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Haute Couture to High Tea: The Enduring Appeal of “Ladies Who Lunch” Fashion


Fashion Month has come and gone. We were transported back to an era of sophistication, scandal, and luxury as we admired the lavish accessories, luxurious fabrics, and structured suits of the Fall/Winter 2020 collections.

Ryan Murphy immortalized the story in Feud: Capote Vs. Naomi Watts, Chloe Sevigny, and Diane Lane were all portrayed in The Swans by Naomi Watts. Demi Moore, Calista, Flockhart, and Molly Ringwald played the high society debutantes. They topped the international best-dressed list and graced Vogue with their romantic affairs, secretive relationships, and entanglements.

Capote’s muses will be more relevant in 2024 than ever before, not only on TV, but also on the runways, and in social media feeds. We’re going to break down the fashion trend of ladies who lunch.

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The Trend

You’ve found the right place if you’ve always dreamed of dining in a quiet ambiance, dressed in couture, among the Upper East Side elite. Let’s explore the sartorial secrets behind The Swans’ timeless appeal.

The wardrobes of women who lunched were master classes in deliberate dressing. Whether they were dressed in satin blouses with statement necklines, or tailored suits in subtle hues, their outfits showed a great deal of thought. The presentation was key in their world. The minimalist approach of Babe Paley, Slim Keith’s androgynous shapes, and C.Z. This style, influenced by East Coast prep and Guest’s East Coast sensibility is a testament of the power that timeless pieces have over transient fashion trends.

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The Swans style is a classic American staple thanks to its timeless appeal. Sheath dresses, bold outerwear, and other wardrobe staples are still popular today.

Need proof? You only need to look at the runways of this season: Dior introduced a tribute to 1960s elegance, Schiaparelli adopted architectural suits, and Hermes created monochromatic looks with a nod to timeless sophistication. Marc Jacobs’ off-calendar collection featured a doll-like version of the socialite-matching set.

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Style Trends IRL

You’re not the only one who won’t be buying ready-to-wear in Paris or Milan this season. It’s possible to copy The Swans’ signature look without spending a fortune. It’s all about finding new takes on classics. You can find timeless staples in buttoned-up pieces, such as matching suits and vests, or oversized coats, that will last for years.

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For a contemporary twist, try the pearls draped slightly off-center against structured collars from Miu Miu’s latest collection. For a streetwear touch, pair tailored separates from Samba with colorful sneakers by Adidas, New Balance, or Samba. Accessorizing is important in the Swans universe as demonstrated by costume designer Lou Eyrich. Choose statement earrings for a modern twist or a claw clip to add some flair.

Get the Look

This season, tailored silhouettes are back in style. Menswear continues to be the most popular fashion trend. You can wear a tailored suit jacket that accentuates the waist or a chunky knit with a belt to add interest. Straight-leg trousers are a great alternative to wide-leg pants. The ladies lunch look is versatile and can be worn to navigate corporate boardrooms, indulge in afternoon gossip and enjoy prosecco with light bites. Public fallouts and public PR nightmares are not included.

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