Somehow, in a sea of preppy stereotypes and high price points, the true essence of Lily Pulitzer was lost. A brand meant to be a celebration of color, pattern and life turned into a signifier of upper echelon wealth and summer homes in the Hamptons. Growing up, there were years when I would’ve given anything for a Lily dress to live in all summer long—and there were also years when I wouldn’t have been caught dead in something so preppy.
Polarizing as it may be, Lilly Pulitzer has managed to stand the test of time, even if their customer base has dwindled down to prepsters alone. When Palm Beach socialite Lilly McKim Pulitzer had her dressmaker create a dress colorful enough to hide stains from her juice stand business, she had no idea the shifts she’d go on to sell would become a preppy summer status symbol. She probably also had no idea that, in 2021, Gen Z would deem her collections “cool” again.
Yes, that Gen Z—the one that hates Amazon, loves thrifting and can make or break a brand with just a few viral TikToks. Following lockdown’s abundance of sweatpants and loungewear, people are leaning into maximalist attire for summer 2021 as a way to make up for lost time. With bright colors, funky prints and a penchant for tennis chic all serving as top summer trends, it’s no wonder Lily Pulitzer’s comeback is all but guaranteed.
Of course, styling is key here—don’t go head-to-toe in print and try not to accessorize like a preppy housewife (Zero shade if that’s your thing, though! Do you, boo). Snag a wide-leg pant here, a patterned skirt there and pair them with everything from minimalist basics to trendy crop tops for a reinvented look guaranteed to make classic Lily fans shudder and current Gen Z fashion icons applaud. Even better if you can find some vintage pieces for an old-school flair.
Read on for the top Lily pieces we’re dying to style this summer. Admit it; you like ’em, too.
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Perci Jumpsuit in Juniper Green
Kelly Green is a massive color trend for summer 2021, so I’m all about this bold jumpsuit with a tie at the waist to cinch my curves.
Scarlet Floral Tie Side Dress in Raise The Bar
This may feel classic Lilly to you, but there are ways to Gen Z-ify a cute mini dress with a funky pattern. Go for chunky sandals, a statement bag and colored-lens sunnies to seal the deal.
Rivera Sundress in Pink Tangerine Clip Jacquard
I actually love Lilly’s take on the nap dress silhouette that took over last summer. The bright pink hue and adjustable bow-tie straps earn brownie points in my book.
Bal Harbour Mid Rise Palazzo Pant in Pink Blossom Suite Views
Party pants are huge this season, so why don’t you already have these? Don’t act like you wouldn’t jump to style them with a white halter crop top and those rubber Gucci slides you’ve been eyeing.
Aisha Eyelet Romper in Calla Yellow
OK, this ‘fit is pure serotonin. I’m all about a hidden skort, so I love that this looks like a super-short mini but actually has shorts underneath for modesty. Plus, c’mon—that yellow!
Rosalie Skirt Set in Light Lilac Verbena Gingham
I’m sorry, this doesn’t even LOOK like Lilly. This is the sweetest matching set I’ve ever seen! Plus, gingham is a massive trend for summer, so you can wear the look together or break up the separates for three different outfits.
Justina One-Piece Swimsuit in Purple Iris On The Horizon
Even when I wasn’t really into Lilly Pulitzer, I always thought their swimwear was cute. I love a suit with bright colors and fun prints! This one-piece is especially unique thanks to the lilac colorway and beachy landscape print.
Madison Skort in Shell of a Party
Gen Z recently discovered skorts and they love them as much as I do. Fine with me! I’d actually enjoy this maximalist printed skort with a plain white tee on a casual Saturday.
Kipton One-Shoulder Romper in Resort White Pineapple Pucker Jacquard
I’ll never say no to a cute Little White Dress for summer—and this one is also a secret romper!
Julien Halter Top in White Shell Beach
This might be the hardest one to convince you of, but hear me out. Patterned scarves tied into halter tops are huge right now, so why wouldn’t you just snag this cute top instead? Bonus points for that gold ring detail at the neckline.