A Love Affair with Lilly Pulitzer - One Family's Generational Style Tradition

Every dress is a memory....

While organizing my youngest daughter’s closet today, I pulled out my first Lilly Pulitzer dress that I wore as an infant in 1977. My mother had saved this for me and I realized, after five daughters, that I will now be saving this 40-year-old dress for the third generation of Lilly wearers in our family. Lilly for us isn’t just about style, it has always been about the happy memories made while wearing her bright and colorful dresses.

 My first LIlly Pulitzer dress: "The Minnie" by Lilly 1977.

My first LIlly Pulitzer dress: "The Minnie" by Lilly 1977.

For as long as I can remember, special occasions always called for Lilly. In our family, most Sundays spent in church were Sundays spent in Lilly. Every Easter, my sister and I picked out a new dress to wear to Easter services, the egg hunt and brunch with our mother. For most milestone moments in our family, from graduations to bridal showers to weddings, we have worn the Palm Beach inspired classic. Some of our classic favorites, now 15-20 years old, are still my favorites to wear which is such a testament to the classic elegance and beauty of her design.

As a mother of seven, I now carry on the style tradition my mother started with me and my sister. For the last 11 years, my husband has played for the Baltimore Orioles whose spring training is in Sarasota, conveniently home to a Lilly Pulitzer store in St. Armand’s Circle. Each Easter, while my son and husband patiently waited outside, my girls and I picked out new Easter dresses for Easter and the spring season. When Lilly for Target came out, I was six months pregnant with extreme morning sickness, but still managed to camp out at 5:00 am with my tween daughter to be first in line for the new collection. With each of us going our separate ways, I felt like we were a team on “Supermarket Sweep,’ just grabbing what we could before other mothers and daughters got there first. We did very well that morning and beyond our loot, the memories I have laughing with my daughter while racing through the aisles looking for Lilly patio cushions are ones that I will never forget.

With one section of my closet now dedicated to our favorite designer, each piece reminds me of a special time in my life…from the dress I wore to my bridal shower 17 years ago to the dress I wore to my first child’s baptism, every dress tells a story from some period of my life. More than being color coordinated or well dressed for family functions, Lilly has provided me with a closet full of memories that I intend to pass down to my daughters. In the wise words of Lilly herself, “Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s how you live!”

 A closet full of memories in Lilly.

A closet full of memories in Lilly.

 Attempt at a family photo in Lilly.

Attempt at a family photo in Lilly.