Why Portia in ‘The White Lotus’ is a ‘weird girl’ style icon

6 mins
15 Dec 2022
Why Portia in ‘The White Lotus’ is a ‘weird girl’ style icon

Portia's haphazard personal style proves she's a true pioneer of the 'weird girl' aesthetic

words Sophie Lou Wilson

When season 2 of The White Lotus wrapped up, the most controversial moment wasn’t finding out who the dead bodies were, or wondering who had actually fucked who. No, the biggest question on most people’s lips was what the hell was going on with Portia’s wardrobe? There’s no doubt that the 24-year-old personal assistant had some of the most divisive on-screen style moments since Emily in Paris.

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

For many, her mismatched outfits conjured every TikTok trend since 2020 spat out and rolled into one. Bold sweater vest? Check. Choker? Check. Crochet bucket hat? Of course! All at once? You bet. Looking at the visceral hatred directed at these outfits online, you’d think that everyone had forgotten the obsession with the quirky, maximalist weird girl fashion trend that swept up the internet this year. So, we’re calling it now. Portia’s fashion wasn’t bad. She’s a weird girl style icon, actually.

Consider for a moment how you would feel about Portia’s outfits if they were worn by weird girl fashion pioneer Bella Hadid or queen of sweater vests Emma Chamberlain. The term weird girl was initially coined on Twitter this spring and the hashtag has since amassed 1.2 million views on TikTok. The aesthetic feels like the natural endpoint of TikTok trendcore as it combines several microtrends into one look – sound familiar?

Advertisement
ValentinesDay2_MOBILE_BANNER_600x500-2.jpg

The weird girl aesthetic was even named TikTok trend of the year in Lyst’s 2022 fashion report. It’s hardly a niche trend then, but like many digital fashion aesthetics, it clearly hasn’t translated into most people’s wardrobes just yet. But Portia has the weird girl look down, so perhaps she’s simply a misunderstood fashion icon ahead of her time (filming for The White Lotus started in Sicily in February 2022 and wrapped up in summer.)

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

According to The White Lotus costume designer Alex Bovaird, Portia’s wardrobe reflects the fact that she’s lost in life. Her outfits are made of haphazardly sourced vintage or vintage-inspired pieces that suggest she’s grasping at every single aesthetic in the hope that something will work and give her a sense of identity. It’s true that obsessively following trends can be a sign that you’re searching for security or approval, but experimenting with fashion is also a rite of passage in finding your personal style, and that’s true of every generation growing up, not just Gen Z.

Weird girl style is about dressing how you want in defiance of what anyone else might think. At the end of the day, Portia’s a character in a show so social media pile-ons about how ugly her style is won’t hurt her, even if actress Hayley Lu Richardson admitted that some pieces came from her own wardrobe. However, the weird girl aesthetic can be just as divisive in real life. When the trend was first acknowledged, self-confessed weird girls were up in arms about the fact that they’d always been picked on for dressing differently, but it took Bella Hadid appropriating it for it to be deemed cool

Were some of Portia’s looks a little offensive to our eyes? Yes, but the whole point of the weird girl aesthetic is that it’s supposed to look kinda ugly and mismatched. It’s about layering whatever with whatever and having fun with fashion rather than following a strict set of rules. If you want to wear a tiny striped cardigan over a zebra bikini, go for it. Portia might be cringe, but she is free!

Harry Styles’ launches new Pleasing apparel line at London pop-up

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

Harry Styles fans rise up! The cosy new Pleasing apparel line has arrived just in time for Christmas. Slouchy socks, hoodies, tees and shorts in soft blue and cream hues are perfect for snuggling up to watch your favourite festive movie in. The collection is available online and at the brand’s three holiday pop-ups in London, New York and LA open until 23 December.

Chopova Lowena’s iconic skirts now go up to size 26

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

If one cult piece cemented its icon status at the SS23 shows, it was the Chopova Lowena pleated skirt. If you missed out on their London sample sale earlier this month you can now pre-order one of their punky kilts for the new year. The carabiner skirts are fully adjustable, but until now had only been available in one size that fits UK sizes 6-14. However, the next drop will include a second size that fits UK sizes 16-26. Independent London brands are leading the charge when it comes to greater size inclusivity. The move follows in the footsteps of Sinead O’Dwyer who goes up to size 24-28 and Fashion East’s Karoline Vitto whose clothes also goes up to size 26.

Bottega Veneta supports small businesses around the world

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

Bottega Veneta has launched its Bottega for bottegas scheme for the second year running. ‘Bottega’ roughly translates to workshop in Italian, so this month, the brand is supporting small hand-crafted businesses from around the world by handing over website space, store windows and newsletters to local workshops hand-crafting everything from furniture and kitchenware to fresh pasta and gelato.

Burberry partners with charity to give children free cooked meals this Christmas

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

To help alleviate the cost of living crisis for families, Burberry has partnered with youth charity OnSide in providing 5,000 children with a free cooked meal. The scheme will help young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with access to food, warmth and community this winter. It’s the beginning of a long term partnership between the fashion brand and youth charity which includes financial donations and workshops empowering young people to explore their creativity and imagination.

Copenhagen Fashion Week introduces sustainability requirements

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

Copenhagen Fashion Week has announced that next season, brands will have to meet 18 sustainability criteria to take part. The event, which will take place from 31 January to 3 February 2023, features Scandi mainstays Ganni, Saks Potts and Stine Goya as well as smaller and emerging labels. Now, all brands must meet minimum requirements that include zero-waste show productions, not using single-use plastic packaging, ensuring fair pay and working conditions across the supply chain and producing collections from at least 50% certified recycled, upcycled or deadstock materials. It’s the first fashion week to implement this kind of criteria, but hopefully it’s a success and others soon follow suit.

Paris Hilton’s Barbie pink digi fashion line is so hot

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

If you loved Stardoll as a kid then this one’s for you. Paris Hilton has launched a hot pink Y2K digital fashion collection for avatar platform Genies Studio. The OG ‘00s It girl and self-appointed “Queen of the Metaverse” is embracing web 3.0 with a digital collection featuring futuristic Barbie pink wearables like a matching tracksuit, platform sneakers, headphones and statement sunglasses. That’s hot.

more stories

keep reading