Album Inspiration: Outfits Inspired by Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Your TTPD outfit inspo, right this way.

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This post will teach you everything you need to know about Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ fashion, with outfits inspired by the new album.

About The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD)

The Tortured Poets Department. An anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time – one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure. This period of the author’s life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up. There is nothing to avenge, no scores to settle once wounds have healed. And upon further reflection, a good number of them turned out to be self-inflicted. This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it.

And then all that’s left behind is the tortured poetry.

Taylor Swift

Oh boy, do we have things to go through!

The Tortured Poets Department (shortened TTPD) is Taylor Swift’s eleventh studio album. It was released on April 19th, just last Friday.

And what a week it was!

First of all, the album came out at the struck of midnight. Two hours later, Taylor revealed it was actually a *double album* and 15 more songs were released (The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology).

The double-album-truther Swifties have finally been redeemed!

This anthology includes all the bonus tracks of each of the physical variants: ‘The Black Dog,’ ‘The Manuscript,’ ‘The Albatross’, and ‘The Bolter.’ So, if you didn’t get one of them or any variant, you can still hear the bonus tracks by streaming the Anthology version of the album.

The new album’s lead single is ‘Fortnight,’ a collaboration between Taylor and Post Malone. The accompanying music video was also released on April 19th.

I’ve been listening to the album almost non-stop since it came out, and I’ve had certain lyrics and melodies stuck in my head for days. As expected, Taylor delivered a heart-wrenching tale.

The way I interpret it, the album is not about a single man or ex; it’s about finding your way back to yourself after a whirlwind of pain.

The album deals with extreme feelings of loneliness and isolation, of gilded cages, and still having to present yourself as being fine. And in the midst of all that, it’s about finding the wisdom to move on and let it all go.

The Fashion of TTPD

As I mentioned in my I Dressed Like Taylor Swift post last week, Taylor has adopted the vintage, academia-inspired theme into her street style.

In the months leading up to the album’s release, Taylor has worn lots of prep school-inspired items, including pleated skirts, blazers, letterman jackets, loafers, and button-up shirts.

In true Taylor fashion, these combine with more sultry and trendier elements to balance the look. Things like corsets, mesh, cutouts, mini skirts, and dresses bring a fresh look to her outfits.

Taylor Swift - Fortnight (feat. Post Malone) (Official Music Video)

The album visuals include many vintage elements and looks, as seen in the ‘Fortnight’ video. High-neck blouses, balloon sleeves, ruffled long dresses and skirts, and ribbon chokers feature heavily.

For the album shoot, there are more sultry-type items. Lace, silk, mesh, and cotton are the fabrics for this one. All of them are in service of flowy, sensual loungewear items, which, in contrast, are paired with vintage-inspired corsets, ruffled skirts, and long dresses.

In general, the album and its promo have a very clear academia-inspired theme. Bookmarks, typewriters, quills, library cards (libraries in general, really), stationery, stamps, dry flowers, and letterman patches are all important visual items that are used in promotional material.

The Tortured Poets Department Fashion Guide

Outfit 1: Fortnight (Black Look)

Who else is obsessed with this music video?

I loved the Dead Poets Society cameos, Post Malone’s black-and-white imagery, and Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography.

And while Taylor wears a good number of outfits through it, enough that I could write an article dedicated to just the video looks, about half of them aren’t really Spring/Summer friendly.

So, I focused on the two most iconic outfits in the video. The first is the black mourning dress:

This look is very Victorian, fitting in with the whole vintage theme of the album visuals.

To create a modern/wearable version of this, start with a shimmery black blouse with a high neck and ruffles. Then, for the bottoms, go for a ruffled black skirt with an A-line fit.

For accessories, I love this black velvet purse to add another vintage-inspired fabric. Finally, for shoes, black lace-up heeled booties are the way to go to complete the Victorian outfit.

If you want to recreate this outfit, look for ruffles, dramatic sleeves, and A-line skirts. The shimmery fabric of the blouse kind of calls back to other outfits in the same music video, and it’s also breathable if you want to wear it during hot weather.

Outfit 2: Fortnight (White Look)

Now, the second Fortnight look I chose is this white, maybe wedding-ish, ripped dress.

To create a similar look, start with a white corset top and pair it with a white tiered skirt in a midi length. (These skirts are trending like crazy this season!)

To accessorize, a black velvet choker with a jewel in the center brings in the luxe, gothic feel from other outfits in the music video.

Finally, for shoes, some white Mary Jane flats are the perfect balance of trendy, vintage-inspired, and practical.

This look draws from the Fortnight music video and other elements Taylor has been using for the album.

The corset has lace details, which were seen frequently in The Grove’s Spotify TTPD installation. These details tie into the wedding themes in some of the songs. The tiered skirt also has ruffles, although they are less dramatic than the ones on the black outfit.

Finally, the choker is very prominently featured throughout the music video. But I wanted it to be black instead of full-on white because I feel these outfits are two sides of the same coin, and bringing in the black ties them together.

Outfit 3: But Daddy I Love Him

Taylor Swift - But Daddy I Love Him (Official Lyric Video)

‘But Daddy I Love Him’ is a scathing call-out to people who are judging a woman for a budding relationship with, at least in the eyes of those around her, an unsavory man.

In this song, Taylor literally reclaims the right to live her life and make her own decisions. It calls out anyone who uses the guise of “concern” to judge her relationship choices.

