In 10 years Taylor Swift has evolved not only as a singer but also as a fashion icon. She began as a curly-haired girl at the age of “Fifteen,” grew into her chic look when she was “22” and now shows off her designer “Style” on the red carpet.
Taylor Swift’s hair symbolizes her epic transformation from country sweetheart to pop queen.
She began with long, golden ringlets à la Shirley Temple. The messy ‘do captured her sassy teen romance songs about standing up to bullies or getting revenge on exes who had mistreated her. Her country flair was embodied in the curls, which were so frequently paired with chiffon fairytale dresses that the hair seemed naturally grown.
Then came the shock in “Red” when Swift began her gradual descent into pop territory, opting for softer, sleeker waves. Her dirty blonde hair no longer felt country without the orange-gold Tennessee tint.
But the full-fledged transition didn’t occur until her debut pop album “1989,” for which she chopped off her long locks in exchange for a straight, blonde bob. Her glossy bangs stood out as a stark contrast to her former carefree, country vibe. She evidently felt she needed the smooth, modern hair to match her new pop-starlet persona.
And yes, she briefly experimented with platinum-blonde beach waves for Vogue and Coachella in 2016 — her worst look, which luckily didn’t last.
The history of Swift’s hair is just as inconstant as her music genre. In 10 years, she grew up and out of country curls and into her contemporary cut.
— Lindsay Weinberg
Classic red lips
Swift’s red lips are her most constant and iconic signature look. While the general public has watched her hair transform from curly innocence to the sleek, platinum bob of Los Angeles, the flash of red has found residence in both the old and new Swiftdom. Swift has completely metamorphosed into the epitome of a triple threat: a musician, an actress and a respectable fashion icon. This was done so successfully, in fact, that the days of her original album “Taylor Swift” seem to be those of a different person than those of the most recently released “1989.”
What seems to connect these two eras, however, is her red lips.
The usage and eventual evolution into ownership of red lips associates her with timelessness. Red lipstick immediately calls to mind American cultural icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. They have managed to transcend time due to their talent and conventional beauty. By adapting an established yet old-fashioned fashion trend, Swift has added her name to a list of immortalized celebrities. Because of this, at least contemporaneously, a streak of blonde hair, a quick smize and a dash of red lipstick is a Swift starter pack.
[Read more: UCLA students’ love of Taylor Swift goes back years]
Swift captured attention at the Grammys’ red carpet at the tender age of 19. Marked with innocence and coyness, her youth radiated through her golden locks. Although her looks can be hit-or-miss, each phase of Swift’s red carpet looks contributes to her growth into a confident, sexy star.
During Swift’s first debut in 2008, she wore a Sandy Spika gown with turquoise eyeliner and a lavender dress. Needless to say, she looked as if she were attending a high school prom in Tennessee.
Despite drowning in her black, V-cut dress in 2009, Swift succeeded in finding an acceptable red-carpet style with a KaufmanFranco label.
KaufmanFranco delivered another safe yet typical look for Swift again the following year with a sparkly blue, floor-length dress. The look walked a fine line between high fashion and the opening credits of a Star Wars movie.
For the 2012 Grammys, a beige dress from Zuhair Murad elevated Swift’s red-carpet presence, causing second glances for the first time. Swift ditched her childish trademark curls in order to convey a more chic look by pulling her hair back into a bun.
Swift finally took advantage of her model-esque stature in 2013’s cream J. Mendel gown, accentuating her face with blunt bangs and a single braid into her bun.
However, 2015 was Swift’s best year, in which she rocked a dynamic dress by Elie Saab that transitioned from turquoise to indigo and back to turquoise. Not only did her dress and accessories heat up the red carpet, but Swift also got a hold of a flat iron for the first time at the Grammys.
Swift redefined herself as a woman this year. There was more skin than ever – Swift wore a colorful Atelier Versace burnt-orange bandeau and a flowy fuchsia maxi skirt with a high slit. Her unsurprising red lipstick paired well with a sharp bob haircut.
After nine Grammy shows, Swift is finally getting it right, transforming from awkward-teen country princess to pop icon on the red carpet.
— Semaj Earl
Met Gala guru
Swift made it clear she was done playing it safe with the release of her album “1989,” which included hit songs that strayed from her seemingly humble beginnings. Her latest Met Gala style conveys the same message.
Swift’s Met Gala outfits, prior to 2016’s custom Louis Vuitton ensemble, kept up her lovestruck country singer image. The long and elegant gowns, styled by Badgley Mischka and the late Oscar de la Renta, were perfect for gliding down the aisle of the Staples Center to collect yet another Grammy Award – but not for turning heads at an event where daring fashion is the main attraction.
At the 2016 Met Gala, Swift complemented her revealing metallic snakeskin dress and tall, strappy heels with dark lipstick and bleached hair. The daring ensemble allowed Swift to showcase a dramatic aesthetic shift that mirrored her evolution as a businesswoman and power player in the music industry. The look demonstrates Swift’s departure from dressing up in gowns and singing songs about princesses. She now occupies herself with more visceral songs and animal skins, as well as strictly enforcing the copyrights of her iconic lyrics as a side hobby.
— Alex Del Rosario