If you consider yourself a Swiftie, or simply a Taylor Swift fan, odds are good that you have your own favorite era. Some people prefer the earlier ones, others live and breathe her most recent endeavors. Whatever you opinion is, it’s impossible to deny the fact that Taylor handcrafts her image for every album cycle, or era, as one could call it.
If you want to pick your own favorite era, you have to take a look at everything that went on during said time period. What was Taylor wearing? Who was she singing about? What was the tour like? All of these are valid questions, so here is a handy walkthrough of every era, so you can decide for yourself.
Swift’s self-titled country debut was released in late 2006, when she was just 16 years old. This was the beginning, so there was no headlining tour for her. Instead, she was playing radio stations, talks shows, and opening up for other country acts. She joined Rascal Flats and George Strait on the road before landing an opening slot on Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s joint tour in 2006-07. Taylor was a country dream at the time- she wore sun dresses and headbands, helping her earn the “good girl” title, which she went on to shed a few eras later.
Fresh off of her notorious break up with Joe Jonas, the Fearless era is when Swift started to become a household name. Her sophomore album Fearless was released in 2008, and was a critical and commercial success. It features her classic hits, “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” and later led to her first headlining tour in 2009, which featured Kellie Pickler and Justin Bieber — way back when he was just a swoopy-haired teen.This era was filled with glittery gold outfits, a bold change from her previous floral/countryside look. She wore her signature golden curls the entire era, and who could forget her iconic winged eyeliner? This is also when the famous VMA incident happened, which sparked drama that just may never end. Regardless of the drama, this album helped her become the youngest person to ever win the Grammy for album of the year. She was now bigger than ever.
There was a major shift in the Speak Now era. Aesthetically, Taylor began to incorporate a lot of purples, pinks, and fairy tale imagery to her look. She wore an iconic purple dress for her Speak Now tour, along with the famous “13” drawing on her hand — still sporting the curls, just not quite as free-flowing. But this was the first album where she began writing about people who were in the public eye — Kanye West as well as exes Joe Jonas and John Mayer — just to name a few. Since she was now a well-known public figure, she was watched closely, and everyone began to dissect who and what her lyrics were about. This is also when it became popular to slut-shame swift for all of her relationships. Sure, she was a 19-year-old experimenting with relationships, but that didn’t stop her from meeting fans and promoting her princess persona.
The Red era was a combination of bold red lips (get it?!) and long, straight blonde hair with bangs. This was Swift’s edgiest look yet — she swapped flowy dresses for fedoras, high-waisted shorts, and striped tees. When Red was released in late 2012, Taylor had drastically changed her entire look, going from a dreamy fairytale girl to broken-hearted twenty something who was calling out all of the boys who dared to break her heart — oh, and saying goodbye to her bouncy curly ‘do. She started the era being constantly criticized for her relationships, and the classic argument that she only wrote love songs was never ending. She experimented with pop sounds and different producers, which led to a country-pop album that earned Swift her second Grammy nomination for album of the year.
In 2014, Swift announced that her fifth studio album would be fully pop, with no country elements. Some fans were mad, others understood that it was the natural direction for her to go in. She enlisted in Jack Antonoff to help her channel ‘80s sounds for her first pop album. The 1989 tour became the highest-grossing tour of 2015 and features neon lights, sequined jumpsuits and a short bob for Taylor — forever saying goodbye to her once-signature hairstyle.
After 1989, Swift took her longest hiatus to date. Normally, she would release an album every other year in the fall. Her sixth studio album was expected to be released autumn 2016, but it never came. Instead, Taylor took this time to “take a break” and (involuntarily) became involved in some serious celebrity drama. She had a few different looks during this hiatus: At first, she cut her hair super short for the 2016 Grammys, then shortly after that, went full-on bleached blond. Everything pointed to a new album and era from her, but fall 2016 came and went, and there was no new album.
After months of silence, Swift posted a cryptic snake video to her Twitter, which signified a new era; the Reputation Era, which is now in full swing. Sure, we don’t have any looks for her tour yet, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some ideas about what the era entails. Glittery hoodies, snake microphones and thigh high boots seem to be the wardrobe of this era, which is probably what we can expect from the Reputation World Tour, which begins in the spring. It’s clear, after just a few months of this era — and that unforgettable “the old Taylor is dead” declaration — that Taylor doesn’t really care what anyone is saying about her, or maybe she just doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation.