Taylor Swift ‘Midnights’ Era Outfit Review: Rusts, Collars, Fish Netting

Assessing the pop star’s most recent displays of good girl faith and tight skirts

Dewey Saunders/Gawker; Getty Images
an old cardigan

I can’t imagine that getting dressed is easy when cameras follow your every move and your stans interpret each and every layer of outerwear as the answer to a years-long sex riddle. I feel for Taylor Swift in this way. But all too often, when Swift is left to her own devices in getting dressed, they come with prices and vices and she ends up, often, in fashion crisis.

Recently, in the lead-up to Swift’s massive Midnights promotional tour, the singer has gone for a heavy ’70s aesthetic with occasional lapses into mirrorball glam. It’s mostly rusty reds and coppers, enormous trousers and tiny skirts, heavy tweeds, and pointy collars. It doesn’t always work, and it’s all a bit Harry’s House.

I’m starting to think Taylor might actually be the problem. Let’s go back in time and analyze.

July 30, 2022

On Selena Gomez’s 30th birthday, Taylor went standard Folklore/Evermore Swiftie with a cottage-quarantine patchwork Christy Dawn dress and piggy-tail braids. It’s a $498 dress that looks like it could be a $108 dress, which means it probably cost $8 to make, and I already spent that on Twitter Blue.

As Selena says goodbye to her 20s, it’s almost as if Taylor is saying goodbye to the old Taylor, who simply cannot and will not come to the phone right now, after one last romp. Could she be entering her Reputation era reputation era?

August 28, 2022

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Oh no. This frock is scarier, and it shows more skin. Taylor wore this hot little Oscar de la Renta number to the 2022 VMAs, during which she announced the existence of her album.

Obviously, Taylor is Pennsylvania’s hottest export besides Gisele Fetterman (when she was spotted in D.C. brunching with Chasten Buttigieg). She’s got the slimmest pins in show business and perfect schoolmarm posture, but I gotta say, I don’t love this one. It reminds me of when an Antarctic fur seal has netted trash around his neck but is still trying to stand tall, clinging to respectability politics.

Scott Portelli/Moment Open/Getty Images

Yes, he looks fab, but at what cost?

August 29, 2022

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In the end, the naked chain-suit was inoffensive and unconcerning and I was able to move on with my life for a few hours. But the next day, Taylor poured herself into this custom Moschino number for a VMAs afterparty, and I started to fear for all of our livelihoods. I don’t know, guess it’s because I’m an empath.

If I (god willing and the creek don’t rise) had a job doing Fashion Police commentary on the last page of Us Weekly, I would’ve submitted a joke calling this look “Majoryeti” (it looks like a marching band majorette sprouted a double coat of fur crucial to surviving Siberian winters). The joke would’ve been rejected for clarity reasons and space constraints, but I’d still be pretty happy about my work.


Moreover, while I contend that while Taylor’s probably some sort of genius, she has irrevocably corny impulses for creative direction. What would this rumpled satin onesie foretell for the look of her next Eras era?

Turns out, a lot. As evidenced in the two (at that point, still-yet-to-come) music videos released from Midnights, plus in this promotional still for her custom Tumblr skin, Taylor’s trafficking in wedgie-shorts and fur.

When she’s not dressed like Will Byers from Stranger Things, she’s wearing a VMAs after party inspired look in the Anti-Hero music video.

YouTube/Taylor Swift
YouTube/Taylor Swift

Absolutely too many Taylors. And it’s too dark!

I have nothing nice to say about the “Bejeweled” video so I’m not gonna say anything at all, except to say that leotard would look at home on a high school football field at halftime, too.

YouTube/Taylor Swift

And the furs? Also majorly majoryeti.

YouTube/Taylor Swift

September 1, 2022

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about how Taylor Swift was getting funnier on TikTok. This video does not apply.

Her light jeans and striped tee in early September — weeks before the definitive Midnights promo cycle — are a soft launch of a more explicitly costumed Taylor that we’ll soon witness. I could also see her co-conspirator Jack Antonoff looking good in this outfit.

