The King’s New Clothes – Elvis Presley and Lansky Brothers
CLOSE

Visit Graceland

Plan your ultimate trip to Graceland with our Plan Your Visit tool. View tours, options, and much more in order to create an experience fit for the King himself!

Make Plans Now

CLOSE

Ticket Info

Ultimate VIP Tour

Starts at $174.00

Elvis Entourage VIP Tour

Starts at $99.00

ELVIS Experience Tour

Starts at $61.00

Graceland Mansion Only Tour

Starts at $41.00

Buy Tickets Now
Explore Ticket Options

CLOSE

MAP & DIRECTIONS

Graceland Parking

3717 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116

Only 10 minutes from downtown and 3 minutes from the Memphis Airport.

The Guest House at Graceland

3600 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116

See a Graceland property map
CLOSE

Hours

Daily:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Free walk-ups to the Meditation Garden are daily from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.

 

 

Graceland Blog

THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF GRACELAND

Welcome to the official blog of Elvis Presley’s Graceland! You can take Elvis-inspired quizzes, get first-looks on events here at Graceland and how-to guides on everything you need to know about Elvis and his home. Like Elvis, we come with a little southern charm

The King’s New Clothes – Elvis Presley and Lansky Brothers

They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. A young Elvis Presley did just that, with the help of Lansky Brothers Men's Clothing Store.

Elvis began shopping at this Memphis store when he was still in high school. He wanted to be an entertainer, and he followed many of the city's local entertainers into Lansky Brothers. It wasn't long before Elvis was dressing just like the King of Rock 'n' Roll he always knew he'd be.

Lansky Brothers Men’s Clothing Store began in 1946, when Samuel Lewis Lansky, a Russian immigrant, purchased a store at 126 Beale Street for $125. He bought the store for his sons, Bernard and Guy. The store that had previously inhabited that location sold women’s clothes, so the Lanskys tossed the women’s wear and opted to sell what was readily available – army surplus clothing, thanks to the end of World War II. Once that trend died down, the men found their true calling – selling fashion for men.

A Lansky Brothers ad from the 1950s showcased shirts and jackets with names like "Date Bait," "Super Cool" and "The Hipster." A Lansky Brothers ad from the 1950s showcased shirts and jackets with names like "Date Bait," "Super Cool" and "The Hipster."

Bernard and Guy often traveled to California and New York to check out and buy the latest styles, which caused a stir back home in Memphis – no one had seen such bold colors and patterns. As Bernard said, the store sold clothes in vibrant “Life Savers” colors, like red, orange, yellow, green and purple. The Lansky Brothers display windows were always a sight to see, full of flashy, eye-catching designs. The store became a hit with local entertainers, church groups and bands. The guys focused on selling quality clothes at a fair price – in fact, the store claimed it was “just around the corner from high prices.”

Bernard Lansky first noticed a young Elvis Presley checking out the store’s window displays in the spring of 1952. He invited Elvis to come in and shop, but the young king declined, saying he didn’t have any money. As the story goes, Elvis told him, “When I get rich, I’ll buy you out,” and Bernard replied, “Do me a favor: Don’t buy me out, just buy from me.”

The Lansky Brothers had specially-made tags for their famous clientele. Elvis' tag said, "Styled for Elvis Presley." The Lansky Brothers also had tags for artists like Albert King, Sam the Sham, Bobby Bland and Willie Mitchell. The Lansky Brothers had specially-made tags for their famous clientele. Elvis' tag said, "Styled for Elvis Presley." The Lansky Brothers also had tags for artists like Albert King, Sam the Sham, Bobby Bland and Willie Mitchell.

Elvis made good on that deal. Soon, he returned to the store to buy a shirt for $3.95. When prom season arrived, Elvis asked the tailors at Lansky’s to create a unique suit for him – one with a pink coat, black pants and a pink and black cummerbund. The pink and black combination wasn't popular at the time. Elvis wanted to stand out, though, and he didn’t care what the trends were. He followed his own unique sense of style – with the help of the Lansky’s.

Elvis and Dewey Phillips, the DJ who was the first to play Elvis' music on the radio, had fun on their shopping excursions in Lansky's. Elvis and Dewey Phillips, the DJ who was the first to play Elvis' music on the radio, had fun on their shopping excursions in Lansky's.

As Elvis’ career took off, Lansky Brothers provided his clothing for appearances on the Louisiana Hayride, the Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show, the Ed Sullivan show and much more. In the famous photo of Elvis and Muhammad Ali, Elvis is sporting a lush navy jacket he bought at Lansky Brothers. The plaid jacket he wore on the Ed Sullivan Show, purchased at Lansky’s, made an impression, even if the show was broadcast in black and white. The red jacket he wore in “Jailhouse Rock” promotional photos was also bought at Lansky’s.

Bernard Lansky said of Elvis: "I never saw anyone so crazy over clothes." Bernard Lansky said of Elvis: "I never saw anyone so crazy over clothes."

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll remained a loyal customer for the rest of his life.  He visited the store when he was in town, and eventually, Bernard and Guy had to open the store at midnight or at other odd hours so Elvis could safely shop in private. If Elvis was too busy to come by the store, the brothers sent truckloads of clothes to Graceland for Elvis to try on and purchase from home. And if Elvis was in town and shopping with other patrons, he’d often buy clothes for other shoppers, no matter the price. Classic Elvis.

Sadly, Lansky Brothers also dressed Elvis for the final time, too; the king was buried in a white suit purchased at Lansky Brothers.

Lansky's loved celebrating the King of Rock 'n' Roll. In 1961, the brothers had a large card in the shop for fans to sign that wished Elvis a merry Christmas, happy new year and happy birthday. Lansky's loved celebrating the King of Rock 'n' Roll. In 1961, the brothers had a large card in the shop for fans to sign that wished Elvis a merry Christmas, happy new year and happy birthday.

Lansky Brothers didn’t just dress the king – they provided stunning stagewear for many artists, including Johnny Cash, B.B. King, James Brown, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, The Beach Boys, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas and David Porter (a recent Elvis Week guest).

Bernard Lansky passed in 2012, but the Lansky’s tradition continues. And you can still shop at Lansky Brothers in Memphis – one at the original location, sharing the space with the Hard Rock Café, and there are Lansky shops inside the Peabody Hotel. The store continues to dress stars like the king’s own daughter, Lisa Marie, as well as Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, Keith Urban, the Alabama Shakes and Carrie Underwood. Bernard’s son, Hal, was an Elvis Week guest in 2016, where he shared stories of Elvis and his dad. Seventy years after the first store opened, Lansky Brothers is still the place to go for “clothes that rock,” and it will always be known as the “clothier to the king” -  just as the store’s mottos say.

You can see some of Elvis’ Lansky Brothers outfits here at Graceland inside our Fashion King exhibit, which celebrates Elvis’ personal style. If you see what you like, you can purchase replicas at the Fashion King gift shop, too.

Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland at 9:11 AM
Share |