Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lilly Love: Life Lessons from Lilly Pulitzer

"Style isn't just about what you wear, it's about how you live."
Lilly Pulitzer

Until the Summer Style Soiree, I knew nothing about Lilly Pulitzer. Loving fashion, I am sure I would have eventually stumbled into one of her boutiques and fallen in love with her dresses. 

But I wouldn't necessarily have learned her story, and that would have been a shame! Lilly died this past April at age 81, but she lived exuberantly while she was on this earth.

Lilly Lessons

A wild pattern can cover a multitude of sins
Lilly designed her iconic shift dress to cover stains from her orange juice making business. Wildly patterned and brightly colorful, the dress kept her from looking messy. 

Shift dresses are simple & easy
Described as a cross between a muumuu and a chemise, Lilly's original shift dress was reportedly created to also cover her thickish mid-section (she'd had three babies) and exactly why I'm wearing one today too.

Make new friends but keep the old
Lilly rocketed to international fame when her friend from private school, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, wore one of her dresses in a photo for Life magazine in 1961.

Bring people together across social classes
Lilly may have been part of high society (her mother was part of the Standard Oil fortune and her first husband was heir to the Pulitzer publishing empire) but she was a free-spirited lover of people. She knew the housekeepers of all the fine homes in Palm Beach from delivering oranges. And threw dance parties in her kitchen.

Just because you're idle doesn't mean you can't be active
Lilly enjoyed the leisure activities of the idle rich: tennis, golf, and sailing. Perfectly acceptable ways to pass a summer's day, in my opinion.

Create perpetual summer through your warmth
When Lilly finally wrote a book, it was about entertaining. First, Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining and then A Guide to Colorful Holiday Entertaining. And threw dance parties in her kitchen!

Find your purpose
Lilly had a "nervous breakdown" as a young mother and was advised to find work to do. She began helping in her husband's orange groves, eventually opening a juice stand and creating her signature dress company.

For  more Lilly info:
"Palm Beach's Barefoot Princess", Vanity Fair. July 2003.
"It all started with a juice stand" Lilly


  1. Even though she was high society- she seemed relatable in so many ways! These are great Lilly-isms! Thanks so much for sharing at the Lilly Style Soiree!

  2. Hmmm-- didn't know she had so many amazing things to say as well! LOVED her style and her pattern.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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