How to Be a Classy Lady: Wear Your Lilly

Sunday, April 7, 2013

 In 1966, The Washington Post reported that the dresses were “so popular that at the Southampton Lilly shop on Job’s Lane they are proudly put in clear plastic bags tied gaily with ribbons so that all the world may see the Lilly of your choice. It’s like carrying your own racing colors or flying a yacht flag for identification."

I'm not going to give you a brief on Lilly's life, (besides the facts that she attended boarding school with Jackie O, started making dresses to camouflage juice stains while she owned a juice stand in Palm Beach, and that I'm naming my first daughter Lilly) but rather a celebration of her legacy. Lilly's legacy not only consists of the clothes themselves, but of the Lilly lifestyle. Lilly dresses are synonymous with summertime and the South. If Scarlett O'Hara was a sixties queen they would have been her weapon of choice: with their bright colors and flattering, feminine cuts, Lilly dresses are ironically provocative and super sassy. I smile more often when I wear Lilly; I feel instantly more confident, uplifted, empowered. 

I got my first Lilly when I was 17. After trying on several varieties of Lilly's classic styles, (the shift, the strapless, the little white dress) I settled on little baby doll dress. It was pink with a kind of toile pattern, nothing special. It wasn't until I got home that I fully appreciated the whimsical details in the dress; my mom was the one who pointed out the "naked people." Turns out the Lilly pattern the dress was made of was called "Skinny Dip," and indeed the little people on my dress where shedding their own Lilly dresses.

Since then, some of my fondest memories have been captured in Lilly. That babydoll dress I donned for my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary dinner. I wore a green Lilly to my high school graduation because my high school color was green. Several of my favorite Lillys made appearances at recruitment last summer. Lilly has been there for these moments, and her legacy will join me for many more. 

Rest in peace, Lilly. Thanks for making the world a brighter, more colorful place. But most of all, thanks for teaching me an important lesson in how to be a classy lady: that each and every day is a party, so dress like it. 

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