CMA Awards Well Played: Taylor Swift


This Jenny Packham is pretty on Taylor Swift, and it’s interesting — we know the girl loves red, and we know she loves nude/pearly colors (that might be palest pink?), but it’s rare that she goes with a pattern.

This is graceful and striking on her. It’s also brilliantly thematic: Her album is called Red, and it’s about boyfriends — hence the roses — but it’s also about heartbreak, which plays into the dress’s mild aura of looking like somebody shot her right in the love-chest. It’s unusual for me to suggest that a coronary-dynamite effect is attractive on a gown, but here it really is.


This was charming, if a little quaintly Kennedy in a way that’s so a couple days ago. But what really amuses me here is that although, yes, everyone jokes about the absurdity of Taylor Swift still giving that “OMG you LIKE ME?!? WHAT?!?” face every time people clap for her and/or award her something, I actually think that we’ve come back around to that being a surprise again. Because people complain so much about it, and her, that she probably IS again genuinely shocked to get warm receptions. It’s the circle of life. And it moves us all.

[Photos: Getty]

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Comments (47):

  1. AM

    I really miss her curls.

    • CM

      Agreed. Also girl is 22, I would love for her to sometimes at least hint that she’s got a bangin’ bod underneath all those emotions. Show a little skin every once in a while, in a tasteful way of course.

      • paige

        I don’t think she has to show skin or show off her body unless she feels comfortable doing so- some women are just more modest in their appearance and dress, regardless of age. I actually think the first dress walks a fine between sexy (the low cut) and romantic. A lot of young starlets like Miley Cyrus get criticized for dressing too revealingly or inappropriately, so it’s kind of odd that Taylor is criticized for not dressing revealingly enough (which I don’t think is fair or warranted). I think the criticisms against Taylor have more to do with her overall persona than the way she actually dresses, which tends to be ladylike and very well suited for her. In other words, I don’t think she would receive as much criticism for her fashion choices if she didn’t have such a faux-sweet persona. I think she looks nice in both dresses, and I think it’s important to let young women express themselves however they want to in their clothing.

  2. cathy

    me too, AM, but that’s the way it is – straight haired gurls want curls, and those with curly manes want their hair sleek and straight.
    taylor looks lovely either way and i have no problems with her at all. she seems so refreshing next to some trashier stars.

  3. Taylor

    That first dress is amazing on her, can’t lie.

    I really wish she would do something with her hair though… it’s dishwater blonde and the bangs are the worst. Get some highlights or SOMETHING in there, girl!

    • Erin

      Her hair isn’t “dishwater” blonde – it’s a natural dirty blonde. I’d take that look any day over fake bottle blonde!

      • pidget

        I think her hair shade is interesting and flattering, and differentiates her from pretty much all the other country singers (and Hollywood starlets) I’ve ever seen. It must take a spine to say no to the makeover machine, and I applaud her for it.

        The bangs aren’t great, but those suckers take long time to grow out. Let her be for a bit, and I bet they’ll get dealt with.

        Her clothes are generally classy, flirty and feminine, and suit her well. So what if they’re not groundbreaking? She never looks terrible, or like she didn’t pick her own things. I don’t love the carnage dress, but the colours are lovely on her, and the “I’m hurtin’ inside AND out, but still look great” subtext is funny…

      • Jules

        I have a similar natural hair colour, and because I’m also pale it makes me look recently exhumed. Not a great look unless it’s Halloween or you’re aiming toward a bit part on The Walking Dead. One way trip to Washoutville, that colour.

  4. Mair Mair

    That first dress is to. die. for. I would wear it in a heartbeat — if I had her bod, of course. Which I don’t, of course.

  5. Me

    I actually like the second dress more – it’s more retro, less droopy. And I have to say, that I just don’t get the whole Taylor Swift thing. I mean, she’s pretty and seems really sweet, but both her style and her songs are alike – it’s like seeing/listening to the same thing over and over and over again.

  6. Liz

    I think the first dress looks like she’s broken out in very large hives. Not a fan, but she bugs me generally, so I’m biased.

  7. heather

    I don’t like her, but that first dress is beautiful. I’d love to see her in that dress with an updo and no bangs. It would likely be a bit old for her age, but I bet it would look lovely.

  8. Erin

    I love her second dress unashamedly. And, to be fair, she’s been dressing retro (or “quaintly Kennedy”) for a LONG time. Remember when everybody had a conniption because she wore a retro bikini that was *gasp!* high-waisted? That was like, 3 years ago.

    I think the girl just thinks that 50′s/60′s retro fashions are flattering, feminine, and cute. And, especially on her, she’s right.

  9. Art Eclectic

    Love that first dress, although it’s hard to be objective because she irritates me like fingernails on a chalkboard.

  10. Vodka Gimlet

    I like both dresses, love the color and the fit is great. However, I DON’T get her at all. Her voice is so thin and reedy (it was especially apparent last night with all the great voices there) and her songs are kind of lame. Catchy but lame. But I do like what she wears most of the time and her makeup/skin last night was amazing…there were a couple very close camera shots and it’s poreless!

  11. Vandalfan

    Yikes, that first dress, though pretty, makes her look like she’s been shot in the abdomen with a shotgun. I’d like this is hues of blue, or green. (And psst, Taylor, the secret to brighten hair that color: hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice in an 8% solution, spritzed on several times a week.) (Or so I’m told…)

  12. nmlhats

    I think she dresses nicely in general and I like both these dresses…but regarding the first photo: STOP POSING LIKE PARIS HILTON. Beware, the swayback could become permanent!

