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Gen Z’s Personal Met Gala: The Style Guide for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

With each of her Eras showing off an iconic image that fits every style, Taylor Swift is directing a concert fashion charge unlike any before.

Taylor Swift posing at different eras of her career. Top: @Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock, @Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock, @Everett Collection/Shutterstock Bottom: @Tinseltown/Shutterstock, @Brian Friedman/Shutterstock, @Jamie Lamor Thompson/Shutterstock

Back in November of 2022, Taylor Swift rocked the world with an announcement of an upcoming tour. Titled “Eras,” it was one of her most ambitious projects. She pledged to pay tribute to every album she’d produced throughout her storied sixteen-year career, and as of opening night on March 17th, she certainly delivered. To the shock and delight of almost 70,000 fans, the show ran for nearly four hours and was complete with stunning visuals, dozens of outfit changes, and even a little mystery.

However, the reach of the Eras tour quickly proved to go beyond the impressive scope of Taylor’s performance. Nicknamed “The Gen Z Met Gala,” the tour revealed the dedication and innovation of Swifties across the country. Fans turned out dozens of hand-made and custom fashion looks, some of which proved equally important to the audience as the concerts themselves. 

If you survived the Ticketmaster Hunger Games and secured a ticket, chances are you’re knee-deep in choosing the perfect outfit. If not, you’ve still come to the right place. In this article, I’ll take you through the ten Eras of Taylor Swift and share some of my favorite inspiration looks thus far. 

From a trending sound on Tik Tok to an iconic image that fits every style, Taylor Swift is directing a fashion charge unlike any ever seen before. Let’s get into it.

1. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift began writing music at sixteen. She signed a record deal with Big Machine Records under the guidance of CEO Scott Borchetta in 2005, and she quickly revealed a deep talent for rhythm and composition. Her debut album, simply titled “Taylor Swift,” is a venture into her experiences in high school, with the main themes being friendship, teen romance, and the changing nature of that time of her life. 

The album is full country, and her youthful innocence is reflected in her tight curls, sundresses, and cowboy boots. The Nashville-chic style is what fans have capitalized on in their Eras tour outfits, though most combine aspects of Swift’s original style with her later evolutions. Some common staples are a cowboy hat, boots, and a flowy sundress. While this isn’t as common an era to select, fans are still pulling out all the stops.

2. Fearless

Taylor Swift’s second album established her as a successful crossover artist. She initially released five singles, with the songs “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me” topping charts internationally and within the United States. She wrote most of the other songs while touring for her first album, and the success allowed her to add producer to her already impressive resume. Fearless is the most awarded album in the history of country music and was awarded Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2010. 

Her style for this album consisted of elegant ball gowns, sparkly fringe dresses, and quirky attributes like the lucky number 13 she painted on her hand. Most fans have opted for either a “gold and glam” look, or cowboy boots and a flowing white dress.

3. Speak Now

Taylor Swift’s third album debuted in the number one spot on the US Billboard 200 chart and sold over one million copies in its first week. The album was a departure from her previous works and combined the country-pop of her previous songs with a pop-rock element which was more grown-up. Considering this was the first album produced in her 20s, she definitely began experimenting with sound and style. Her music video for “Mean” held on to the strong throughline of country, while “Sparks Fly” and “Ours” were more modern glam. 

This is one of the more popular Eras showcased by fans at the concerts. The dresses range from skin-tight rhinestones to flowy chiffon, but all retain her iconic color purple. Most fans are dressing the look up a bit more with southern belle pearls and boots.

4. Red

Of all of the eras, this one has the most consistent aesthetic. Taylor Swift produced this album following a few tumultuous years in her twenties, and the upbeat, nearly chaotic style bleeds through into her lyrics. She stated in an interview that the purpose of her album was to show that anger, frustration, jealousy, love, and confusion are not beige feelings. Her hit single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” demonstrates this. 

Most of the Red themed outfits for the eras tour are, well, red. However, Taylor Swift’s love for all things vintage is present too. High-waisted shorts, ‘50s dresses, and her iconic red lip and bangs are staples for fan recreations, most of which are simple yet stylish.

