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.

Then, in 2006, Givhan cast her sights on social conservatives, in a column tut-tutting WholesomeWear, a company that manufactured ultra-covered-up swimsuits for women whose religious beliefs forbid them to display their bodies in public:

A woman swaddled in WholesomeWear's knee-length nylon would stand out. Not just because she's covered up but because she's done it in such an unattractive way. Perhaps she is modest or religious or simply someone who really needs to get over the fact she doesn't have legs like Naomi Campbell. But in looking at all that camouflaging fabric, at the layers aimed at obscuring the physique, one wonders how a swimsuit "ministry" can save anyone's soul when such ungainly suits have so little appreciation for beauty.

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 manufactured by the company that bears her name.

Lilly Pulitzer clothes aren't all that expensive (dresses in the high-end line sell for about $200, and at Target you can pick up a low-cost version for $40), but they sure are preppy. And Robin Givhan hates preppy, because it stands for all those "old money" rich that Givhan couldn't stand when John Roberts dressed up his two kids in a seersucker short-pants suit and a party dress. Givhan writes:

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.

One-percent-"ish"! In other words, the people who rushed every Target outlet to buy themselves a lime-and-pink beach dress, couldn't have actually liked those "unattractive" pieces of clothing! They just wanted to ape rich people, silly fools.

In fact, a visit to the Lilly Pulitzer website reveals that Lilly Pulizer dresses are actually quite attractive: sunny resortwear in cheery prints and stripes whose simple and classy  lines look as though they would flatter a wide range of figures. Those women who bought out the Target collection might have wanted to look snooty, but they couldn't have looked any snootier than the fashion critic for the Washington Post.