In the chorus of ‘But Daddy I Love Him,’ Taylor mentions ‘an open dress,’ so my mind immediately went to a beautiful summer dress.

To start, I decided on a midi cotton dress as a base. It is in a really beautiful (and trendy) buttery yellow color with a lilac flower print all over.

Then, for shoes, I love these off-white Mary Janes. Finally, a straw crossbody bag is both neutral and summery, and big sunglasses are perfect for hiding from the judgy ‘wine moms.’

The dress’s vintage-inspired cut and flowers bring elements of the album visuals to the forefront. The dress also has a tie-up detail, which calls back to the ‘open dress’ lyric. The Mary Janes are very vintage-preppy, keeping Taylor’s street style in mind.

Also Read: Swift Style Evolution: 9 Album-Inspired Outfits for Your Wardrobe

Outfit 4: I Can Do It with a Broken Heart

Taylor Swift - I Can Do It With a Broken Heart (Official Lyric Video)

The only way to describe ‘I Can Do It with a Broken Heart’ is sad bop. You’ll dance to it, but it has some of the saddest lyrics on the album.

In the song, Taylor talks about the dichotomy of putting on this energetic, careless, smiling mask while working (performing a concert) while being heartbroken and wanting to break down.

This outfit is very much inspired by one of Taylor’s most iconic The Eras Tour costumes. It’s also the most outwardly happy era during the concert: her Fearless golden dress. I was also reminded of her outfit at the concert’s end, namely the Midnights t-shirt dress and combat boots.

First, I chose a golden mini-dress that has some tassels.

Then, for shoes, I included two options: gold cowboy boots to reference the ‘working’ portion of the lyrics or black combat boots, AKA leaving work.

Finally, I added an oversized denim jacket to emulate a big comfort blanket for breaking down after the show.

Sincerely, The Chairman of the TTPD – Outfit #5

Finally, let’s talk about the Chairman herself, Taylor Swift. She posted this video for the Target-exclusive Clear Phantom variant promo.

In it, she’s wearing a pleated skirt, a sweater, tights, and loafers. Very Season 6 Rory Gilmore, if you ask me.

For this look, I chose a dark grey pleated mini-skirt and a navy blue crewneck sweater with a relaxed fit. These sheer black tights are very Taylor. I finished the look with chunky black loafers.

This outfit screams street-style, preppy Taylor. This is her current take on preppy, which can be seen in various variations throughout TTPD.

Bonus Outfit: Green Velvet Night-Out Look

Now, I made you a promise in last week’s Taylor Swift street style post: When the crushed velvet dress arrived, I’d include it in my next article.

And guess what? It arrived the day before TTPD was released!

After being stuck in transit for almost a week for no particular reason, Tayvoodoo struck again, and it arrived exactly for that weekend.

To recreate Taylor’s crushed velvet dress look, I managed to get my hands on this beautiful green crushed velvet dress that looks just like Taylor’s.

Then I added a pair of slouchy, cognac over-the-knee boots. Taylor’s are leather and have a snake drawn on them, but I already had these suede ones that matched both the fit and color.

For my accessories, I added my gold rings and a layered coin necklace; then, I grabbed a black structured bag to finish the look.

Let me just say that this dress was worth the wait! It is so beautiful, it’s olive green, but it has this sort of goldish hue when you move. It’s soft and so comfortable.

In general, this look is very much for Fall/Winter. I wore it the day after the dress arrived, and it was so warm out that I had to switch the boots midday for a pair of loafers. The dress is breathable enough that you could get away with wearing it in Spring but not in Summer.

Final Thoughts

How much did I cry when I first heard loml? I can understand perfectly the sentiment of someone being ‘the loss of your life’ and feeling like you were just used and discarded while being promised a lifetime.

And the incredibly cathartic I Can Do It with a Broken Heart? That took me right back to being 23, completely heartbroken, and still showing up the next day to the office and school, crying in the bathroom whenever I could.

Listening to The Prophecy, I was 25 and screaming at the sky for someone I could share my life with, without knowing that I would meet him just in a few months.

And even now, listening to The Alchemy and So High School while I’m in an amazing relationship with the best guy I’ve ever known… how could I think of anyone else but him while interpreting that song?

I’m just incredibly grateful that Taylor has found the words to describe those feelings and has given me a new arsenal of songs that can help me heal, process, and let go of my own experiences.

Personally, I don’t want to dissect the songs through the lens of who inspired them and try to reframe her past albums to fit this narrative. As she said in the very last song, The Manuscript, ‘the story isn’t mine anymore.’

The songs are now out there for us to reinterpret through our own lives. Because that’s what art is for.

Yes, there are Easter eggs. But, during the album, she also tells us, almost screaming, that we need to let go of reinterpreting, picking apart, and hyper-analyzing her life. Reinterpret the songs for yourself, to enrich your inner world, to find a lifeline, to connect with others, but leave Taylor’s life to her. She already closed that chapter.

I also appreciate Taylor’s attention to detail, giving us hints about the songs’ titles through her accessories and clothes, the music videos, and the tiny details that give Swifties special messages or announcements.

So, take the fashion, the fun, the lyrics, and the music. Feel them, cry and laugh with them, and find the literary references and the bars.

Make it your own. Just like you would the outfits.

What Do You Think?

P.S. For my past Taylor Swift posts, see my other guides:

Would you wear any of the outfits? What’s your favorite look? What’s your favorite Taylor era? Have you heard the new album? Which song is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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