Sartorial Sustainability Sunday: A Conversation with Mimi, @theyearoflilly

last week…

I virtually met Mimi of @theyearoflilly after she shared with me an amazing resource for identifying vintage Lilly Pulitzer and other brands. Since then, her feed has been on my radar and I find myself checking back at least once week to see how she works Lilly Pulitzer in her {literal} everyday wardrobe.

Mimi not only studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but she also has an internship at Glamour on her resume, and has worked in social media for nearly five years. At the beginning of 2018 she owned a mere three pieces of Lilly Pulitzer, but it has since grown considerably. While our conversation began around the reuse concept of sustainability, we ended up discussing much about her year-long experience in living the #resort365 life, despite living in a cold climate.

L – Tell me about your year of Lilly? Are you wearing all Lilly Pulitzer all the time? Did you start this project on 1/1/2019? Spill the juice about what inspired you.

M – This started off as a joke with a girlfriend She said “I bet you have enough you could wear it every day for a year.” This sparked the idea of not only actually doing it, but logging the analytical data for a brand new social media account and growing it organically. My background and my first love is digital design, social media and marketing. It started off as a way for me to use my skills in a time in my life that I’m not in my career field. (I live overseas with my husband until June 2019)

I officially began 1/1/2019 so it hasn’t been that long. I do wear Lilly everyday. I have so many small pieces that get overlooked normally that I find myself wanting to highlight those.

L – I relate. Within the past two months, I found myself neglecting my Lilly Pulitzer jewelry and consequently styled all of my jewelry with outfits {well in advance} so I don’t wear certain go-to pieces (looking at you, set of pearls) over and over again. I used to have many pieces that I overlooked and while I am on the west coast for such a short period of time for my husband’s job, inadvertently put a bunch of my Murfee scarves in storage. Tragique.

M – I have a bad habit of using my go-to pieces but since I consciously make an effort now, I have gotten more creative with my styling. I’ve put jewelry with some clothing pieces I wouldn’t have normally done.

I have posted consecutively for 140 days including the time when I had too much to drink and *ahem* drunk posted from Munich during Springfest.

L – Under-the-influence posts and captions happen. I applaud your commitment!

M – Thankfully it’s only been once and I don’t think anyone knew!

L – I love that you include #serialoutfitrepeater in your Instagram bio. So many bloggers / Instagrammers / influencers have a seemingly endless closet and not only is that unrealistic, but it is irresponsible in terms of the environment. What is the one (or two or three) items in your closet that you keep coming back to?

M – This is so important to me. As someone who has “a lot of clothes” to everyone else, I rarely buy new. 98 percent of my closet hard second, third, and something 11th hand. I am also very real about the money I spend on clothes and fashion. I’ll always be more excited to tell someone “I spent two dollars on this!” I’m always looking for a good deal which sometimes means not focusing on the brand. If I spend money on an item, it is a statement piece and a closet keeper. I want to inspire people to do the same; style and fashion do not have to be new and expensive. You can’t buy good taste. My go to pieces are easy, because you see them a lot on my IG. My Slathouse Soirée popover, my Jet Stream Elsa, and any of my Owens. (I own all six.) I probably put these on once a week, even if you don’t see them. But I might splurge on a swimsuit soon and because I’m moving back to the south and a pool, it might become my new favorite piece.

L – Amen, you cannot buy good taste. I am going to refrain from calling out certain very wealthy celebrities here.

You introduced me to the Vintage Fashion Guild Label Resource, which I have referenced many times since you have shared it with me, in my quest for vintage Lilly Pulitzer. Reuse is just another approach to practicing sustainability. About how much of your Lilly Pulitzer is vintage rather than the new pink label, percentage-wise?

M – I wish this was so much more. If we’re talking true vintage, I have two pieces. But if we’re talking white label/pink label, it’s probably 50/50. Lilly Pulitzer used to to design some wild stuff and I love seeing all of it. I’m a curvier girl, so a lot of true vintage items are hard to find in my size. But I have a ton of cute white label cropped pants that I’m excited about wearing this summer.

L – I had to go up a couple sizes in the super old styles, but apparently that is the norm with the vintage sizing. I found an eBay seller who has a stockpile of size 12 and 14 shift dresses and I have nearly cleaned out her supply.

Where do you usually shop vintage / second or thirdhand Lilly Pulitzer from, being overseas?

M – Primarily through Poshmark and BST pages. Although some thrift stores post online now and that’s how I got my Molly Haynes for $17!

Sometimes I get lucky and find them at the military base thrift store. Rarely.

My friend Katy has been my post office in between for over a year now. I’ll buy something, ship it to her house and then when the box is full, she ships it to me. It is a whole production.

L – That is clever. When my family lived overseas in the 90s, I do not think that ever crossed my mom’s mind. Other that Lilly Pulitzer, are there any other vintage labels that you have found yourself as obsessed?

M – Because thrift store shopping is trendy right now, vintage clothing is getting more expensive. Which is okay, but annoying. I didn’t grow up with new clothes so we thrifted clothing before it was cool. I do live in Europe and have for the last four years. The thrift shopping here is amazing, especially in Prague and London. Some of my favorite pieces were from street vendors. I don’t stop with just clothes though, my whole house is furnished with second hand items and pieces found at flea markets. Our TV is truly the only thing we’ve bought brand new.

L – I was just in Palm Springs and if you are ever out there, the vintage and antiques (albeit upscale) is amazing, especially if you love midcentury. Otherwise, the thrift stores in the northeast United States are such gold mines; my favorite is in Newport, Rhode Island. I got my Master’s degree in Historic Preservation, so I am especially interested in the furnishings that go along with the built environment.

If I can suggest keeping an eye out for Vested Gentress and Key West Clothing Company, both are apparel companies from the same era as OG Lilly Pulitzer and one hundred percent looking into on eBay before the rest of the world catches on.

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