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WashPost’s S̶J̶W̶ fashion critic: Trashing Chief Justice Roberts and now Lilly Pulitzer

April 28, 2015
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A Lilly print: Horrors, “one percent-ish”!

The Washington Post’s fashion critic, Robin Givhan, is famous for two things: her fawning adulation of every garment that First Lady Michelle Obama dons, and her disdain for all things conservative.

Remember Givhan’s 2005 column expressing horror that the wife and children of then-brand-new Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robrts actually dressed up on their first official White House visit when George W. Bush formally announced his appointment of Roberts? And they wore pastel outfits, no less! (It was only July, Washington’s cruelest month.) Givhan wrote:

“His wife and children stood before the cameras, groomed and glossy in pastel hues — like a trio of Easter eggs, a handful of Jelly Bellies, three little Necco wafers….

“In a time when most children are dressed in Gap Kids and retailers of similar price-point and modernity, the parents put young master Jack in an ensemble that calls to mind John F. ‘John-John’ Kennedy Jr. “Separate the child from the clothes, which do not acknowledge trends, popular culture or the passing of time. They are not classic; they are old-fashioned. These clothes are Old World, old money and a cut above the light-up/shoe-buying hoi polloi.”


And now, Givhan has decided that even conservative dress designs have something nefarious about them.

Here she is last week, in a column devoted to the Target chain’s new (and sellout, by the way) low-cost versions of the colorfully printed beachy shifts and other casual apparel originally designed by Palm Beach socialite Lilly Pulitzer and now manufactured by the company that bears her name.


“It is not so much a declaration of wealth as it is a perceived statement about class, lineage and attitude. Anyone can work hard and save up enough cash to go out and purchase a Chanel suit or a Gucci handbag. A devoted student of Vogue can cobble together a personal style that speaks to its public identity. But Lilly Pulitzer suggests an advantage of birth. The clothes stir up scrapbook notions of ancient family trees, summer compounds, boarding school uniforms, and large, granite buildings inscribed with some great-great-grandfather’s name….

“The clothes are, upon close inspection, not so terribly attractive. Actually, they are rather unattractive. And that is part of their charm. They are not meant to be stylish — that’s so nouveau. The clothes are clubby. Country clubby. One-percent-ish.”

Posted by Charlotte Allen


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