Monday, March 10, 2008

Life, Love, and Lilly

Okay, now I know approximately five of our readers immediately knew what I was going to be posting about when they saw the title. The others… not so much. Because unless you go to school back East, frequent country clubs, are a sorority girl in the South or are 65+ years old, you likely have never heard of the fresh, preppy cult that is Lilly Pulitzer. (Side note: same family as that Pulitzer, though I think she married into the family?) Bree wears it on Desperate Housewives, and I know a pink coat was on Gossip Girl (my vindication!!), and if you’ve seen the Nicole Kidman version of the Stepford Wives, the movie is practically a Lilly ad.

I certainly hadn’t heard of Lilly when I came to school—and yet I managed to become indoctrinated in said fresh, preppy cult in a matter of weeks. I’m not really sure what it was that ultimately won me over. The cute dress styles? The versatile skirts? The pastel animal prints and patterns?

Lilly Capris = Not your friend, however. The truth of the matter is that not everyone can wear—or would want to wear—Lilly. Take a look at the pattern samples from this past Spring. Yes. Multi Princess of the Jungle is a typical pattern. I have dresses with monkeys, a skirt with giraffes and all sorts of flowers. My sister literally starts retching when she sees me wearing one, and to be honest, I never thought I would. But it’s like you step into some alternate dimension when you see a precious little Lilly dress—one where it is okay to buy that $300 dress with happy fish or sleeping lions or playful tigers. We, the Cult of Lilly, do not recommend the patterned Capri pants for beginners, anyone under the age of 40, and all those that aspire to give the impression that their butt is, in fact, small.

I could never imagine Julia or Danielle wearing this kind of Lilly in New York, but the Betsy Dress is something that you’d be likely to see a few sorority girls wear a bit further south or west. Lilly is, in some cases, the unofficial uniform of rush (as well as Easter, but anyway). It runs $198 - $228, which is actually on the low side for Lilly. What I can tell you about this style is that it’s incredibly flattering. You have your empire waist and a bit of pleating around the midsection to, you know, hide a food baby or that winter pudge you packed on intentionally for warmth purposes.

It might be a good idea to mention here that part of the reason why Lilly is a bit steep is because the clothing is of REALLY good quality. I’m a bit of a pig messy eater, but I’ve never had any problem washing stains out by hand. Granted, it’s probably not the same story for silk, but Lilly kept the idea of quality in mind when she first started out in California. I always equate the price with the quality, which eases the agonized screams of my bleeding bank account. If you look on ebay, you’ll see that these dresses last YEARS.

That aside, I do think that Lilly is moving in a more mature, refined direction when it comes to patterns. I actually caught my lovely sister looking through my catalogue and finding things that she would wear. Unfortunately, the more Lilly tames her Jungle Fever tendencies, the more crap I want to buy.

For example, remember a while back when Danielle and Julia were championing the virtues of the color yellow? Lilly presents you with a few pretty and girly styles that you could wear in the spring and summer and not look like a four year old:

The Dexter Dress is made of silk and runs at $258.

the Angelette dress ($298)

The Tracey
And my favorite the Tracey dress (on sale for $114).

Here are a few more cute choices for the summer: the Tierney dress ($268) and the the Snappy Skirt ($118). I bought the Snappy Skirt when I was at home last week and it’s probably my favorite thing I got while I was there. It’s very classic and preppy—in a nice, Oh, of course, darling, let’s go sailing on our Yacht! kind of way. Check out the Paley Cardigan if you’re looking for a cute Spring cardigan pattern ($118).

And, finally, to conclude this initiation into the delightful world of Lilly, may I recommend their polo shirts?

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They’re a bit steep at $65, but sometimes you can find them at Nordstrom Rack or Loehman’s for a little less. Like I mentioned before, Lilly is geared toward an active sort of lifestyle (you know, as active as lawn parties and country clubs can get), so I’ve never had any problems getting out stains. They also are less prone to getting stretched out (which is an issue with my Polo shirts). The fabric isn’t flimsy and the fit is awesome. I honestly can’t recommend them enough.

If you’re a man, Lilly has some truly… remarkable selections to offer you as well.

Lilly Pulitzer is a religion, and I’m not the only one praying at the shrine.


Julia York said...

Those last two yellow dresses are so freaking cute! I never thought I would consider wearing Lily Pulitzer, but after this post it might just happen. Two notes: your last link doesn't work, and I'm super disappointed you didn't post the photo of you and Carlin having tea at the Biltmore.

lena said...

If you ever catch me in a Lilly dress (besides the acceptable yellows at the bottom), go ahead and kick my face in.

I cannot pull off lobsters and martini glasses on my apparel. I would look like a children's physician's assistant on crack.

Alexandra Hepburn said...

Fixed ze link. I'm actually thinking that Charlotte probably wore something Lilly on Sex and the City, but now I can't remember...