    • anny

      “Be careful or it’ll get stuck that way.” Then the wonky eye …

      That first frock, with the fresh bloodstains, is a) so seasonal and b) the first really great use for that “nude”/noncolor that I’ve seen. I don’t think it looks like shotgun blast, though; there’s too much matter in the spatter, so to speak; it’s more like impalement.

  13. maryse

    i think she looks lovely in both dresses. and i’m a fan of young women not dressing like whores. HA!

    also what is up with all of the hair hate! it’s thick healthy pretty hair.

  14. TaraMisu

    Love the first dress, very elegant and classy. The second one tho…. meh. I’m not a fan of the 50′s retro look but she does seem to carry it off fairly well. I agree that she IS 22, maybe she needs to dress a little closer to her age but not all hoochie-like.
    And please, the bangs. Go away.

  15. Stefanie

    She looks great in both. The first is lovely and the second is fun. Although I am totally on board with the “Do something with that hair color, lose the bangs” bus.

  16. Valentina

    I think the first dress, while gorgeous, washes her out. I’d like to see a brunette wearing it.

  17. Sandra

    I recently read an interview with her in which she said that she couldn’t bear it when someone needs space in a relationship, which I think goes a long way to explaining all the heartbreak songs. I hope that someday soon her emotional maturity catches up with her fashion sense, which I quite admire.

    • katkin74

      I read that also, which made me wonder if that was one of the reasons they all “needed space” if you know what I mean. She seems rather me, me, me.

  18. Katharine

    How could anyone scroll past the heads of Carrie Underwood, Hayden Panettiere, and Lauren Alaina (whoever the heck she is) and then come in here and say that Taylor Swift needs to blonde-up her hair? That’s a really nice colour, especially if it’s hers.

    • Stefanie

      I don’t think she needs to “blond-up” her hair. I just want it to be shinier, a little less dull. I feel like I’ve got more shine and my hair products come from Walgreens.

      If anything I’d like to see her go a little darker.

      • Katharine

        Her hair looks really thick in the closeup. What with that and being (?) naturally curly, I wonder if she’s got that rather coarse hair that just isn’t shiny?

    • Stacey

      Wildly agreed! Was texing my mom last night about the show and she kept asking me “What’s up with all the fake bleach blonde?!” I think she is lovely and after coloring my hair for ages, I envy her natural healthy hair.

  19. Molly

    I cannot stand her. Why does anyone even date her any more? You know it won’t end well, just publicly, and with an army of 13 year old girls waiting to kick your ass.
    That said, I like the Jenny Packham.

  20. regina

    She looks dusty? I wanna take a vacuum or a steamer and just clean that opaque gray spray off the makeup and the dress.

  21. Bella

    I like both dresses, especially, though, the first.

  22. lilywise

    I can’t get past Taylor Swift’s man history. This is a woman who has hooked up with John Mayer … and then an 18-year-old. (With others thrown in there, I know.) It makes her doe-eyed innocence persona seem so completely fake.

  23. elp

    This isn’t really Taylor’s fault at all, as about six months ago, I would’ve loved that first dress, but I just feel like I’ve seen it one too many times, and this is the time I put my foot down and say ENOUGH. She looks nice, but I’m sick of it.

  24. Helen

    The first dress has lovely lines and is beautifully fitted, but to me, it also looks like the entire Grey’s Anatomy trauma ward threw up on her.

    The second is too kitschy. Very Alice in Wonderland. It would be charming on someone around 12 years old.

  25. natalie

    LOVE both dresses!!!!

    The sad thing is that when i read the words “OMG you LIKE ME?!? WHAT?!?” face I got a very clear mental picture. Uhhhh

  26. Sajorina

    LOVE the 1st dress with a PASSION! She looks GORGEOUS in it and it suits her beautifully! Plus, the styling is simple and flawless… Hair, makeup & jewelry are PERFECT! Well Played on both outfits! FAB!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Guerra

    She looks amazing in the first dress, so tall!

  28. gracie

    That first dress looks amazing on her! As for her second dress, one of the things I adore about Taylor though is her performance outfits are never insane like everyone else that this site usually fugs, e.g. Carrie Underwood/Lady Gaga/Rihanna, etc. The craziest I’ve seen her wear are sparkly fringey dresses. Here she is performing on national TV and she wears a cute simple red dress that doesn’t show any skin. (Her last CMA awards, she just played on a couch in a sweater.) It’s kinda admirable.

  29. Tessa

    Ah… I don’t really like the first dress: it looks like an alien sprouted from her stomach and left the beige material covered in blood and intestine bits…

  30. Kristin

    Re: her hair…since she’s so into the retro look, I’d love to see her try a wavy bob or maybe a Veronica Lake…with her height, she’d look stunning.

  31. Bottle Ginger

    It took me a while to realize how beautifully cut the first dress is, because the color is so hideous. That short-sleeve gathered-to-the-waist cut would look fabulous on an awful lot of women, and would look lovely with a below-the-knee skirt. Make me a shorter version in a nice solid green, and you’ve got a sale!

    But of course, nothing looks good if it’s flesh-colored, with red splotches.

  32. TonyG

    Remember “The Thing” where the tainted blood reacted to a test by morphing into explosive blobs. Well, the first dress is the aftermath, as the contaminated blood become inexplicably attracted to Taylor trying to disguise itself as flowers.

    The second dress is okay, but not spectacular.

  33. Franziska

    She’s 22…. does she look it? No. I like the first dress, but she’s way too young to wear a dress like that…. so yeah, the dress wears her. Which is never good.

  34. Mina

    I wanted to hate it, but it’s a wonderful composition, that dress, and she wears it well. But it would have been BANGO PERFECT if she’d had her hair in a Veronica Lake peekaboo.