Lily Pulitzer. The Queen of Pink and Green

I love anything tropical. I think it comes from spending many a holiday in the Caribbean when I was a child. I remember my Mum and I picking bright red Hibiscus flowers to tuck behind our ears, the blue of the ocean and the subtle pink of the sand….

It was on a trip to Barbados 8 years ago that I came across the work of one of the most colourful fashion designers the world must surely have seen. Lily Pulitzer. It was from this moment that my adoration of her designs developed.

Lily’s dresses, pants, shirts and accessories are completely fabulous. She isn’t known as the ‘Queen of Pink and Green’ for nothing ! Vibrant, gorgeous floral prints are her main ‘look’ made into simple shift dresses and slacks perfect for hot weather dressing.

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I adore the heady mix of colours and chose to embrace Lily’s sense of fun and style which is displayed so beautifully in her work by wearing her designs.

Lily Pulitzer launched her business in the 1950’s in Palm Beach, Florida.

A socialite with time on her hands and married to a wealthy citrus grove owner she decided to open a juice stand on a busy street.

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Rather than wear aprons to stop the juice splashes Lily had simple sleeveless dresses run up in bold tropical prints to hide the stains. Although the juice was selling well, it was the dresses that grabbed the customers attention. She had 12 shift dresses made up as a trial run and hung them by the juice bar and the rest is history!

It was these dresses that would lead her to become one of the most iconic and popular designers of our time. Her dresses became the staples of American preppy high society ladies.

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In the 1960’s the Kennedy’s paid a visit to Palm Beach. ‘Jack had just been elected president. The eyes of the whole world were on Palm Beach. Jackie wore one of my dresses – it was made from kitchen curtain material-and people went crazy. They took of like zingy. Everybody loved them, and I went into the dress business.’

Lily Pulitzer, (Essential Lily, Harper Resource 2004)

And so this the moment that catapulted her business forward in a totally new direction and led to her amazing success. She branched out into men’s wear, children’s wear, interiors, gifts, even Lily surfboards, all in her tropical delightful colour palette and stunning prints.

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The business took a slight knock in the power dressing 1980’s but soon regained a following after that. It is now supremely popular once again.

I have a number of Lily items, one of which is a book by the lady herself.

To be inspired by an array of beautiful entertaining ideas and wonderful resort clothing do have a look at ‘Essential Lily, A guide to colourful entertaining’ Full of gorgeous inspirational photography, recipes and sketches it will feed your desire for the bright hues of Florida.

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If you holiday in The States you will find many stores selling Lily Pulitzer especially on the Eastern Seaboard. You may also notice a high number of her items being worn in places such as Cape Cod and Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Rhode Island.

We are unable to buy her items in the Uk at present so I always make an attempt to buy some of her pieces when I have the opportunity in the USA. Whenever I wear one of her beautiful dresses I never fail to be complemented which is lovely.

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It was extremely sad earlier this year that Lily, one of my most inspiring idols passed away. Her legacy and wonderful style remains and will continue in her absence and her fans are sure to remain loyal. She is known to have inspired Tory Burch (another one of my favourites) and Millie New York (yes that’s another favourite too!) with their design careers.

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Lily Pulitzer – The Queen of Pink and Green (b- Nov 10 1931 d- Apr 7 2013)

With love xx

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It’s pretty but …

It’s pretty but …..

Sometimes when out thrifting you can find something pretty but it just needs a little extra to take it to he next level.

Here is an example that I found earlier this week.

I love this rose oil painting but it looks a bit 1970’s in its faux gilt frame. I knew it had potential but needed to be given the Lexi treatment!

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I thought I would paint the frame in a vintage-esque colour by the wonderful English paint manufacturer Farrow and Ball to soften the look.

If you want to have a go:

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Firstly take your sandpaper and rub all over the frame. Don’t forget the sides and try and get into all the comers. Sanding it like this allows the paint to stick to the frame.

When you have finished sanding make sure you wipe any dust off as you don’t want bits in your fresh paint.

Mask off next to the very edge of the frame on the painting with newspaper and masking tape to make it easier to paint the inside edges of the frame. If you have a steady hand you can risk it and not bother …..brave move!

I painted the frame with a white paint as an undercoat to blank out the gold colour. With darker paints you may not need to bother but with pastels it is a necessary.

With this particular frame I used emulsion which I know is normally for walls but I wanted a more chalky finish to this frame. Also the coats dry so quickly, it can easily be completed in an afternoon which for any busy crafter is a big deal !

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Now you can get cracking with your top paint colour. I went for a soft pink from Farrow and Ball. It is named Middleton Pink but has nothing to do with Kate, the most famous Middleton of them all !

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Make sure you let each coat dry well between applications. On the day I painted this frame it was sunny and breezy so it dried really quickly. Usually two coats is plenty.

When the frame is really dry you can GENTLY rub back areas of the frame to distress it a little but I didn’t with this one. Rub back in the corners and along the sides to reveal the colours underneath. It can look great and instantly ages painted items and they don’t look so flat.

Here are some examples from a seller on Etsy but sadly there is no seller name on Google images to credit him or her.

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This is how the 70’s rose painting looks now its done. Pretty and less shiny and altogether a softer more feminine look.

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And here it is in place on a wall with a number of other vintage oil paintings. A painted frame really sets a painting off nicely . Have a go, it so easy and looks so fabulous.

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Have a great weekend everyone

Lexi xx

Elbow Patches – not just for geography teachers!

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I adore an elbow patch !

I’ve jumpers with plain oval patches, a cashmere cardi with gold leather patches and a navy and white striped Maison Scotch top with navy stars on the elbows. Once I even had a jumper with SEQUIN elbow patches. It was a beauty!

You can imagine my delight when I found this grey striped top with red HEARTS on the sleeve in Gap. It was a ‘must have’ purchase and the fact it was on sale was the final deciding factor.

You can easily put cool patches onto your own clothes. Below you can see the pink star patches I put into a friends cardi.

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All I did was iron on some Bondaweb on the back of the cotton fabric. Cut out a patch in whatever shape you desire. I used pinking sheers to ensure there was no fraying.

Check where you are placing the patch on the sleeve. Need to match up to your elbow position !

Lie the garment flat on your ironing board and make sure the sleeves are lying flat too. Peel the paper off the back of the patch and place where you want them. Press with a hot iron without steam and allow the Bondaweb to fuse to the garment underneath. You may like to cover with a tea towel to protect the fabrics underneath.

Leave it a couple of minutes to cool down and remove tea towel. That’s it !

Being cautious as I didn’t know how the patch would stand up to the washing machine, I used some lime green embroidery silk to put a running stitch around the edge of the patch, about 1cm in to secure the patch a little more.

It also is a great design feature, I love contrasting stitching. Adds a little something.

Happy customising and show your Geography teacher how to rock an elbow patch!

L xx

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