Is Lilly Pulitzer losing its values?

Going through the job hunting process right now, some interview questions begin to feel repetitive. I try to tailor my responses to the specific position, yet remain honest whenever I answer them.

One of the most popular interview inquiries I have had is in regards to why I started Clearing Preppy’s Name –as I do highlight my blog on my resume. My loyal readers may know, over the past 3.5 years my blog has progressed from being solely focused on fashion to a way in which I choose to publicly document my (hopefully) fashion forward journey. I like to think of my site as a stylish lifestyle blog. The values behind my blog have not changed although the topics might.

My original mission was to “remove the negative stigma associated with preppy fashion”, which is how I tend to explain the title of my blog. I really enjoy the look of a classic cardigan and pearls, but sadly this iconically preppy combination has become tarnished by the sass and snobbiness of those wearing it over time. I never dreamed that Lily Pulitzer, a brand full of classic conservative looks yet frequently highlighted for its positivity and fun spirit, would be one of the obstacles I would write about.


Among the many brands that I highlight on my blog, I believe the most popular has been Lily Pulitzer. Typically during her sales, be it the annual Endless Summer Sale or her recent collaboration, Lily for Target, (when I just start to afford the shift dresses that I drool over any other time of year) I give a review of my favorite products and the brand in general. With a great history and outgoing prints, Lily has been very recognizable and admired by many young women including myself for the past few decades.

What my blog stands for, supporting what I previously felt went hand in hand with brands like Lily, was just one of the many reasons that I was quite disappointed to read Buzzfeed’s Lily Pulitzer Employee’s Fat-Shaming Cartoon article. It immediately reminded me of the tacky Abercrombie and Fitch CEO pro-skinny girl scandal that disgusted me only years ago.

carb face

source: Twitter @socarolinesays

In a culture constantly embracing music and clothing with degrading messages about the value of a woman’s body and ridiculing overweight people, are even the most modest and classic brands going to follow suit?

In the eyes of the general public, Lily has served as an example, as a person and a brand. Her hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that guided her from juice stand to iconic brand has always been inspiring to me! This all being said, I am a firm believer that whomever is employed by the Lily company absolutely represents them and her… although that does not mean their employees need to endure a tropical print and eyelet lace brainwashing, they should wear that title like a badge of honor. WWLD: what would Lily do?

It is the company’s job to make sure those associated with Lily are the proper fit. I know its difficult to do through a few papers that are perfectly worded and 30 minutes interviews, but it is their job. I understand this more through my career search right now, more than ever before. They need to employ people who stand for what Lily has always so proudly claimed to value and I never believed that was the size of my waistline.

source: Twitter @socarolinesays


I feel terribly for the employee who created and hung up these fat-shaming sketches, even if many people are now arguing that they were “innocently” directed at herself. There are times when I don’t confidently embrace my build, but never have I told myself to kill myself over it. This pro-ED mindset is a disease, made contagious by those that are promoting it.

Instead of thinking of the woman lashing out at herself, think about those other employees who saw the signs. I feel even worse about the fact that perfectly mentally “healthy” co-workers, also representative of the brand, continued to work in the same vicinity without questioning or removing these messages. Is this what our society has come to? Is this what Lily Pulitzer condones?

It’s no secret that some Lily items run small and quite frequently there are fewer available styles in the largest size, a 14 or 16. This is the case for many companies and I suppose if their main purchasing demographic is a size 6 then this is just a practical business decision. There is a drastic difference between that however and supporting a work environment that is fat shaming.

The Lily offices were well aware of the piece that The Cut was creating when they came in to take photos. The release of these appalling sketches appear to me as a desperate cry for help, as they were just background noise previously.

I am interested to see how the Lily public relations department and human resources cleans up this mess. Whether it be by denying knowledge of the postings or providing mental health counseling for the woman with these strong feelings. I hope that the brand is not losing its values, as it once stood for so much.

Will the release of this information impact any future Lily Pulitzer purchases you may have been contemplating making?



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