Taylor Swift's style evolution
She never goes out of style
Look out, Swifties: Lover is nearly upon us. As Taylor Swift enters a new era, we look back on how her fashion has grown alongside her irresistible melodies.
At the 2006 ACM Awards
For her first Academy of Country Music Awards — which took place just a few weeks before her debut single "Tim McGraw" dropped — Swift wore a perfectly country dress with a handkerchief hem and, naturally, cowboy boots. She would return to the show the following year to collect the award for New Female Vocalist of the Year.
At the 2007 CMT Music Awards
For the 2007 CMT Awards, where she won Breakthrough Video of the Year for "Tim McGraw," Swift maintained her princess profile by bringing back this iridescent aquamarine dress from the wistful "Teardrops on My Guitar" music video and wearing her long curly hair loose.
In the "Our Song" music video (2007)
For this joyous, consciously girly clip, Swift sang about a slammin' screen door and sneakin' out late tappin' on your window while wearing a periwinkle corset and tulle skirt.
At the 2008 Grammy Awards
Swift's Grammy look in 2008 recalled the frothy gown from the "Our Song" video but glammed it up for the carpet, coming in a darker shade with floral embellishments.
In the "Love Story" music video (2008)
Swift wasn't shy about rearranging classic literature with her "Love Story" lyrics (that's not how Romeo and Juliet ends, kids!), but she kept the wardrobe old-school. Her cream-colored dress in the romantic music video was made in her then-favorite style of drop-waisted corset dresses, keeping up her distinctly fairy-tale image.
In the "You Belong with Me" music video (2009)
Here come the white dresses! While Swift's band-geek uniform and Junior Jewels T-shirt in the "You Belong with Me" video are obviously iconic, her arrival at the prom in this sweet white dress (the first of many) marks her full self-actualization as both a nerdy girl in love and a white dress-wearing singer of swoony country-pop songs.
In the "Fifteen" music video (2009)
And here's a more casual take! In the "Fifteen" music video, Swift slowly catwalked through her new high school while reflecting upon growing up, as all innocent freshmen do, while wearing a ruffled white dress and loose hair.
At the 2009 VMAs
Swift was swept into a very weird narrative (which she would very much like to be excluded from, even now) when she won the Moonman for "You Belong with Me" at the 2009 VMAs. Luckily, she was dressed for the spotlight in this glittering-Greek-goddess gown by KaufmanFranco, a more grown-up look than her princess dresses of the past. (That's not to mention the more grown-up lip color, of which we promise there will be more...)
At the 2010 Grammy Awards
Swift dressed for her big night — winning Album of the Year, among three other awards — at the 2010 Grammys as a mermaid rather than a princess, choosing a glittering blue gown by KaufmanFranco.
At the 2010 Met Gala
The 2010 Met Gala theme was "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity," which suited Swift well. The singer appeared in a ruffled white dress that aligned perfectly with her own romantic style as well as the Met's theme, coming from the all-American Ralph Lauren.
Onstage during the Speak Now tour (2011)
Swift began to let her showgirl out during the Speak Now era, for which she wore a fringed, beaded gold dress — with black cowboy boots, because these were still her country days, lest we forget — while touring the album.
At the 2012 Grammy Awards
Swift glittered in Zuhair Murad Couture at the 2012 Grammys, in a sophisticated silhouette that marked a departure from her princess style days.
At the 2012 Billboard Music Awards
For the BBMAs in spring of 2012, the star appeared without her signature curls, instead sporting straight hair and blunt bangs. The sleeker 'do matched her Elie Saab dress, the color of which also departed from the sweet pastels of days past — and also, possibly, was a clue to the title of her next album...
At the 2012 VMAs
It was back to white for Swift at the VMAs in 2012, where she wore — gasp! — a chic pantsuit instead of a dress. Get used to those clean lines — and that red lipstick.
In the "22" music video
Swift posed through the "22" music video in a shimmery T-shirt that read "NOT A LOT GOING ON AT THE MOMENT," black shorts, a black hat, and heart-shaped sunglasses that matched her now-constantly red lips. The look firmly established the pared-down, retro-cool (but quirky — the sunglasses!) vibe of the Red era.
In the "Begin Again" music video
When Red-era Swift wasn't dressed as a slightly-too-polished hipster, she went more literally retro, looking like a 1950s ingénue in fitted dresses and cardigans, like in the "Begin Again" music video.
Onstage at the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival
Swift brought the new era to the stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2012 (and then on the Red tour) in costumes that matched her "22" video look — but with just a little more sparkle.
