- Taylor Swift is a billionaire, but her style still reflects the girl next door aesthetic.
- That’s all strategic.
- Swift’s inelegant, recognizable approach to clothing is an integral part of her public persona.
In December, Taylor Swift — Time’s Person of the Year – dazzled in front of the camera in a black bodysuit, a floor-length chenille dress and a studded bustier dress.
At first glance, you wouldn’t know that the chenille dress was one of Alaïa’s most beloved recent offerings or that the bustier dress was the product of New York-based brand Area, infamous for their campaigns featuring false eyes And bejeweled death masks. Everything sharp about these original pieces had been sanded and smoothed to make them inoffensive – just the way Swift likes them.
It’s easy to forget that, despite the sales no less than 162 million records, Swift is a normal person with normal taste. It’s also easy to forget that those record sales allow her to do that an estimated fortune of $1.1 billionenough to wear any designer piece she wants, or to hire a stylist from across the industry.
So why does she insist on mismatched outfits?
A swipe at several Taylor Swift-style blogs will reveal it trail sneakers with muddy fleeces; Ren Faire-approved dresses with Jean Paul Gaultier boots; and Reformation high-heeled loafers behaved strangely with Chiefs sweatshirts. But these outfits aren’t the result of mediocre taste or fashion mistakes: they’re 100% strategic.
Building Swift’s public image
The Swiftian brand philosophy revolves around one essential idea: Taylor Swift is everyone’s best friend. In practice, that is endearing positivity (like Friendship bracelets), starry-eyed intimacy (like coded messages in her videos), and a strong emphasis on personal recognizability (such as her fashion choices).
Luxury is not recognizable. Your best friend probably doesn’t wear Balmain. She wears a crocheted top from H&Mor trends, such as cycling shorts and oversized t-shirts, well past their expiration date. Your best friend continues to add a belt for everything she owns. Your best friend doesn’t know what line or proportion means and doesn’t seem to care.
In it, Swift is able to transcend celebrity ideas and instead directly reflect the lives of her fans. Swift sings about the inner worlds of young women; she speaks like them; she even dresses like that. To imagine Swift taking aesthetic risks and opting for glamor is to imagine a Swift who actively rejects her audience.
Swift also shops where her fans shop Zara Unpleasant J. Crew – a strategy that has evolved smoothly from era to era. During the release of her 2012 album ‘Red’, she was often spotted in indie two-dots and saddle shoes from then-giants Urban Outfitters And Modcloth. During ‘Reputation’ she wore Madewell And Eternally 21 hoodies; during ‘Folklore’ Free people And Do cottage dresses. These choices are feasible, predictable, and non-threatening: purchases your best friend makes while shopping at the mall.
Lauren ShermanFashion correspondent at Puck news, astutely labeled Swift’s style “Anthropologie Gone Wild” – mismatched, outdated, pedestrian, but instinctive. “She knows her audience, and everything she does is aimed at that audience in some way, whether purposefully or unconsciously,” Sherman tells me.
Swift’s wealth is an aesthetic device
One of the criticisms often leveled at Swift is that her wealth allows her to dress lavishly, but that rarely happens.
According to The New York TimesSwift’s stage and red carpet stylist is Joseph Cassell Falconerwho dressed Swift for the Eras Tour in dazzled Zuhair Murad bodysuits and high performing Louboutin boots. However, there’s no indication that he’s solely responsible for her candid off-duty outfits, meaning Swift’s everyday, anodyne choices are her own.
Cookie Cohen, who runs the Instagram account @you are part of this – who reimagines Swift’s candid and red carpet outfits – says Swift’s low-key approach to wealth is doing more harm than good. “It feels like a disservice to repeatedly deprive Taylor, someone I feel connected to, of the resources she has at her fingertips,” Cohen says. “From a streetwear point of view it’s reassuring to see her in fast fashion that we can afford, but with the current environmental crisis it’s hard to see how she sometimes promotes fast fashion instead of wearing sustainable or substantial vintage pieces that her team could buy for her.”
Swift is no stranger to claims of anti-environmentalism, particularly her continued use of private jets. which led to 8,000 tons of CO2 emissions in 2022. With that in mind, downplaying her wealth is essential to Swift’s public goodwill. A photographed shopping trip or a ride in a sports car could call her entire brand into question. By dressing drab, Swift can hide all that, even if it means that Wearing Aritzia.
How Swift’s style may change – or not
Over the past few months (or, if you’re following things in Eras, since the release of her 2022 album Midnights), Swift has experimented with designer clothing and textures, of The row Unpleasant Yves Saint Laurent. Despite the higher price of these pieces, they are still incorrectly designed – from flabby proportions to hideous color palettes. Swift’s brand philosophy goes further: even your rich best friend can’t put together a good outfit.
Cohen notes where Swift is missing. “For red carpet looks I want simple, elegant and flattering. She is constantly missing all these features. I don’t want any more silver on her, it washes her out,” she says. “She needs to use her tall, lean body and wear dresses that flatter her. She also has too many accessories, and it doesn’t even distract from her ill-fitting clothes.”
Many celebrities have ditched it face of paradigm and chose to act as brand owners, creative directors and tastemakers Pharrell at Louis Vuitton And Rihanna at Fenty. Swift’s entrepreneurial spirit and recognizable, if polarizing, style offer an idea: what if Swift launches her own brand?
Sherman suggests it’s a matter of when, not as. “The reason Pharrell works is because it was so compelling. He fled his own fashion brand for 20 years. Something on that scale is a real job, not just a dip-in and dip-out situation. But I could see her launching her own brand, or doing something like that Angelina Jolie does it.”
The nature of Swift’s eras requires Swift to change quickly, taking on different personas and dressing herself in costumes. But if this is the end of her capital E eras, then it’s high time for Swift to show us where her aesthetic sensibilities really lie.