How Taylor Swift’s “Tortured Poet’s Department” Style Compares to Past Eras


Like her musical eras, the popstar’s style has evolved over her nearly 20-year career

<p>Frazer Harrison/Getty</p>

The release of The Tortured Poets Department on Friday, April 19, marks the beginning of yet another era in Taylor Swift’s musical career.

Now on her 11th studio album, the singer-songwriter has emerged over the years as one of this generation’s biggest names in music. From a humble country music beginning to multiple musical genre switches, some acting stints, and the most recent display of her entire musical catalog on the wildly successful, history-making Eras Tour, Swift, 34, is no stranger to experimentation. Her style is no exception to that rule.

From cowboy boots to her latest “literary academia” inspired looks, Swift’s musical endeavors have often been reflected in her style choices. Read ahead to see how Swift’s style eras over the years compare to her latest stylistic and sound shifts from The Tortured Poets Department. 

Taylor Swift (2006)

Released in 2006, Taylor Swift’s eponymous album launched the then-16-year-old’s now storied career. A country album, this musical era is accompanied by a little bit of twang and a whole lot of cowboy boots. Mini dresses were a must, ensuring that Swift’s footwear was visible at all times.

<p>Ethan Miller/Getty</p> Taylor Swift at the Academy of Country Music New Artists' Party for a Cause show in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2007.

Ethan Miller/Getty

Taylor Swift at the Academy of Country Music New Artists’ Party for a Cause show in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2007.

<p>Ethan Miller/Getty </p> Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 42nd Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 15, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Ethan Miller/Getty

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 42nd Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 15, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Fearless (2008)

During her Fearless era, Swift took her country vibe to new heights, and added in plenty of sequins and fringe — after all, she does love glitter and sparkly dresses. However, the “You Belong With Me” singer kept true to her roots with plenty of cowboy boots and her signature curly hair. A truly ‘fearless’ combo!

<p>Jason Kempin/Getty</p>
Frazer Harrison/Getty Taylor Swift at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008 in Los Angeles.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Taylor Swift at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008 in Los Angeles.

Speak Now (2010)

Swift’s third album, Speak Now, saw a more romantic shift in the singer’s style. After songs like “White Horse” and “Love Story” appeared on Swift’s sophomore album, Fearless, the young country artist began experimenting with longer silhouettes, beading and updos. The color purple was a mainstay in this era of Swift’s style.

<p>Ed Rode/Nashville Rising/Getty</p>

Ed Rode/Nashville Rising/Getty

<p>Larry Busacca/Getty</p> Taylor Swift performs during the "Speak Now World Tour" at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2011.

Larry Busacca/Getty

Taylor Swift performs during the “Speak Now World Tour” at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2011.

Red (2012)

Swift’s Red era was, well, pretty red. The star favored a more streamlined color palette—blues, whites, blacks, and yes, reds, often pairing them with a high-waisted short for a retro vibe. Patterns were another favorite of Swift’s during the Red years, as she sported many a stripe and polka dot. The iconic “22” hat also made its debut here and has been one of the most celebrated looks on the Eras Tour ten years later. Her red lip also became her beauty signature.

<p>Lester Cohen/WireImage</p> Singer Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Lester Cohen/WireImage

Singer Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

<p>Scott Barbour/TAS/Getty</p>

1989 (2014)

1989′s release marked a major milestone in the then-24-year-old’s musical movements. The star, who had risen to fame with her country music, left her boots behind and made the full switch to pop music. Her outfits from this period are certainly inspired by her move to New York City around the same time — bright, sparkly and chic like the “City that Never Sleeps.” It might explain why she found herself wearing sunglasses so often!

<p>Jeff Vinnick/Getty</p> Taylor Swift performs in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2015.

Jeff Vinnick/Getty

Taylor Swift performs in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2015.

<p>George Pimentel/Getty </p> Taylor Swift performs in Montreal, Canada in 2015.

George Pimentel/Getty

Taylor Swift performs in Montreal, Canada in 2015.

Reputation (2017)

After the bright colors and sparkles of 1989, the “End Game” singer’s Reputation style took a dark turn — literally. After nearly vanishing from the public eye altogether, Swift reemerged, suddenly favoring dark colors, edgy metallics and her fair share of snake print.

<p>Jun Sato/TAS18/Getty</p>
<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/search/photographer?photographer=Frazer%20Harrison" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Frazer Harrison</a> / Staff / Getty Images</p> Taylor Swift attends the 2018 American Music Awards.

Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images

Taylor Swift attends the 2018 American Music Awards.

Lover (2019)

Almost as suddenly as they had appeared, Swift swapped her snakeskin for something a little softer. With the release of her 7th studio album, Lover, in 2019, love certainly seemed to be in the air as Swift once again donned sparkles and vibrant pastels.

<p>Todd Williamson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty</p> Taylor Swift performs during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

Todd Williamson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

Taylor Swift performs during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

<p>Stephen Lovekin/Variety/Penske Media via Getty </p>

Stephen Lovekin/Variety/Penske Media via Getty

Folklore (2020) and Evermore (2020)

Swift’s 9th and 10th studio albums, released only five months apart, signified another genre shift for the lyricist. With twinges of folk present in the music and writing on the two LPs, it’s easy to see how Swift’s style morphed into a reflection of the albums’ literary influences. Plaids and florals abounded in this style period, and Swift always appeared looking cozy — perhaps a nod to the sister albums’ pandemic release that kept many indoors.

George Pimentel/Getty

George Pimentel/Getty

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty </p> Taylor Swift at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards in 2021 in Los Angeles.

Kevin Winter/Getty

Taylor Swift at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards in 2021 in Los Angeles.

Midnights (2022)

Swift’s style during her Midnights era was reminiscent of a night sky. With deep blues and dripping sparkles, the “Anti-Hero” singer never failed to shine during this era — like a star at, well, midnight.

<p>Amy Sussman/Getty</p>
<p>Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic</p> Taylor Swift on the red carpet at the 65th GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles.

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Taylor Swift on the red carpet at the 65th GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles.

The Tortured Poets Department (2024)

Swift’s latest style endeavors are truly the looks of a tortured poet. It’s all a little bit preppy, a little bit edgy, and somehow, very literary. The 14-time Grammy winner’s accessories are the star of this era — doing more than just spicing up her outfit and sometimes functioning as the wearable Easter eggs that the superstar loves so much.

One of the biggest Easter eggs foreshadowing the star’s new musical era was the Schiaparelli gownshe wore to the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2024, seemingly channeling her own modern-day Clara Bow. Swift even named a song on TTPD after the 1920s silent film star. And in the “Fortnight” music video, Swift dons Bow’s signature doll-like makeup look (razor-thin eyebrows, smokey eye makeup and bold lipstick).

<p>Stewart Cook/CBS via Getty Images</p>

Stewart Cook/CBS via Getty Images

<p>Gotham/GC Images</p>

The Tortured Poets Department is now available on music platforms.

Read PEOPLE”s review of The Tortured Poets Department and dive deeper into the album’s deeply personal lyricscall-outs and more.

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Read the original article on People.



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