At the 2013 Grammy Awards
Through it all, Swift's commitment to airy white dresses has never wavered (um, except maybe until Reputation), and she hit the Grammy carpet in 2013 in this Grecian-glam look by J. Mendel — a sleeker version of her 2009 VMAs dress.
At the 2014 Grammy Awards
Who says simplicity can't make an statement? The singer sparkled at the 2014 Grammys in this Gucci Première column dress.
At the 2014 Met Gala
Once again, the Met Gala theme seemed designed specifically for Taylor Swift in 2014, when the ball celebrated Charles James. The legendary designer's elegant style lined up perfectly with Swift's penchant for '50s silhouettes, and she chose a very on-theme pale pink Oscar de la Renta gown for the occasion.
At the 2014 VMAs
Swift's outfit at the 2014 VMAs, which took place in the leadup to 1989, marked a new irreverence and a departure from the ultra-femininity of the previous era. She played with proportion in a long-sleeved, short-shortsed, alphabet-printed romper by Mary Katrantzou, topping the look with red lips and chopped hair.
In the "Blank Space" music video
The self-aware — and exceptionally stylish — "Blank Space" music video made clear that Swift was over being the midcentury sweetheart and the sexy hipster that she alternately dressed as in the Red era. She went through a whole slew of fabulous costumes in the clip as a dream girl-turned-nightmare, but none expresses the evolution better than this leopard-print blouse, smeared eye makeup, and crazed expression.
Onstage with Selena Gomez during the 1989 tour (2015)
1989 was all about crop tops for Taylor Swift (keep reading!), and on the album tour — during which she famously brought dozens of her BFFs to the stage — she often wore this bejeweled two-piece outfit in one of her all-time favorite colors.
Onstage with Ellen DeGeneres during the 1989 tour (2015)
Swift also brought some full-blown showgirl sparkle to her 1989 show, and Ellen DeGeneres apparently loved the look so much, she copied it for her appearance on the tour.
At the 2015 Grammy Awards
Mid-2010s Swift never met a cutout she didn't like, as evidenced by the teal ombré Elie Saab she wore to the Grammys in 2015.
At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards
We weren't lying about the cutouts! Or the white! Swift looked sharp at the 2015 BBMAs — but not as sugary-sweet as her earlier all-white looks — in a sequined, floor-skimming jumpsuit by Balmain.
At the 2015 VMAs
The crop top queen made a bit of an edgy choice when she hit the 2015 VMAs — where she presented her dear old pal Kanye with the Video Vanguard Award — in a sequined houndstooth tracksuit by Ashish.
At the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar party
Swift was the epitome of sleek in Alexandre Vauthier Couture at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2016.
At the 2016 Grammy Awards
Swift stuck to the clean lines and sleek fabrics she favored throughout the 1989 years but went with a bold palette at the 2016 Grammys, in a lipstick-red crop top over a voluminous hot pink maxi skirt by Atelier Versace.
At the 2016 Met Gala
Taylor first dipped her toe in the dark side at the 2016 Met Gala, the theme for which was "Manus x Machina." The singer topped her Louis Vuitton minidress with lightened hair and darkened lips — and took the new look all the way to the dance floor with Tom Hiddleston.
With Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne at Swift's 2016 Fourth of July party
Swift's hottest accessory of the 1989 era? Her squad, naturally. They didn't just coordinate their wardrobe to play a team of badass lady fighters in the "Bad Blood" music video, they also sported matching patriotic swimsuits, memorialized on Instagrams, for Swift's highly photogenic Fourth of July party in 2016.
In the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video (2017)
Look what we made her wear. Swift made clear she wasn't messing around when she debuted the video for Reputation's lead single, in which she kills off all her sparkling former selves (including at least five wearing outfits featured in this very list), while the cool new Taylor wears black shorts and a black sweatshirt over a fishnet bodysuit — and, of course, dark red lips.
Onstage during the Reputation tour (2018)
Dark New Taylor was the star of the Reputation tour, and she brought the aesthetic introduced in "Look What You Made Me Do" (and an accompanying snake motif) to the stage with this glittering, single-sleeved black leotard.
Onstage during the Reputation tour (2018)
Grim as much of the Reputation era was, however, Swift hinted at a light at the end of the tunnel, performing part of the tour show in this rainbow romper (which also brought back the showgirl beading she's always embraced onstage). Still, nothing could have fully prepared us for the sartorial pendulum swing that came next...