Victoria’s Vogue: Taylor Swift’s style evolution mimics the growth and arc her albums have followed

Oct. 25, 2022, 7:25 p.m.

Taylor Swift is not only the “mastermind” of pop music but also a genius when it comes to reinventing her style with each era. Swift’s mode of dress around the release of the icon’s latest album “Midnights” reflects the lyrics composed within. Further, though, her choices also demonstrate her increased personal comfort with self-expression and her impressive ability to transform her fashion with each album.

Swift, well known for constantly redefining herself and transforming her music anew, dazzled the world of pop with her poignant lyricism. Fans cherish her for the perspective of the human experience that her music explores, tackling everything from self-doubt to relationships. Throughout this successful career, Swift’s style has evolved to imitate the atmosphere her music presents.

In Swift’s debut album, her style, hair and makeup reflected her country roots. Swift learned songs like those by famed multiple Grammy-Award-winning country music group The Chicks as she learned to play guitar. She additionally cited country queen Dolly Parton as one of her influences from a young age. Swift’s first red carpet appearance at the Academy of Country Music Awards featured a floral dress from BCBG Max Azria and metallic cowboy boots fitting for an album with songs like “Tim McGraw.”

Swift could also be seen in her curly hair and her babydoll white dresses during the release and promotion of her sophomore album “Fearless,” but she began to appear in more sequined tank dresses. Within the album, Swift maintained country elements but her transition to pop had begun, especially with commercially catchy hooks in songs like “White Horse.”

The theme of sparkles recurred once more when she toured for her third album “Speak Now.” Furthermore, as Swift began to collect Grammys, she also appeared in more custom-made and designer dresses, such as her Valentino ball gown on the “Speak Now” World Tour.

Swift’s first true pop album, “1989,” brings the sparkles in pops of color like never before. On the world tour, she was seen in coordinating sets in glimmery bold colors like the Jessica Jones tasseled green crop top set. Unlike before, her outfits were more sleek and had cleaner lines, such as the sequined jumpsuit with cutouts from Balmain she appeared in for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.

With the release of “Reputation” — an album on the devastating rumors and loving someone at their lowest — Swift rocked a dark lip and bleach blonde hair to suit the vengeful undertones of the record. This era’s sparkles were tempered with black leather boots or leather jackets to convey song titles like “Don’t Blame Me” and “I Did Something Bad.”

The outfits during the releases of “folklore” and “evermore” give the impression of cozying up in a cabin in the woods, reflecting the intimate storytelling approach Taylor Swift took during these eras. Swift could often be spotted in a mix of Ulla Johnson, Free People, Magnolia Pearl and other brands that convey a sense of cool girl boho or what we would call “cottagecore” chic on TikTok.

With “Midnights,” Swift transitions into the ’70s and delves deeper into the dark side of stardom. Swift communicates the divide between her glitzy glam and the comfort she sports at home.

In the “Anti-Hero” music video, we see her in a cozy sweater, pants and Fendi sneakers with her guitar as a contrast to the Farm Rio shimmery bodysuit she wears with knee-high green Prada boots.

In the release videos leading up to “Midnights,” she leans towards ’70s fashion, mixing it with popular trends of today.

In her video on “Snow on the Beach” from #MidnightsMayhem — where she revealed a new song title off her tracklist — she wears a striped Reformation sweater mini dress. She appears in a warm green cardigan from Levi’s with white flowers for the announcement of “Vigilante Shit”, potentially a call to the revival of crafts like knitting during the 70s. Throughout this series, Swift can be seen in warm tones, either remnants of her fashion from “folklore” and “evermore” or an ode to fall fashion.

Her hair and makeup also contribute to the theme. The hair emulates that of Stevie Nicks; her recent glamorous eye make-up looks (especially the bejeweled one in collaboration with Pat McGrath) contribute to the storyline of a starlet’s troubles.

Swift’s fashion now seamlessly elevates everyday styles anyone could wear into appearances. Most of us may not have Fendi Match sneakers to be cozy in, but we can emulate her carefree style just as easily.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and contains subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Victoria Hsieh '24 is a Desk Editor for the Business and Technology Desk looking to major in Computer Science and minor in Political Science. She is from Seattle and thereby a caffeine and hiking fanatic. Contact The Daily’s News section at news ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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