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What Taylor Swift's Style Means to Me

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I remember the exact outfit that made me fall in love with Taylor Swift’s style.

It was November 2011, Swift was smack-dab in the middle of her Speak Now tour, and she was photographed in New York City wearing a navy Ralph Lauren sweater, a mustard pleated skirt from ModCloth, pearl earrings, and a bright blue Fendi shoulder bag. Her signature red lip and matching ruby Marc by Marc Jacobs pumps served as sartorial bookends of sorts. Everything about the look — its matchy-matchy-ness, its preppy polish, its cheery color combo — spoke to me. In a year marked by “arm parties,” print mixing, and an overall “more is more” approach to street style, here was an outfit I actually wanted to wear.

Swift’s Red era, from 2012 to 2013, was marked by more of those ladylike silhouettes and retro accessories, which I began to adopt into my own wardrobe. The singer’s style evolved further as she relocated to NYC in preparation for the release of her first pop album, 1989. She cut her hair short, traded her midi skirts for matching sets, and wore towering Louboutin pumps to and from the gym. It was a sexier than usual aesthetic for Swift, sure, but it suited her new sound (and still inspired my own shopping and styling). I have purchased dozens of pieces — from Aritzia sweaters to Rag & Bone ankle boots to a certain Aldo bag — because Swift wore them. If you’d buy something just because your favorite designer sent it down his or her runway, why not shop the closet of your favorite celebrity?

Over the year, I’ve worked on many stories about Taylor Swift and her style. There was the think piece about those Vetements boots the singer lived in earlier this year, my plea for America to quit blaming Swift’s hair changes on her ex-lovers, and the essay about how her brief foray into goth-glam attire threw me into what can only be described as an existential tailspin — and those are just the most recent examples. But this is the first time I’ve written anything about Sarah Laine, the intrepid Canadian blogger behind Taylor Swift Style, who dutifully catalogues every single thing the singer wears and whose site I’ve read (and shopped) for years now.

What struck me most while speaking with Laine over the phone was not just her unbridled enthusiasm — that’s something most Swifties share — but also the fact that she prefers to stay out of the spotlight herself, keeping the focus squarely on Swift and sharing few photos and little information about herself (despite requests from her many followers). And while she was happy to tell me all about the time she hung out with the pop star at her Tribeca apartment, she seemed even prouder of the highly engaged community she’d built since launching her site in October 2011, turning TSS into a place where passionate Swifties can meet, share their stories — and, of course, shop the singer's latest looks. Now that's what I call #squadgoals.

Elana Fishman, entertainment editor


This Blogger Knows What Taylor Swift Is Wearing Before Anyone Else
Taylor Swift.

In 2016, there are countless ways to find out what your favorite celebrity wore last night, this morning, to the grocery store, on a plane, truly anywhere.

Social media-savvy stars document their daily outfits on Instagram, tagging specific brands; Hollywood stylists frequently flaunt their work — complete with full outfit credits — on the photo-sharing platform, too; and brands rush to deploy press releases and tweets every time a celeb steps out in their wares. But the fastest way to ID a celebrity’s cute coat or beautiful bag is to turn to one of the passionate fans who have turned cataloguing the head-to-toe looks of their favorite stars into part-time jobs.

Twenty-four-year-old Vancouver native Sarah Laine, the founder of Taylor Swift Style, was early to jump on the celebrity style-blogging bandwagon. “I’ve been following Taylor since 2006 — since the beginning — but I fell in love with her music first,” she says. “I was one of those girls who taught herself guitar because of [Taylor]. She’s been the longest relationship of my life!”

It wasn’t until half a decade later that Laine decided to launch a site dedicated to tracking the pop star’s style, inspired by the strong community she discovered on Swift’s myriad fan sites. “I’d always liked her style, even though I myself wasn’t really what you’d call a fashionable teenager,” she jokes. “Today, there are lots of sites and social accounts that exist solely to ID what certain celebrities are wearing, but nobody was really doing it back in 2011. I figured there must be other people out there who were as interested in her clothes as I was, so maybe I could fill that gap.”

Laine still remembers the very first outfit she ever featured on the site: a Tracy Reese dress Swift had paired with Miu Miu pumps and House of Lavande earrings for a fragrance launch. “I was so incredibly proud of myself when I found those shoes,” she remembers. “It was such a high.” Slowly but surely, her site amassed a loyal audience; today, Taylor Swift Style has nearly a quarter of a million followers across all social platforms.

But Laine insists that it’s the engagement and community that really set TSS apart. “I’ve had readers refer to me as their big sister, had them reach out from all over the world to thank me for giving them a place to share their opinions and express themselves,” she says. Unlike the vast majority of digital influencers, Lane prefers not to reveal much about her own personal life, and rarely posts photos of herself or her own outfits online, despite frequent requests from her TSS-ers to do so. She has no interest in advertising on her site, either — not now, not ever. “Being fast, being accurate, and growing the community. Those have always been my goals,” she says firmly.

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Today's Non-Gift Guide Pick
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Who: Mason, 13 & Parker, 11
What they do: Middle Schoolers
What they want: Human Bowling Ball, $5,500

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Audio-Technica Headphones, $169

A lot of kids my age like to listen to music or watch YouTube, which is why I think a pair of headphones is a good gift. I like to watch gaming videos on YouTube. I suggest the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor headphones — they're very comfortable. I like the red ones the best, but there are other colors too: black, white, and gray. —Parker

Check out the rest of our non-gift guide picks here. Want to make donations your gift of choice instead? We've got you covered on that front too.

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