Taylor Swift fans are going viral for the DIY costumes they're wearing to her tour
Taylor Swift wears more than a dozen different outfits during The Eras Tour, each representing a moment or phase from her decade-plus-long career.
For Swifties, each outfit has a hidden message — the pink and blue bejeweled Versace bodysuit and sparkly boots is pure “Lover,” a Roberto Cavalli gold fringe dress looks like an updated version of the “Fearless” album cover.
But Swift’s outfits aren't the only ones gathering attention online. Her fans’ costumes are making headlines, too.
Since opening night on March 17, social media has been flooded with images and videos of concert-goers re-creating Swift’s most iconic looks — and people are getting pretty creative.
“Someone came as a crumpled-up piece of paper from ‘All Too Well,'” Kelsey Barnes, 30, from Toronto, who attended opening night, tells TODAY.com, laughing. “People will take the tiniest little thing that Taylor says and make an entire aesthetic out of it. It’s amazing.”
For opening night, Barnes wore a blue dress channeling the one Swift wore when she first announced “Midnights,” her most recent album. Her friends, whom she attended the show with, had costumes nodding to the “ME!” music video and the album “Speak Now.”
She said the costumes have cultivated camaraderie between fans. “Everybody’s constantly complimenting each other on what they’re wearing. We had some girls run up to us and go out of their way to say they liked our outfits,” she says. But the highlight of the night was when Swift shouted out all the fans' costumes from the stage.
Below, TODAY.com catches up with other Swifties about why they’ve become costume designers for the show.
Dressing up at Taylor Swift concerts is a tradition
For many Swifties, dressing up for concerts isn't anything new. Dina Kandzic, 28, from Brooklyn, NY, has seen Swift perform 27 times, and she's assembled a different themed outfit for each tour.
“After going to almost 30 of her shows, I realized it’s getting harder and harder to stand out,” she says.
When deciding what to wear this time around, Kandzic went with an outfit from an era that hadn’t gone on tour: “Midnights,” her latest album.
Kandzic wore a purple costume, featuring a sequin skirt and heart-shaped sunglasses, inspired by the “Lavender Haze” music video.
“One girl came up to me and told me I looked like I was leaving the Taylor Swift Met Gala,” Kandzic says. “That was the best compliment. Like I will never receive a better compliment than that.”
The concerts are a supportive environment — and, for some fans, somewhat competitive. Kayla Hockman, 29, from Los Angeles, says having a unique outfit was a priority. After all, having appeared in the “Shake It Off” video, Hockman had a reputation as a Swiftie to preserve.
After thinking through a few options (including the squirrel pajamas Swift wears in the “We Are Never Getting Back Together” music video), Hockman decided to recreate the sequined red dress from the “ME!” music video. But her friends were skeptical. “I feel like everyone’s going to wear that,” she recalled them saying.
Ultimately, she forged ahead, ordering a few pieces and hiring a seamstress to assemble the final product, ultimately costing a total of $160.
At the concert, she only saw one or two other people wearing the same look. “I was like, wait, I’m so glad I wore it.”
DIY costumes are a memento from the tour
For some, DIY costumes are a way to manage costs while keeping in the spirit of the show.
“I was trying to find the most affordable costumes because you’re already paying so much money with the concert tickets, travel, parking, food and accommodations,” Hockman says.
Mia Saracusa, 26, from Denver, put her budget-conscious creativity to work by creating a patch jacket that mimics the one Swift wore during the Reputation Stadium Tour.
She thrifted a jean jacket, scoured the internet for patches that tied into the songs and then assembled the look herself.
“It’s like a memento to take away from the show. I have something to remember from opening night,” she says.
Holly Evans, 23, from Victorville, California, also created a patchwork-inspired outfit as a nod to Swift's current tour aesthetic.
She created her outfit entirely by hand, picking moments that stood out from four albums: The “Folklore” cardigan. The black fur sleeve, a nod to Swift’s “Reputation” album. The white shorts á la “1989.” The ringmaster tailcoat from The Red Tour.
“I’ve created some looks in the past, but they were just the one look, so it was fun to combine a few together,” she says. (Once, at the 1989 World Tour, Evans dressed up as a milkshake, a play on the “Shake It Up” music video.)
At the concert, Evans said people approached her to talk about her outfit, saying they saw her on TikTok and Twitter.
But the best part came after the show when Swift liked Evan’s TikTok, in which she showed off her outfit.
“I had to make sure it was actually her,” she says. “I clicked on the account; it had the blue checkmark. I started just bawling. I was so happy. I worked really hard on the outfit so to have her stamp of approval meant a lot.” ”
The meaning of all those bracelets
You may have seen pictures of Swifties wearing friendship bracelets. No, it’s not summer camp — it’s another sartorial tradition that came out of The Eras Tour.
Months before the tour, fans coordinated a friendship exchange inspired by a lyric in the song “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” Swift sings, “So make friendship bracelets / Take the moment and taste it / You’ve got no reason to be afraid / You’re on your own, kid / Yeah, you can face this.”
Saracusa says the bracelet exchange happened just a few hours before Swift took the stage. “I met up with a big group of other fans from Twitter an hour or two before the gates opened. Everyone had made different bracelets with song lyrics, inside jokes from the fandom, album titles, things like that,” she says, explaining how they all wrote the number 13 on their hand like Swift did during the Speak Now World Tour.
Taylor Swift outfits double as a bonding activity
Danielle Estrada, 26, from Salt Lake City, and her friends always knew they wanted to dress up for the tour.
Then, Estrada proposed getting her boyfriend and his friends in on the action — and they were game.
"I'm always a good sport. I love my girlfriend, so I'll always support her in her endeavors. But I did laugh when I saw the outfit online and when she showed me what I would be dressing up as," Estrada's boyfriend Derek Logan, 32, TODAY.com.
"Any opportunity to wear a fedora I’m in and I got to wear a butterfly chest tattoo," he adds.
Logan's outfit came from the "I Knew You Were Trouble" music video.
His friends dressed up as the guy on the yacht from "The Man" music video while the other re-created Swift's look from the "You Belong With Me" music video.
"To any boyfriends or husbands out there, when you're going to a concert for your girlfriend maybe you're not the most excited, just spice it up. It makes it a little more fun," Logan says.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com