At New Exhibition, Taylor Swift’s Outfits Never Go Out of Style

Dresses, props and other ephemera from the pop star’s many personal reinventions go on display

Red wedding dress
The red wedding dress from Taylor Swift's "I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)" is among the outfits on view at the exhibition. TAS Rights Management / Museum of Arts and Design

Most of us don’t refer to the phases of our lives as “eras”—or draw crowds to celebrate those eras. But that’s exactly what Taylor Swift has been doing in stadiums across America. Now, for devoted Swifties with an encyclopedic knowledge of the pop star’s ever-changing styles, a new exhibition is taking the hype to the next level. 

Late last month, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City unveiled “Taylor Swift: Storyteller,” an exhibition spotlighting the outfits that the pop artist has worn for music videos, award shows and other events throughout her remarkable career.

All Too Well
The costume, piano and keyboard used by Swift to perform "All Too Well" during her Red Tour in 2013-14 Bruce M. White / Museum of Arts and Design

Swift has always used fashion, along with music, as a mode of artistic expression. 

“It’s different than stars that use costumes or fashion in order to enhance themselves,” museum director Tim Rodgers tells Elise Ryan of the Associated Press (AP). “Taylor Swift is using costumes and props like a vocabulary.”

Rodgers says that Swift’s representatives came to him with the idea, and then his team helped bring the exhibition to life. Some of the items on display stretch back to before Swift’s mainstream fame, such as a blue dress that Swift wore when opening for country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in 2007.

“[The blue dress] emerges as a rare object from Swift’s early career and a completely bygone time period in her celebrity: Before she had an ever-present PR team, maybe this is something Swift just picked out and liked,” writes Elaine Velie in Hyperallergic.

Cheerleader and ballerina outfits
Cheerleader and ballerina outfits from Swift's award-winning music video for "Shake It Off" Bruce M. White / Museum of Arts and Design

Swift began her career as a country artist, releasing her debut singleTim McGraw” in 2006. Her first four albums—her eponymous debut (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010) and Red (2012)—were grounded in her country origins while also exploring influences from other genres. In 2014, she established her identity as a pop artist with the album 1989.

Throughout her career, Swift has broken a number of records. For instance, she is regularly among the most-streamed artists on Spotify. Last year, her newest album Midnights made history by taking all 10 of the top spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. It was also the first album since 1987 to sell more copies on vinyl than on CD, reports Ellie Robinson of NME News

Other exhibition highlights include dresses from the Fearless era, which Swift would style with cowboy boots, and the wedding dress she wore in the 2021 video for “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault).”

“We had people come in and look at that red wedding dress over there and literally start to cry,” Rodgers tells the AP. “It is, for a lot of people, almost like a religious experience to see this clothing that Taylor once wore.”

Wide shot of exhibition
The outfits span the entirety of Swift's career. Bruce M. White / Museum of Arts and Design

Plus, for the many disappointed fans who couldn’t score tickets to one of the stops on the Eras Tour, a trip to the MAD might provide some solace.

Taylor Swift: Storyteller” is on view at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City through September 4.

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