Lilly Pulitzer led the life many sorority girls aspire to live. A classmate of another perfect, preppy princess, Jackie Kennedy, Pulitzer was a socialite who eventually married rich, moved down south, threw the best parties in town, and ultimately, created an empire. She made fun, fresh, and timeless fashion that’s been worn by sorority women for generations. A sorority girl is a Lilly girl. After all, “The Lilly girl is always full of surprises, lives every day like a celebration, never has a dull moment, and makes every hour a happy hour.”
Like any good sorority girl, Lilly was not only a little bit wild, but also a little bit crazy. The woman behind the pastel prints was fascinating, sassy, and just a tad cuckoo. She was also notorious for her aversion to wearing panties. What sorority girl hasn’t been guilty of that
when she’s getting wild on a particularly rough laundry day? The woman even lined her dresses to discourage girls from wearing underwear, which is perfect for insanely hot summer days in the south.
While Lilly was good, old-fashioned, southern crazy (aren’t we all?), she was ultimately elegant enough to make up for it. After a stay in the nut house (her words), her doctor told her she needed a hobby. She began working at the famous juice stand, and began designing dresses to hide stains out of necessity. These dresses became the perfect camouflage for formals, banquets, tailgates, and countless other events that result in liquor accidents that rival the Gulf oil spill. Lilly prints and sorority girls are a match made in heaven. A dress that hides drunken mistakes is a no-brainer in college. So basically, Lilly became the Lilly Pulitzer after a little stint with insanity, which shows that even our craziest moments pay off in the end.
After trying college for a minute, Lilly married Peter Pulitzer, who was mega-wealthy thanks to his grandfather, famed publisher Joseph Pulitzer, as in the guy the Pulitzer Prize is named after. Peter, however, had a reputation for being a huge player (she’s just like us!). Before she divorced the notorious womanizer (I’m picturing Don Draper), she created a line of men’s nightshirts called “Sneaky Petes” in his honor. It was the perfect revenge. Everyone learned of his bad behavior and Lilly profited from it. Once she rid herself of Sneaky Pete, she married Enrique Rousseau, who was so hot he was nicknamed “Caca Caliente.” She was able to successfully ditch the bad news boy, ruin his reputation, and trade up for someone even sexier. Lilly really had it all.
Now, Pulitzer prints get a lot of flack, because there’s the opinion that they look like your grandmother’s dowdy curtains. Here’s the thing. If you have the body for it, no one notices. Plus, you don’t wear clothes for boys. Let’s be honest, they don’t care what you wear as long as it’s easy to take off. You wear clothes for yourself (and the judgmental eyes of frenemies). Most nights you go through at least 25 outfits before deciding on one (almost always the one you started with). When it comes to Lilly, you know your outfit is good to go. Whether you’re heading to chapter, formal, a luncheon, or really any sorority event, all you need is a Lilly dress to hide your hangover with a classic, put-together look. Just make sure to tell your sisters which print you plan on wearing so you don’t overlap with half the chapter.
Lilly understood a sorority girl’s life, because she led such a fabulous one herself. Her clothes and accessories are easy to wear. You don’t have to think about them, which is paramount when you spend most days thinking about a million other things. You know anything Lilly will be colorful, classic, and expected. There’s no fuss, just preppy prints that keep you cool when it’s hot as Hades. While most clothes are trendy and have to be given away once the season is through (I’m loving peplum, but for how long?), Lilly lasts forever. Yes, the prints are crazy, especially when they involve sea creatures or fresh produce, but they’re always fun.
Lilly P. lived her life in pursuit of a good time, and believed everyone else should, too. She created resort wear because she knew it was always 5 o’clock somewhere, but more importantly, it was always summer somewhere. She was a fabulous party girl, even when she was moldy oldy, which is so much better than being basic and boring. So, here’s to Lilly Pulitzer, a woman who inspires all of us. She loved all the best things in life: happy hour, hot men, fun fashion, and being loony tunes. She became insanely successful just for being her fabulous self, and she’ll be an iconic legacy forever. Rest in pearls, Lilly Pulitzer. You made the world (and our closets) a much brighter place.
Image via Fox