Best Kids' Clothing (2002)

Lauderdale Lifestyle, by Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that during the sub-freezing stillness of Northern winters, palm trees rustle at the edge of every snowbound mind, that 9/11 and the recession have cast a pall over the land, and that tourism is suffering. South Floridians young and old, don't just wait for it to pass. You are duty-bound to offer our portion of the state as a paradisiacal antidote. Chief among the ways to achieve this is packaging, packaging, packaging. Fortunately, Lilly Pulitzer has blazed the trail. More than four decades ago, managing three children, catering to husband Peter Pulitzer (who later married the infamous Roxanne), and holding up her end of the Palm Beach party scene wasn't enough for the bohemian Palm Beach socialite. In 1960, Lilly opened an orange juice stand. To hide the juice stains, she had some shifts stitched up in bright patterns from dime-store fabrics. Customers dug them. She made more shifts. She went national with loud, geeky-yet-cheeky, custom-designed prints on polished cotton from Key West material. Thus, out of a pragmatic-yet-stylish aesthetic was born the über-signifier of the sun-kissed, carefree Florida-cum-Palm Beach lifestyle. This year, more than ever, we need Lilly. The Fort Lauderdale store has her whole line, including bedding, clothing, fabrics, and accessories. The Little Lilly, a child's cotton-lined shift with fabric bows and a novelty trim chain at the pockets ($60-64) done in fabrics like Myrtle (green sea turtles on a sea-blue background) or Sunrise (swirling suns on yellow) is as sweet as ice cream sherbet. Lilly has said her prints are "happy." Happy, right now, is what our visitors need. Dress the family in Lilly and get out there and frolic, damn it.


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