As the youngest songwriter ever hired by Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, 14-year-old Taylor Swift arrived on the scene looking fresh-faced and innocent. She wore little makeup and kept her hair natural in tight curls. And you remember those poufy floral dresses, don't you?
The following year, Swift left Sony/ATV because she wanted to write and record her own songs. This bold step was also reflected in her style. She moved away from girlie prints and started to veer toward more sophisticated dresses. She didn't touch her natural curls — and she still had a distinctive air of youth — but there was progress.
With the release of a hot new single, Swift embraced her country roots with bright colors, big patterns and natural looking makeup.
Her 18th year was a big one for Swift. After dating for a few months, Nick Jonas broke up with Swift during a 27-second phone call, which inspired her first highly publicized breakup song, a genre she has since become known for. During this time, Swift was also nominated for a Grammy and released her second studio album, Fearless. She started to grow up in more ways than one. Her attitude toward men and her clothes changed. Her dresses were more body-conscious and sophisticated. Yet she always looked age-appropriate.
Swift started to develop a reputation for kissing and writing — about breakups, that is. Some critics disliked the fact that she aired her dirty laundry in her songs. But Swift continued to soar in her musical career. Her singles topped the charts.
During that same year, Swift scored her first film role and became the first country artist to win an MTV Video Music Award. When accepting her award, Kanye West rushed to the stage, saying that Beyoncé should have won. This impulsive and insensitive move by West catapulted Swift into the spotlight.
Fans were unequivocally on her side this time. And Swift started to gain more confidence. She felt comfortable enough to experiment with straight hair, lower necklines and lots of sequins. She wanted to get noticed. And her clothes were doing the trick.
In 2010, Swift dated a series of high-profile men, including John Mayer, Cory Moneith and Jake Gyllenhaal. She also won four Grammys!
During the ceremony, she performed with Stevie Nicks. Surprisingly, the performance garnered negative reviews and an unexpected backlash. Her "Speak Now" album was released with enormous success and became one of only 16 albums to sell more than a million copies in the first week.
Swift was now a huge success. And her clothes on the carpet reflected that. She started wearing fire-engine red lipstick, sleek, pulled-back hair, and second-skin dresses. There was no young wallflower here!
After a world tour, Swift's song "Mean" won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards. Older and more mature, scarlet lips and sexier silhouettes became the norm, not the exception. But there was still a dichotomy between the sweet, young girl and the sex symbol. She had bits of each, and they were both coming through loud and clear.
Swift began dating Conor Kennedy. Suddenly, she was photographed in more conservative, almost retro dresses and makeup. Some wondered if she was trying to fit in with the Kennedys. Many speculated that she was veering from her own style in order to win over potential in-laws. Did she give up parts of herself to fit in with the iconic family?
But the fairytale romance soon came to an end and Swift moved on to Harry Styles, the much-loved boy-band hottie from One Direction. Once again, Swift was almost five years older than the 1D star. Her hair, makeup and clothes varied widely during this time. Fans felt she was trying to mold her look to her new man. But the quick changes didn't do the trick, and soon Swift was single again.
After much media scrutiny about her high-profile romantic relationships and breakups, Swift is single again. But we're sure this country crooner won't be single for long.
Dr. Jenn Berman is a licensed therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills. She is the host of VH1 Couples Therapy and The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn on Cosmo Radio on Sirius XM. She is the author of two best-selling parenting books and one children's book. Dr. Berman is the creator of the No More Diets app, which is available for the iPhone and iPad. She also has an eco-friendly clothing line called Retail Therapy.