Last month, the Lilly Pulitzer blog, The Juice Stand, hosted contest called "You Never Forget Your First." Readers and Lilly aficionados were encouraged to upload pictures of themselves wearing the first Lilly dress they had ever bought, and give a bit of a background story. The contest was held over Facebook, and once the applicant pool was narrowed down to a top ten, voting opened on Facebook to select a winner.
Although I didn't know about the contest in time to submit a photo, I still thought it would be fun to share the story of my first Lilly Pulitzer dress. Lilly Pulitzer is hosting the #YouNeverForgetYourFirst campaign to honor Ms. Pulitzer herself, who passed away last year. I wanted to share my story and pay tribute to Lilly!
I first became aware of Lilly Pulitzer when I was in around fourth or fifth grade. A family friend of ours spent a lot of time in Palm Beach during the winter, and therefore wore a lot of Lilly during the summers back in Illinois. My sisters and I fondly referred to our friend's wardrobe of Lilly as "her special fabric." This woman also gave my mom a few birthday presents that were from Lilly as well, so I became somewhat familiar with the brand.
In sixth grade, my mom took my sisters and I to Marshall Field (those were the days!) in Chicago for a shopping trip, and Field's happened to carry Lilly. She let each of us pick out a Lilly piece. My sister Natalie picked out a pair of patchwork bermuda shorts, my sister Hannah picked out a pink floral print skirt (which I still wear today!), and I picked out a cable knit sweater.
We loved our Lilly! I'm pretty sure we all wore our Lilly to school picture day that year.
I don't count that sweater as my "true" first Lilly, though, since it wasn't a dress. My first dress came much later.
The summer before my senior year of high school, I vacationed in Hilton Head Island with my family. In addition to lounging by the beach, taking bike rides, and enjoying dinners with family, we also did some shopping!
I knew that Hilton Head would probably have some decent consignment shops, so I took to Yelp and researched a few places. I had Lilly in mind when I was searching for consignment stores. We ended up at My Sister's Closet, a small shop relatively close to our resort
The shop was pretty dimly lit, but it has a decent amount of inventory. I scoured the many racks in pursuit of some bright, Lilly fabric.
Then, I saw it.
A close up of the vintage tag
The cutest, yellow floral print dress with pink piping. I pulled it off the rack and held it up to the mirror. I went to look at the tag. It didn't look like any Lilly Pulitzer tag I had seen before. It looked vintage. This made me even more excited! I was in the market for Lilly, but the vintage aspect made it even better. I knew that no one else would have my dress! I studied the tag further to find the size. Unfortunately, it was a size 12, way too big! I wasn't ready to give up, though. I went to the dressing room to try it on anyway.
I just love that pink piping!
Of course, I was swimming in the dress. There was so much fabric. I just couldn't put it down though. I thought for a moment. I came up with a solution: alterations! My mom was skeptical, telling me that it might be difficult to alter the dress to fit my petite frame. I went against her warning, and proceeded to the register. I shelled out the $25 (yes, only 25!) for my first Lilly Pulitzer dress, a consigned vintage gem that was in almost perfect condition!
Can you really wear a Lilly without pearls?!
When I returned from vacation, I took the dress to an alterations shop by my house. The seamstress worked wonders, and the dress fits me perfectly! I have worn in to several different events and I have gotten so many compliments on it!
My first Lilly Pulitzer dress is a bit unconventional compared to others, but I have to say the pursuit was well worth it! I love that there is such an interesting story behind my dress, and that it was also someone else's "Lilly" before it was mine.
One of the first events I wore the dress to was to a baby shower for a co-worker.
I also wore it to the Palm for my mom's birthday dinner last year. (also, Lilly Pulitzer cableknit)
I also wore the dress to my senior awards luncheon
My sisters and mom and I all wore Lilly for the awards luncheon! I ended up submitting the photo to the Lilly Pulitzer Madison Avenue Facebook page and they featured us!
I have worn my first Lilly during a lot of memorable events in my life, and I only hope to make more memories while wearing it! Some people think clothes are simply clothes, but they are so much more than that! Clothing is an art form. Clothing is a story. Clothing is a memory.
I'll never forget my first Lilly! I hope that I can pass it down to my own daughter one day.
Do you have a memorable experience with a Lilly dress, or any other special article of clothing? I want to hear your story!
Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.