Happy National Wear Your Lilly Day!! I feel there is no better way to celebrate the “barefoot queen of pink and green” than to share with y’all why I love Lilly Pulitzer so much.
Since 1959 ish…..
Holy moly there is a ton of history behind the bright prints and little shifts!!
Lilly Mckim was born in 1931… we think (she liked to be mysterious about her EXACT age) and lived a life most of us can only experience in the movies! She was raised in a wealthy and privileged home in New York. Despite how she was brought up she was a RULE BREAKER!! Her first husband, Peter Pulitzer, and she fell in love and at the age of 21 and eloped (trust me, this was NOT something you did back then). Following their marriage, the two lovebirds moved to Palm Beach, FL, a vacay spot where many of their peers spent their winters. Lilly had another idea, she and Peter decided to live in the beautiful resort town year round, GENIUS!!
If you’d heard it once you know the rest of the story…
…it all started with a juice stand.
In order to keep herself occupied Lilly took advantage of the citrus groves Peter owned and opened a Juice Stand on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. The only problem was the juice stains she would get on her clothes!! Lilly’s solution was simple: to have her seamstress make simple shift dresses out of bright and colorful prints that would hide the juice stains!! Eventually people were more interested in buying her dresses than the juice!! The brand really blew up when first lady and style icon Jackie Kennedy (a former classmate of Lilly’s at Miss Porter’s School) was photographed wearing “a Lilly.”
How To Be a “Lilly Girl”
Lilly Pulitzer is more than just clothes, it is a lifestyle. It is about having fun and being happy!! Just take a look at some of Lilly’s infamous quotes….
“Being happy NEVER goes out of style”
“Life’s a party, dress like it!”
“It’s always summer somewhere!”
“Not always sunny but in a SUNNY STATE OF MIND”
“Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s how you live”
The Lilly girl is someone who lives as much like Lilly herself as possible!! Someone who is always wearing BRIGHT colors and CRAZY prints which reflect her attitude and her mood. Someone who only yells STOP during a party if it is in the name of love, it’s hammer time or it’s to collaborate and listen. Someone who is a RULE BREAKER, party crasher, drink champagne and dance on tables type of girl. Someone who knows that a party without cake and toasts is just a meeting. Someone who will stay out until sunrise (no one looks back on the nights they got plenty of sleep!!) Someone on who is happy, fun and just themselves. Someone who always remembers “life’s a PARTY, dress like it!”
The bright and crazy prints that Lilly once wore to hide a spill are now an infamous trademark that you can spot a mile away. Today, Lilly Pulitzer has artists who design every print BY HAND! Look closely and see what you can find hidden in your fav prints: critters, cucumbers and cocktails OH MY(is that a monkey drinking a mimosa on you dress??)!! In addition, EVERY SINGLE PRINT from the beginning has “Lilly” hidden somewhere in it.
Speaking of prints, one of my all time fav prints IS BACK…. Lobstah Roll!! Check out what Lilly has in this print.
Lilly is not given the credit she deserves for the impact she had on fashion in the 60s! She had simple shift dresses made up to be more comfortable out in the sunshine of Florida. They had slits on the sides to make the more liberating and were lined so she didn’t have to wear a slip. Lilly was all about being free with her clothes, she even walked around barefoot on the regular!! This was a huge change from the style of the upper class back then and all the ladies were on board with the idea of no collars, no hoes, sleeveless, lightweight dress!! And so, resort wear was born!! Women up and down the east coast wanted to look like Lilly. Not only because she always looked so cute, but because her life was too fun NOT to emulate it!!
I have TOO MANY Lilly shifts but this one is my favorite! My old dance teacher gave it to me, it was her’s when she was younger (Thanks Holly!) The patchwork print is classic and it has that vintage Lilly shape. You can find tons of old Lilly on sites like Ebay and Etsy!!
Here are a few of my favorite shifts for sale right now:
Lilly will always be a style and life icon for me!! I look up to her and admire her positivity towards life everyday. She built a business on a spill and lived in paradise year round. She created a brand all about having fun and being happy, what could be a better way to look at life!! Thanks for celebrating her with me!