On Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan” and the Importance of Sentimental Value to Clothing

In this op-ed, writer Samantha Haran explores her love of getting dressed, fashion as identity, and changing her mindset on consumption through a Taylor Swift song.

Clothes are extremely intimate. In a world where form is frequently favored over substance, who we are is inextricably caught up in how we present ourselves. Our capacity to dress provides a malleable contact zone between who we are and who we are seen to be. I have always adored clothing for how it enables us to express ourselves without words, in a way that transcends all imaginable boundaries. After all, dressing is an art form as old as time. But, as with most things, there is a catch: Though fashion is beautiful in its essence, today’s fashion industry is far from poetic. Capitalism has taken the human concept of dress by the throat, swallowed it whole, and spit out the corporate fashion industry, an exploitative global machine that has created an insatiable culture of consumerism.

Yet I still believe a better version can exist, a version in which we can enjoy the art of dress in its simplicity, without the need for corporations, mass production, or labor exploitation. The thing about this version, though, is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. So now I see it everywhere: glimmers of hope, traces of people challenging the ideas and values of fashion. I see it even when it’s not obvious. Even when it’s not intentional. Even in the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song.

That’s what happened the first time I heard “Cardigan,” the lead single from Taylor Swift’s latest studio album, Folklore. In a literal sense, the song is a love story about lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories. But I have also found that the lyrics to “Cardigan” can help create the perfect framework for understanding the role clothing plays in our lives, and introduce a different way of thinking about fashion, a perspective that traces back to its sentimental value.

“Vintage tee, brand-new phone, high heels on cobblestones.”

The opening line of “Cardigan” introduces the characters in the song by describing articles of clothing they are wearing. This relationship between fashion and identity is something Taylor Swift has always understood. Each of her album eras has been noticeably defined by its own color scheme, dressing style, cultural references, and coordinated micro-details, down to the fonts. Recall, for example, the bold and colorful swing-dress style of Taylor’s Speak Now era; the retro-fusion of 1989, complete with polka dots, bangs, and a lot of sequins; the unexpected all-black ensembles from Reputation; the return to pastel-floral-fantasy in her Lover era.

Taylor’s Folklore era is no different. Its visuals so far, including the photoshoot and the “Cardigan” music video, show that she has taken a turn toward simple, neutral-toned wear. It has been described by some as being reminiscent of cottagecore, a style that evokes memory, nostalgia, and a lot of introspection.

“When you are young, they assume you know nothing.”

This line of the song may seem irrelevant given the proposed message about clothing, but hear me out. Fashion is all about creating a fantasy: Children’s Halloween costumes, dress-up parties, and haute couture are sensations that show fashion in its purest form as the very sacred and human art of “dressing.” The simple joy of adorning the body with clothes is something that we knew and understood intimately when we were children.

As adults, we are conditioned to believe that finding joy in dressing oneself is frivolous. Fashion is frivolous. Capitalism tells us it is unproductive, and therefore worthless. Beyond that, we also understand that producing fashion often comes at an ethical price. All of this does not mean the art form no longer exists, we understand fashion is also an unavoidably political act, because the art of dress has become drenched in the toxic lacquer of late-stage capitalism. When we buy a piece of clothing, that is a reflection of our socioeconomic status, and it has an impact on the socio-economic realities of others too. We cannot be carefree and expressive with our choices, because there are so many restrictions, and so much is at stake.

“Sequin smile, black lipstick, sensual politics.”

There is a noticeable pause between the last two words of this line. Sensual… politics. This summarizes the next point, which is that fashion is inherently political, but it is political in a sensual way because it concerns the personal decision of what we put on our bodies. This makes fashion a perfect lens through which to explore the personal implications of our political problems. How has capitalism corroded fashion and our personal relationship with clothing? How has that affected each of us? Given the current COVID state of the world, there could not be a better time to explore these questions.

Source Article

send message
Iam Guest Posting Services
I Have 400 sites
Status : Indexed All
Good DA : 40-60
Different Niche | Category
Drip Feed Allowed
I can instant publish

My Services :

1. I will do your orders maximum of 1x24 hours, if at the time I'm online, I will do a maximum of 1 hour and the process is
2. If any of your orders are not completed a maximum of 1x24 hours, you do not have to pay me, or free.
3. For the weekend, I usually online, that weekend when I'm not online, it means I'm working Monday.
4. For the payment, maximum payed one day after published live link.
5. Payment via PayPal account.

If you interesting, please reply

Thank You