Cover Girl Of The Day: Taylor Swift’s ‘Teen Vogue’ Shoot Is Mad Retro

Taylor Swift on the cover of the August 2011 ’Teen Vogue.’
All Photos Courtesy of Teen Vogue

There is something going on with this Teen Vogue spread of Taylor Swift that is just so flawless, so completely ideal, that if we never saw Taylor on the cover of a magazine again, we’d be OK. It’s not that we don’t want Taylor to never be a cover girl again, but this moment that Teen Vogue captured is so idyllic, such unbridled adolescence, soooooo nostalgic that we want this to be ingrained in our brainses forever.

What we’ve got here is a real-deal magazine cover from 1992. This is the stuff we used to steal from our older sisters. Look at Tay’s hair: gently frizzy, atop a porcelain complexion and dark, nonlined lips. Then, below, we are treated to a cashmere-blend shirt with a boatneck, showing off just a hint of bling. Taylor Swift: On this cover, you are the most beautiful babysitter we have ever had.

Babysitter Swift

Miu Miu dress and Dries Van Noten by Linda Farrow sunglasses.

Seriously, though, couldn’t you see her as that totally idealized caretaker you had when you were young? That cool older teen who’d come over to your house wearing a soft floral dress, who’d play with your hair and let you do her makeup, who you’d FUHREAK OUT about when you saw them at the store because it was weird that she wasn’t in your house paying total attention to you?

Retro, But So NOT

Prova dress, Waxing Poetic pearl necklaces, and Cynthia Rowley ring.

This is exactly what idealized femininity was like to us growing up. A perfectly fitted floral frock and one or two key pieces of statement jewelry. The Prova dress is working like a charm as an understated look to remind us that Taylor is as soft (and as fresh) as the flowers she is surrounded by. Though the dress is vintage reminiscent, it’s definitely not thriftish. It’s classic. Class-ic. No question.

So Berry Yes

Anna Sui cardigan, Rebecca Taylor dress, M. Clifford Designs earrings, and Fendi necklace.

Please note that Taylor’s pale, rosy makeup and Chanel berry matte lips do not change once during this shoot. The reason being they literally nailed it. (Don’t mess with gorgeous, face-flattering perfection.)


Amy Claire cardigan, Dior dress, Delfina Delettrez earrings, Chanel pearl necklace and bracelet, Kate Spade pearl-and-bow necklace, and Marc Jacobs shoes.

What is this delicious cake of a dress? Each lacy tier is so delicate that Taylor looks like she is awaiting her lost beau to come back from the war. The pink touches keep the Chanel dress from looking stodgy, and then BAM. High-heeled, serious business Marc Jacobs platforms add such an edge that the whole thing seems slightly dangerous.

Details, Details

Guess by Marciano blouse, Rachel Comey skirt, Kenneth Jay Lane cricket pin and bee ring, Skylark Manor bee brooch, Rustic Creek beetle pin, and Aurélie Bidermann bracelets.

In this picture, she becomes so sweet it would verge on saccharine if it weren’t for three things: The first is the jet black nail polish. Secondly, her strong, determined eyebrows (darkened for emphasis). The last thing is the tie around her Guess blouse, which is so well done (and those button cuffs! What flourish!). An around-the-neck tie is almost an impossibility, unless (like Taylor) you commit fully to the look.

Sweet Valley High

Louis Vuitton dress and Aurélie Bidermann earrings.

Here is Miss Swift looking like a senior picture of our fantasy life. The windblown hair is killing it, but to keep her from looking overly angelic, the makeup artist added just a hint of more mascara. The sideways glance gives the hyper-retro vibe a cheeky, self-aware touch.

The Hair. Oh, The Hair.

DKNY sweater, Eddie Borgo earrings, and Christie Martin charm necklace.

One of the great things lost in the last several years is the voluminous half-ponytail. Taylor’s hair is teased but still soft, draping her head. Don’t freak out over this, but how early-Nicole Kidman is this? How Young Adult novel? Couldn’t you see her on a book cover here, about a smart young girl (a babysitter?) who is struggling to prove she has what it takes to do so and so? Taylor Swift is who we wanted to be when we grew up *sigh*.