual customers, the shop supplies costumes, makeup and accessories for movie companies, advertising agencies, conventions and plays.
A peek into Mr. Lincoln’s reveals racks of costumes sorted by period with cute titles (like the ones above). A whole shelf is dedicated to platform boots, and the store carries loads of unusual accessories. Visitors can find white knee-high boots, saddle shoes, feather boas, hats in all shapes and sizes, fake hair, false eyelashes and rubber masks, with faces both adorable and gruesome. Also on the shelves are glasses, men’s and women’s wigs, fake wounds, Viking and knight headwear, and ornate half-masks just waiting for a ball.
So what’s the most memorable costuming moment in Mr. Lincoln’s history? Definitely the time he outfitted a bunch of male oil executives in Vegas showgirl attire, Barry says.
From now until November 3, Mr. Lincoln’s Costume Shoppe is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Find Mr. Lincoln’s Costume Shoppe at 29 Florence St., call (901) 726-6084 or visit lincolncostumes.com.