the silliness of lillyness


So, more Lilly drama ensues.  As in Lilly Pulitzer.  This time it isn’t the Lilly for Target madness of earlier this spring, but the warehouse sale.

The warehouse sale is a study in insanity.  I went to one in the mid to late 1990s when the Lilly Pulitzer brand was revived  in 1993 when Sugartown Worldwide Inc of King of Prussia purchased Lilly from well, Lilly.  (Lilly Pulitzer Rosseau died in 2013) As a related aside, Sugartown sold it in 2010 for $60 million to Oxford Industries out of Atlanta.

The one warehouse sale I went to in the 90s after brand was revived, was a free for all with grown women behaving like savage beasts over the dresses and clothes  my mother and her friends all wore when we were growing up along with other lines like Vested Gentress which had more whimsical patterns. (Vested Gentress incidentally was manufactured right in Valley Forge PA between 1961 and 1985.  Personally, I always liked Vested Gentress better.)

At the one solitary warehouse I attended women were doing arm swoops and taking entire rows of clothes off racks and elbowing people literally for clothes. I remember one woman with an empty baby stroller that she was tossing clothes into. And then there was the cattle call dressing room section of the warehouse. It was like a Loehmann’s dressing room where you all got shoved in at once. Only my friend and I were almost scarred for life by the woman who had the red thong and bad suntan pantyhose on (it was really funny, sorry.)

That was a one and done experience and the new Lilly wasn’t half the quality of the old Lilly.  The old Lilly had fabric and lining that had some weight to them. They stood up to summer weather.   The fabric also lasted, which is why you can still find a lot of vintage Lilly.


Once the brand revived in the 1990s, in my opinion it cheapened a little and I have noticed that some more since it was sold again in 2010 to Oxford Industries.  The other thing is this: Lilly has become well regular. It’s everywhere now like overpriced Old Navy so why get so jazzed about it?

At the Lilly for Target debacle in April you had the Target website crash, stampedes in Target stores and unpleasantness that ended up with a whole lot of the cheaper line of Lilly for Target in eBay at quadruple the original selling price.  And for what? So a lot of women could show up at parties all wearing the same dress. Truly, it happened a couple weeks ago at a friend’s college reunion – five women from different areas of the country showed up in the same Lilly halter neck dress with a hot pink and blue patterned fabric. I didn’t like uniforms back in the day but that was school and the idea of walking into a room and having a bunch of women wearing my dress? No thank you.

jackie o in lilyLilly originally popped when style and fashion icon and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy started wearing Lilly Pulitzer in the 1960s. Jackie O as she was later known wore Lilly into the 1980s until Pulitzer mothballed the operation in 1984. Jackie and Lilly had been either schoolmates or classmates at Miss Chapin’s School in NYC.

So Lilly became this status of sorts. It was even mentioned in the Preppy Handbook. In the hey day of original Lilly you would see ladies from the Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Whitney and other legendary society families wearing Lilly at appropriate times of year.

I remember my mother wearing Lilly when we were growing up. Not a lot, just a few pieces. In particular I remember a couple of pairs of summer slacks that she would wear. They were so obnoxious a pattern that I remember a man in the grocery store (total stranger) saying “I bet your husband can never lose you in those pants”. (She didn’t wear them as often after that.)

My friends and I wore Lilly growing up and into our 20s and 30s when we would hunt the vintage down before it started to get as hotly collectible as certain baseball cards.   A big debut time every year for Lilly was the Devon Horse Show as a matter of fact.

But as new Lilly progressed and more and more Lilly stores opened and more and more retailers started carrying Lilly all over the place we just kind of stopped.  The prices were crazy, the fabrics and designs not as good as the original line and most importantly too many people were wearing it. And it is an age appropriate line these days too. It’s geared towards younger women in my opinion as opposed to original Lilly which was just geared towards women who liked a certain style.

But the historical status symbol of Lilly drove some women I know to check out the warehouse sale this week.  My one friend snapped a shot of the sale yesterday and said their was a FIVE hour wait in line. She said she had no idea it would be like that and left.

warehouse sale

Then up pops this thing on the local news last evening and this morning. Women who had waited for hours were abruptly shut out of the sale for “re-stocking”. Huh? Sounds like when there are lines of clothing manufactured just for outlet shoppers doesn’t it?

WPVI 6 ABC Shoppers outraged after Lilly Pulitzer event ends abruptly early

Friday, June 05, 2015 12:23AM

Call it a case of retail rage – instead of paisley and pink, shoppers were seeing a deep shade of red after the first day of a Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale ended abruptly early.”I’ve never had a problem getting in the first day of the sale,” said Cathy Hedegard.Upset shoppers attending the Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale wanted answer after they were told the doors were closing early on Thursday night.The annual sale is at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Montgomery County….It attracts people from all over the country – like Anni Carroll. She drove 10 hours from Charlotte and waited in line with her three children but didn’t get in”It’s extremely frustrating. I have three children under three with me. They were not allowed to use the bathroom inside – they closed the doors and wouldn’t let anyone in,” said Carroll.”The security guards are actually videotaping us thinking it’s kind of funny which is not,” said Joanne Resendiz.


And even more bizarrely was watching the television report which showed upset on the verge of tears women all outraged they could not get in because they “support” Lilly like a line of clothing has cult status. Maybe OLD Lilly, but new?

My favorite and the winner of the what-the-hell-were-you-thinking-Mother-of -the-year was the woman on camera being interviewed  who drove TEN hours to be at the sale. All the way from Charlotte, North Carolina with THREE children under THREE for a clothing sale. Whhhhaaaatt?  How much Lilly was she going to buy that she drove TEN hours with three LITTLE kids who couldn’t even go to the bathroom anywhere? That is simply astounding.


I don’t know about you, but no way no how. Nothing is worth this drama. Especially when you see it everywhere like Baby Gap. Sorry. This latest Lilly silliness shows exactly why it is time for a lot of women to find something else to wear. The Lilly for Target debacle was bad enough, let alone drama over a warehouse sale.

And somehow this Lilly doesn’t strike me as what the original Lilly intended. Ladies save your pennies. Unless it is vintage Lilly it’s not so Lilly anymore.

Thanks for stopping by.  Sign me #SoOverLilly