With mere days to go until Taylor Swift's 1989 is out, we figured now would be the perfect time to take a look back at Tay's style evolution since she released her eponymous debut album in 2006—she's come a long way since her ringlet and bandana dress days. With every album (and, y'know, maturation) comes a new look—Taylor knows that when we think of Red we think of her with bangs, which is why she's constantly reinventing her look. Each record marks a milestone in both her mental landscape and sartorial outlook, and both deserve attention.
We've rounded up some of her looks from each period so you (and we!) can fully grasp just how different her 1989 look is from her Taylor Swift one. Let's do this thang.
Taylor Swift (2006)
Here's a fresh-faced baby Taylor Swift at the 41st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards wearing a very boho handkerchief hem dress and cowboy boots. During this era, her cowboy boots were ubiquitous, popping up everywhere from red carpets to performances. It may not be the most ~sophisticated~ outfit we've ever seen on TS, but we get it. What would you wear if you were 16, a country star, and newly famous? Something similar to this, right?
Taylor gets a little glitzier at her next big red carpet at the BMI Country Awards, but the highlight of this ensemble for us, and this entire era, TBH, are her ringlet curls.
She went ultra glam in elbow-length gloves and a fluted gown at the CMA Awards. Seeing her on a red carpet without red lips is weird, right?! How quickly we forget.
Within the span of two short years, Taylor becomes a successful country music artist. Her look begins to shift: Her curls are looser, for starters, and she seems to have given up her cowboy boots—at least on red carpets. One could even say that she's becoming ~fearless~ (sorry).
Metallics start appearing with more frequency, like in this dress at the 2008 American Music Awards.
Here, at the CMAs, are more sparkles and—gasp!—straightened hair. Foreshadow much, Taylor?
Speak Now (2010)
Speak Now is, it seems, Taylor's style game-changer. The Taylor we recognize now is starting to emerge. She, for example, discovers red lipstick and retro silhouettes. Here, at the Country Music Hall Of Fame, she pairs a daffodil yellow teacup-length dress and a light red lip.
Off-duty Taylor, however, is comfortable bumming around in a plaid shirt, jeans, tall boots and a beanie. (Celebs: they're just like us.)
Taylor spends the rest of the Speak Now era finding inspiration in Old Hollywood, and starts to zero in with pinpoint accuracy on a very vintage vibe. Her staples become sundresses and shirt-dresses, like this red polka-dot piece. Red, you guys. Taylor Swift: master of foreshadowing.
During Red, she fully commits to wearing red lipstick. Oh, and bangs are cut.
If we could sum up this two-year period in under five words, actually, it'd be: red lipstick and bangs.
She also starts wearing her love of cats in the outside world. See: the white satin Charlotte Olympia pumps she has on at BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards in 2012.
And, finally, here we are in 1989 (well 2014, but you know). First of all, Taylor switched up her hair game by chopping off her hair, and rocking a sassy little bob. Welcome to the "Short Hair, Don't Care" club, bb.
She starts wearing coordinate sets, both while performing and off-duty with some serious frequency.
It also appears like she's experimenting with a lot of things at once. There are high socks coupled with heeled booties and paired with shorts. There are subtle pocket decorations. It feels like there are no real hard and fast rules in this period. She's also definitely developed an affinity for a good statement bag—always carried, for some reason, at mid-arm. At the heart of the experimentation, though, everything still feels very classic and very Taylor.
What will the rest of the 1989 period bring? Leg warmers? Shoulder pads? There is a song called "Style," sooo, you know #FASHUN is on her mind. That or Harry Styles, but regardless: We're excited to see what she has in store for this album. We're ready for it.