5. 1989

The success of Taylor Swift’s fifth album launched her from a country singer to a pop-star phenomenon. The album won 3 Grammy awards including Album of the Year, and her single “Wildest Dreams” remains one of her most popular songs. In an interview with TMZ, Swift stated that most of her inspiration for the album came from listening to 80s pop, and the vibrant nature of this golden era for music is present in her new look. 

Sparkling crop tops, short skirts, and high boots mark the fashion of this album, and fans have taken it to the extreme. Fringed dresses, bedazzled skirts, and peppy energy make a comeback here. The more color the better.

6. Reputation

Following the release of her fifth album, Taylor Swift disappeared from the public eye for a year. The publicity stunt followed an explosive feud between her and Kanye West, and when Swift returned, she brought a new, darker aesthetic. Reputation was a deep dive into pop music, with a moody yet confident undertone that appealed to fans across the country. The single “Don’t Blame Me” is one of my personal favorites. 

This is easily one of – if not the – most popular era for fans. Most of the looks lean into the powerfully sensual energy of a woman scorned, complete with dark lipstick, black dresses, bodysuits, and a snake motif. Each look is unique, but fishnets, leather, and diamonds also appear here, making for a versatile selection.

7. Lover

Drastically different from its predecessor, Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album was the proverbial rainbow after the storm. All of Lover’s eighteen songs charted simultaneously on the Billboard Top 100, which earned Taylor Swift multiple records for the most-played female artist. She told fans on social media that excitement was the key theme of the album, and this is present in her peppy lyrics and her huge emphasis on budding and ever-lasting love. 

Though the pandemic cut this era short, it was no less impactful. Pastel pinks, blues, yellows, and purples washed over Swifties for months, and butterflies fluttered where snakes had once coiled. Most fans chose to represent this style through Barbie pink, but bedazzled rainbows, pastel gowns, and high white boots also show just how much love the fans have.

8. Folklore

While in quarantine, Taylor Swift spent months writing what is arguably the most influential album of 2020. The songs were inspired by the themes of isolation, escapism, and folk culture, and while the Indie-pop style isn’t for everyone, there is no denying that the songwriting is some of her best. NME wrote that the album is the “quintessential lockdown album,” and the Grammys agreed. Folklore earned Swift her third Album of the Year award, making her the first female artist to accomplish this feat. 

The aesthetic of this album was very simple. Cardigans, muted colors, and long skirts came to the forefront, making for a homey elegance. Many fans returned to black dresses, white skirts, and natural makeup, lending the era a very minimalistic yet earthy vibe.

9. Evermore

Just five months after her previous album, Taylor Swift released a continuation of her lockdown music. The two albums were very similar stylistically, except that Evermore had a fall and winter theme as opposed to Folklore’s spring and summer. Dubbed the “sister album” of its predecessor, her newest work was just as influential on the direction of quarantine music. 

The key mark fans are using to identify their outfits for this era is white lace. While sweaters, cashmere, and earth-toned pleated skirts are still present, the sheer lace has a distinct winter feel. The details personally remind me of snowflakes.

10. Midnights

Taylor Swift officially announced her tenth studio album in an acceptance speech at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. From there, she launched a Tik Tok series titled “Midnights Mayhem with Me” where she revealed each song title of the album one clip at a time. The mystery became a key element in her work, one that continued in the lyrical style of the album itself. While Midnights is a return to pop music, the rhythm has a soft edge that gives each song the impression of a gentle night. 

The hallmarks of the outfits for this era are dark colors, usually navy blue or black; silver stars; and a rhinestone emphasis on account of the popular track “Bejeweled.” For this era, skirts and dresses are more common than pants, but many fans have styled heeled boots, silver highlighted makeup, and gleaming jewelry to create the perfect look for the album that launched the Eras Tour at large.

Written By

Laurie Griffith is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Florida studying English with minors in Mass Communication and Classical Studies. In her free time, she enjoys devouring young adult novels, baking poorly, and practicing gymnastics with her club team.

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