I couldn’t help but chuckle this morning when I saw Taylor Swift’s dramatic ‘make-under’ in the news.
Sporting mousy brown hair, a cream cable-knit jumper, and Hunter gumboots, Tay-Tay was a far cry from her superstar platinum-grunge sex bomb of late. And I think I have a pretty good idea why.
Taylor is in the initial throes of a voluntary Boyfriend Makeover.
A Boyfriend Makeover usually occurs in those frenzied first months when you’re all-out obsessed with your new partner. You know, those wobbly-kneed, tongue-tied, flushed cheeked days when all you can think about is them, and what your children are going to look like, and whether you would prefer a springtime wedding outside or something more traditional.
One side effect of falling in love is the desperate need to impress your new partner. And their flatmate. And their friends. And their family. And their pet. (Usually in that order, ranked from easiest to hardest.) And what better way to do that, than to start looking like them?
Dressing like your new boyfriend or girlfriend says to the world, LOOK AT US. Look at how PERFECT we are together. In your lovesick mind, it makes perfect sense to completely shed your old wardrobe like a snake skin, and take up a new style that matches your future husband and future father to your future children.
Sadly, this logic doesn’t quite slide with your friends and family who will probably be pretty quick to point out – in the nicest possible way – that you look like a bit of a dick. This, friends, is called the Boyfriend Makeover.
And let me say – Taylor Swift has nailed it.
Her new boyfriend is UK actor Tom Hiddleston, 35, who hails from Suffolk county in England. This week, Taylor jumped on her private jet from Nashville, Tennessee, and zoomed across the pond to meet Tom’s mum and family in his hometown. And somewhere along the way, she ditched the young, pop queen look; and transformed herself into a prim and proper lady of the manor.
Um, Tay? Where’s the black lipstick? The punk hairdo? The sparkly designer creations? I mean, she’s even dyed her hair back to a demure shade of, er, mousy brown.
Strolling through the English countryside in her wellies, headscarf, and quilted jacket alongside Mother Of The Groom, Mrs Hiddleston herself, Taylor must have been feeling very pleased with herself.
I can almost read her thoughts.
“…and the reception tent can go there, and the dance floor can go there, and I wonder if Calvin would mind DJ’ing for us? Surely he’ll be over it all by the wedding.”
They looked like the perfect English country couple.
So from one costume-dresser to another, snaps to you Taylor. You nailed it, babe.
And trust me, I should know. My Boyfriend Makeovers through the years have taken me everywhere from Doc Martens and Slayer tees, to neatly tied cardigans over Ralph Lauren polo shirts. Luckily, my current boyfriend of three years really seems like a keeper, so I can finally settle into a consistent style.
What 20’s think about dating. (Post continues after video)
In my late teens, I dated a surfer guy from the coast. Within weeks of meeting him, my previous look (let’s call it ‘Blair Waldorf meets Cher Horowitz’) was ditched for cool Nike sneakers, cutoff shorts, and singlets.
I transformed myself into the quintessential surfer girl. I got a tan. I let my hair go curly. I even tackled my sand phobia and started to find something bordering on tolerance for the beach.
In my early 20’s, I dated a guy in a band. Ditching anything involving colour, I stocked up on high-waisted black jeans with *deliberately torn* knees, vintage band tees that I cut into singlets, and let my long hair fall in ratty, unbrushed strands around my face. Rock and roll wasn’t dead, man. (But my personal hygeine sure was.)
After band guy came club guy. The docs were replaced with heels, the band shirts giving way to dresses and jumpsuits and a really unfortunate amount of sequins. He owned nightclubs, and I owned a whole new wardrobe of cocktail-worthy outfits.
And then I met Micah. My darling boyfriend of three years. And just when I thought I couldn’t find any more fashion categories to appropriate…
I found out that he was a sailor.
The naysayers will surely relish pointing out that it is cardinal sin to change anything about yourself when you begin a new relationship. That changing the way your dress to match your new partner is a sacrifice of your own personality.
C'mon, guys. Have a heart.
Before long, we all know that those heady days of the 'honeymoon period' begin to wear off, and it's all tracksuit pants and stretchy jeans from that day forward. So why not enjoy the Boyfriend Makeover while it lasts?
I look back at my previous fashion incarnations and chuckle. If anything, it's cute: a reminder of that unbridled enthusiasm that comes with a new love, and the joy of finding a way to tie yourselves together, tighter.
It's also worth mentioning that there were many stints of singledom along the way - sometimes for years at a time. And that was great, too. I would find my wardrobe inspired over and over by outside forces, from the music I was listening to, to the jobs I was working in. From trawling street style blogs. From my friends.
Fashion was always about experimenting and having fun.
So whilst Taylor might look back one day and feel a little sheepish about her English Lady makeover (make-under?), it will also serve as a lovely reminder of these giddy early days of falling in love.
Although, depending on the outcome, her song lyrics might do a better job of that.