Forget The Fashion – Here's How Taylor Swift Masterminded The Art Of Wearing Your Heart On Your Nails

To be a Swiftie is to accept that everything she does has a hidden meaning embedded into it. The white custom Schiaparelli dress worn at this year’s Grammy’s? A similar version appears in the new Fortnight music video. The little braid plaited through her locks at the same event? She referenced it in 'But Daddy I Love Him' (‘tendrils tucked into a woven braid…’). The pencil thin brows in Fortnight? A nod to Clara Bow, one of the many muses in The Tortured Poets Department and a cultural icon in her own right.

To be a Swiftie whose day job is to write about beauty is to also accept that the star has a particular beauty wardrobe that she relies on. She isn’t here to shock us with a drastic colour change or debut bleached brows for the sake of it. The meticulously-done red lip and cat eyes are part of the Taylor Swift signature; all accessible, dependable classics that works for quite literally her entire fanbase – no matter your age or skin tone.

It’s a clever (and no doubt, calculated) move that she’s not an ambassador of any particular beauty brand, either (although its well-documented that Swift is a fan of Pat McGrath). Whether your lipstick is £2.50 from the drugstore or £45 from a high-end name, the red-lip-cat-eye combo is a democratic one.


But the one area of beauty where the 34-year-old singer often experiments with? Her manicure. Just like how Swift’s fashion and beauty choices have a relatability thread woven through it (she may be a billionaire, but you can get her lilac mini skirt for £50), Swift’s manicure often has a DIY-feel to them, not least because the pop star seems to revel in doing her own nails.

Nails are a constant in the Taylor Swift narrative. In Netflix’s Miss Americana documentary, Swift says she began doing her own manis 'when I realised that I really like having cute nails, but I really can’t go in public' before a clip shows her painting dancer Todrick Hall’s nails backstage.

For 1989 (Taylor’s Version), she posted a TikTok of her painting her nails red. During the release of her Midnights album, Swift shared an Instagram story of her DIY manicure which featured an ebony base and starry topcoat.

Throughout most of her Eras tour, she sported multicoloured tips which, is most likely a reference her discography, but a fan in the depths of Reddit also pointed out that in the early days, Swift’s Myspace bio once said if she couldn’t decide on a colour, she’d just paint them all in different hues.

And while her make-up tends to stay immaculate through rain and humidity, Swift isn’t averse to proudly wearing a chipped nail or two (there's a high chance she foregoes the gels while touring in order to maintain short, guitar-friendly tips). In recent shows, however, the rainbow look evolved into a uniform, stark white manicure, no doubt signalling the dawn of The Tortured Poets Department, which arrived last week with a monochrome colour theme.

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Taylor Swift at the Singapore leg of the Eras Tour Ashok Kumar/TAS24 - Getty Images

Whether white represents the blank slate of paper the poet is baring her soul on or the fact that Swift has gone through every shade of blue and is now back at a reset point, it’s clear that nails are more than just a beauty tool for her. 'The dial that oscillates between serious and playful is as meaningful for nails as it is your favourite accessory,' agrees Surrey-based nail artist Alex Philamond.

That playful side often comes through when cheering at a Kansas City Chiefs game. Red is naturally her colour of choice, but since her blossoming romance with American footballer Travis Kelce, we’ve also seen her exploring a more joyous side of nail art with shimmery finishes, and romantic hues reminiscent of the Lover album.

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Patrick Smith - Getty Images

She also appears to embrace a lighter side of life in a recent Youtube Shorts clip, which showed-off a lilac manicure topped with glitzy silver tips, which, reader, I presume is her way of reclaiming lavender after the low-key break-up hit, Lavender Haze.

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Taylor Swift via Youtube

Sparkle features greatly in her nail repertoire for music videos and red carpet appearances - where Swift has previously worked with nail artist Lisa Peña-Wong. They're a hat tip to her use of all things glistening as metaphor within her work – from Mirrorball (see the reflective silver manicure to match her Balmain gown at the Beyonce’s Renaissance premiere) to Bejewelled and the line in her latest hit Down Bad: ‘did you really beam me up on a cloud of sparkling dust’.

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Taylor Swift at the 2024 Golden Globes Monica Schipper/GA - Getty Images

For those who are loyal to their capsule wardrobes and signature looks à la Swift, expressing yourself through nails is subtler than a dramatic haircut but is equally impactful. The next time you find yourself at the salon (or in your room, armed with an array of polishes), why not swap an understated pale pink tone for something a little more expressive and let your hands do the talking?

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