An overly dramatic title, I know, but it’s true: Lilly Pulitzer has inspired me to live brighter, happier, and fully embrace the wildly inappropriate, unpredictable and colorful person that I am, especially during the gray and brown, frigid season that is winter in Albany, N.Y. My writing is gettin’ really flowery, but I don’t apologize because that is Lilly. Flowery.
And neon. Very neon. And messy, and fun. Like someone ate a pack of highlighters and threw up in a handful of paper towels, then used the soiled paper towels to sponge-paint a bright white wall.
I’ve never felt more alive in an article of clothing than I do when I wear something Lilly Pulitzer. I was drawn to Lilly in my early 20’s. I moved to Ohio and dived into blogging, and read posts by fashion-loving and usually Southern bloggers who actually bought and wore the colorful, ridiculously-patterned gorgeousness. I didn’t think the pretty prints could be purchased anywhere but below the Mason-Dixon Line and financial means were limited, so I just stuck to casually admiring the Lilly looks online.
Then, adulthood progressed wonderfully and I moved to Albany, a place where I had access to things I’d never had access to before. One of those things was a legit Lilly Pulitzer store, less than five minutes from my office. I resisted as long as I could, but finally walked into “Pink Paddock” for the first time in June 2016, knowing damn well I’d be hooked for real. I bought a dress for a friend’s derby-themed luncheon. I fell in love with all things colorful and flamingo-y, and especially, neon. Life changed.
And now, here I am. Kicking off the new year wearing Lilly’s gloriously whimsical, beachy and bold clothing that’s probably obnoxious to the only-wear-neutrals-in-winter folks, but a breath of fresh air to those who are craving anything but the dank month of January. I’m not exactly a walking dose of Vitamin D in terms of physical health, so winter months are especially challenging when trying to stay motivated for all of the things. Fortunately, ol’ Santy-Claus brought me some Lilly cold-weather wear this Christmas; it feels better than a B-12 injection, a cafe mocha and a full head of fresh, platinum highlights combined. Wearing Lilly Pulitzer in winter is exhilarating (and I’m sad that I’ve already worn all of my neon for the week). One year ago I had serious conversations with colleagues and friends about simplifying my work wardrobe and investing in more neutral-toned basic pieces for maximum mix-and-match potential.
This year, I’m like, I’M WEARING ALL OF THE SAILBOATS. And elephants. And parrots, and whatever else those talented Lilly artists whom I stalk on Instagram manage to mix into surprisingly coherent patterns of multi-colored seashell imprints, electric blue ocean waves and hot pink curly lines. Lilly is an instant hug on cold winter days, and she matches “me” perfectly.
I wrote this mess because I wore a long-sleeve, half-zip Lilly pullover to work today, and literally felt immortal. Damn, Lilly.