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Pulitzer was born in Roslyn, New York in 1931 and grew up in a wealthy family. She attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut and later married Peter Pulitzer, a member of the Pulitzer newspaper family. In the late 1950s, Pulitzer and her husband moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where she opened a juice stand called "Lilly's Grove." To cover up juice stains on her clothing, Pulitzer began designing and making her own dresses using colorful, printed fabrics. These dresses became popular with the socialites and tourists who frequented her juice stand, and Pulitzer eventually decided to start a clothing business.

In 1959, Pulitzer opened a small boutique in Palm Beach called "Lilly's of Palm Beach," which sold her colorful, tropical-themed dresses and other women's clothing. The boutique was a success and Pulitzer soon began wholesale distribution of her dresses to other stores across the United States. By the mid-1960s, Pulitzer's dresses were widely popular and she had opened additional boutiques in other locations.

In the 1970s, Pulitzer expanded her business to include a wider range of clothing, including men's and children's clothing, as well as home furnishings. She also opened a factory in Florida to produce her clothing. Despite financial difficulties in the 1980s, Pulitzer's company continued to grow and expand.

Pulitzer retired from the fashion industry in 1984, but her company continued to be successful under new ownership. Today, Lilly Pulitzer is known for its colorful, tropical-themed clothing and accessories and is a popular brand among women of all ages.