‘The White Lotus’: Are Portia's Outfits Good or Bad?


At the beginning of last night’s episode of The White Lotus, Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) calls her Gen-Z assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) with an invite to go to Palermo on their new friends’ yacht. “You'll need to pack some cute things. Do you have cute things?” Tanya asks. “Yes,” Portia responds. That is debatable.

Over the past few weeks, Portia’s style has quickly become one of the show’s most hotly-debated topics, notably on Twitter. (Seriously, search “Portia White Lotus” and you’ll find nothing but critique.) Meanwhile, no outfits have sparked this much contentious discussion among Vogue’s fashion news team this year. 

Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) and Portia (Haley Lu Richardson). HBO

In short, the outfits are chaotic and clearly algorithmically informed. Each piece looks like it came from a #sponsored post on TikTok, whether the beaded phone chain she sported in the last episode, or her chartreuse nail polish. “Bad hip California young person working a job they hate,” is how fashion writer André-Naquian Wheeler described her style. She mixes prints with abandon, and almost everything is accessorized with chunky square sunglasses. You can see the inspiration: Emma Chamberlain and her maximalist style certainly must have been on the moodboard. But since every individual item feels like it’s grasping at a trend, when you put them all together, there’s little discernible personality beneath. 

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