Even as fairy tales go, Taylor Swift’s story is fantastic: In 2004, at 14, the Pennsylvania singer-songwriter persuaded her parents to move the whole family to Tennessee so she could pursue a country-music career in Nashville. Her happy ending came almost immediately.
Practically on arrival, Swift landed a deal with an independent label and began recording songs she wrote herself and that were mostly based on her personal experiences with life and love. Her first album, Taylor Swift, debuted in 2006, and its third single, “Our Song,” hit number one on the country-music charts. Two more wildly successful albums—Fearless (2008) and Speak Now (2010)—followed. So did accolades galore, including 10 American Music awards, six Grammys, seven Country Music Association awards and six Academy of Country Music awards.
Along the way, Swift, who will turn 23 in December, honed a fairy-tale look: one part Girl Next Door and one part Glamorous Celebrity Princess. While many country singers and some Hollywood starlets opt for the same straight hair, tan, major cleavage, heavy makeup and countless rhinestones, Swift plays up her signature pale skin. Her elegant, always appropriate clothes and makeup make her a style standout.
And then there is that hair.
No matter how she wears it—in her signature natural curls or blown out, pinned up or loose and flowing—the result is always pretty and suited to the occasion. “She has great hair; it can go curly or straight,” says celebrity stylist Oribe, who famously smoothed out Taylor’s ash-blonde mane and cut bohemian face-framing bangs for the February 2012 cover of Vogue. If you want to steal her straight style, a nontoxic KeraStraight treatment will work wonders (see page 10 for details). And for those wanting to embrace their natural curls, the ones that don’t always look picture perfect in the morning, follow Taylor’s suggestion. “When my hair looks like a mess, I curl my hair by wrapping [it] around the curling iron to create a spiral look,” Swift told Allure magazine in 2011.
“She has great hair;
it can go curly or straight.”
Swift’s makeup is similarly fresh and natural, focusing on flawless skin, cat eyes and rosy lips. For the May 2012 Billboard Music Awards, at which Swift was named Woman of the Year, “Taylor wanted her look to be timeless yet edgy and strong,” says her makeup artist, Lorrie Turk. Turk applied a cranberry eye color from upper lash line to crease, then lined and smudged Swift’s top and bottom lashes with black eyeliner, swept on several coats of mascara and finished with a sheer barely-there lip color. The effect was soft and sophisticated.
Since so many young women identify with Swift’s music and style, it seemed almost inevitable that she would launch a fragrance. In 2011, she introduced Wonderstruck, a blend of freesia, green tea, apple blos- som, raspberry and dewberry. Inspired by Swift’s personal experiences, it was named “for that moment when you instantly feel a connection to someone,” she said at the time. Her follow-up scent, Wonderstruck Enchanted, debuted in September. It’s a rich combination of luscious wild berries and sugar-glazed petals served up in an iridescent crimson bottle adorned with antiqued charms—all of which, of course, was hand-picked by Swift.
As Swift herself has evolved, so has her fashion sense. She has swapped her trademark sundresses for designer gowns by J. Mendel, Ralph Lauren and Valentino. Gone are the cowboy boots; in their place are stilettos from Badgley Mischka and Christian Louboutin.
But none of this is to say that Swift has become all style and no substance. In addition to aiding worthy causes from children’s literacy to national-disaster relief, she recently pledged $4 million to fund an education center at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. The center, to open in 2014, will include classrooms and a state-of-the-art children’s exhibit gallery. (Can’t wait until 2014? Through early November, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is exhibiting costumes, instruments, set pieces and props from Swift’s 2011–2012 Speak Now world tour.)
With a fourth album, Red, set to drop on October 22 and an appearance by Swift at the Country Music Association Awards likely in November, the singer-songwriter’s future is looking rosy indeed.
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