September 9, 2022


Here’s Taylor at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting her “short film” about — though not featuring — ex-love Jake Gyllenhaal. Many think that like Jojo Siwa, Taylor is attmepting to EGOT. She’s dressed up like a stunning lil’ statue, but I can’t stop thinking about my friends of marine-life experience.

Joe Giddens - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

September 20, 2022

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

This doesn’t spark joy, but it doesn’t ignite my ire either. She seems like she’s dressing for revenge, but I’m not sure why she’s angry this time around. We decided that her boyfriend Joe Alwyn has it, and we wish them nothing but peace and well-paying supporting roles in period films.

September 21, 2022

In the first episode of a TikTok series in which Taylor unveils Midnights track names, she wears a big rusty blazer. She makes a lot of these videos, some of which we’re going to skip over because they’re unremarkable. She looks cute.

September 23, 2022

I liked this Levi’s sweater, for example.

September 26, 2022

Not all of these looks are instantly and effortlessly iconic, however. This off-the-shoulder peasant blouse and khaki look is normcore-by-accident, betraying her 1970s theming.

September 30, 2022

While announcing the title of the track “Maroon,” she looks bored and a little rumpled in sherbet stripes.

October 3, 2022

In an Instagram video she posted on her own feed, Taylor looks adorable in wide-legged khakis and a matching chevron-striped sweater vest. No notes. But then, I start to look at her surroundings. Did she build a studio set inside her Rhode Island home, installing temporary wood paneling over Gilded Age frescoes in order to bring this operation to her rather than go out on a photo shoot? Would it be like that photo of Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman looking at an iBook while wearing their Marie Antoinette costuming?


October 6, 2022

This is the worst outfit I’ve ever seen Taylor wear, and that includes this:

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

and this

Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

October 7, 2022

Taylor released a bunch of track titles in one day on TikTok, wearing mostly on-themed sweater vests and exaggerated collars. Her final look, however, in which she does a bit of trolling by announcing a track called “Lavender Haze” while wearing an oversized cat tee, is really something to behold. She looks comfy and at home.

October 24, 2022

NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Here’s businesswoman Taylor on The T*night Sh*w with J*mmy F*llon. She took a lot of flak for this Dorothee Schumacher three-piece, but I thought she looked cute. And you know who else must have taken style cues from Taylor? Bravo’s own pop princess Lisa Barlow of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, who engaged in some belt-the-house-down-boots behavior in a nearly identical look at Heather Gay’s choir audition.

So before you judge, think about that.

October 28, 2022

The Graham Norton Show

It’s hard to get too good of a look at what sorta festooned sports bra Taylor’s got on in this clip from The Graham Norton Show, but Taylor Swift Style, the original Taylor Swift fashion blog, revealed that this is a look from designer David Koma. I usually love gymnastics uniforms, but this one isn’t it. Eddie Redmayne looks cute, though.

November 13, 2022

Ian West - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images

This subversive take on a 2022 phenomenon known as “Large Underwear and Mesh” at the MTV Europe Music Awards must be a nod to “Bejeweled.” Obviously, she looks incredible. But I want her to try harder. No bracelets, not even this one? Is that the point? Am I the one not trying hard enough? Can women stand on their own two feet without bits and baubles? I just don’t know anymore.

Kate Green/MTV/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Anyway, here’s Taylor in a second look that underwhelmed me.

November 1, 2022

I respect Phoebe Bridgers as a writer, comedienne and for the time she posted this photo:

BUT I’m worried about her influence on Taylor. I think she and Taylor could both stand to scream a little more in their songs, and I’m just not sure Taylor and Joe are going to be able to pull something like this off in the future.

They’ll try. God knows Taylor is nothing if not a striver in plaid and bold stripes.

November 11, 2022

A denim and a flannel wrapped around a camo tee shirt dress? OK, she’s Met Ball punk again.

November 20, 2022


Mama? How is this outfit any different from your gold-festooned November 9 outfit? Adding pants is not a revelation. At least she kept the seals out of it this time.