Taylor Swift's Cardigan Looks: How To Rock Every Era On A Budget

Some celebs become associated with a signature feature or fashion item over time, like Lucille Ball and her red hair, Ellen DeGeneres and her pantsuit, or Jennifer Aniston and her aviators. When it comes to pop icon Taylor Swift, the signature item in question is definitely the cardigan. Swift has been spotted countless times sporting a cardigan over one of her cute outfits or dresses over the years. She even launched a line of limited-edition cardigans on her official website during her famous "Folklore" era in 2020.


If you're obsessed with the singer (who has a song named "Cardigan" to boot), cardigan sweaters, or both, we've got the details you've been searching for — from where you can find secondhand "Folklore" cardigans to how you can replicate the pop princess's personal cardigan looks for yourself without breaking the bank. Trusty consumer reviews also show us that these products should stand the test of time, so you'll be getting your mileage out of your hard-earned cash. Now, join us on a deep dive into the history of Swift's ongoing relationship with the common cardigan. 

Folklore era: the official, licensed star cardigan

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taylor Swift released the album "Folklore" after announcing it to fans less than 24 hours prior. The album, which contains moving songs like "Epiphany," was written and recorded during the isolation of the pandemic's quarantine period by seding digital files back and forth with her producers. The album's second track is entitled "Cardigan," and an accompanying limited-edition cardigan was launched on the pop star's website for $49 at the time.


The "Folklore" cardigan was released in July 2020, followed by a holiday version of the sweater later that year. After Swift's second pandemic album, "Evermore," was released in late 2021, a final version of the cardigan was made available. All versions of the cardigan featured a white, cream, or gray base with black, red, or gray stripes and star details. The first two versions included a chest patch that read "Folklore" and a patch near the bottom hem that read "Taylor Swift," while the last release only featured the latter.

Taylor Swift's official cardigans are no longer available for purchase today, so you'll have to shop secondhand if you want to get your hands on one. Currently, resale sites like Mercari have listings for these cardigans for about $150, including the cost of shipping. However, be mindful of the price and the placement of the patches. If the patches look a little off and the price is below $100, you're likely viewing a knockoff. 


1989 era: a flowy cream cardigan over a matching lace dress

Taylor Swift's "1989" era marked her full departure from the influence of country music and solidified her as a mega-pop star. The album featured signature breakup songs like "All You Had to Do Was Stay" and ushered in a new era of hyper-femininity for Swift. This is evidenced by her soft new lob haircut along with ensembles like this super soft and long, flowy cream cardigan worn over a delicate, short lace dress in a matching color. 


If "1989" feels like your Swift era, you'll need to find yourself a flowy and feminine cardigan of your very own to build your version of the look. You can snag one -— with pockets! — on Amazon from POGTMM for $26.98. Simply layer it over a matching dainty lace dress like Aooksmery's Backless Beach Minidress for $44.99 and you've accomplished your goal for under $75.

Then, after nailing down your OG "1989" look, you may want to turn your attention to October 2023's re-release of "1989," which saw the singer sell a stunning blue — and limited-edition, of course — cardigan in promotion of it. The cardigan retailed for $69.89 but is available on resale sites like Poshmark now, with many listings asking for $200 or more.


Red era: a canary cardigan over a retro dress

During the era that surrounded the release of Taylor Swift's "Red" album, the singer embraced all things retro. This is when her iconic red lip and bangs combination emerged. This appreciation for bygone eras can be seen in Swift's pairing of a solid canary yellow cardigan and a classic A-line dress featuring an abstract floral print. If you're also a retro girl at heart, you can easily put together a look with a matching vibe. 


Amazon Essentials offers a lightweight V-neck cardigan in a very similar color for $18.30. Pair it with MintLimit's swing dress in lemon white for $36.99. Don't forget a faux pearl bracelet for $5.50, bright red lipstick for $7.98, and matching red nail polish for $11.49 to really nail Swift's "Red"-era cardigan look for under $85. The decision to go blond or get bangs, of course, comes at your own risk.

Speak Now era: a white-striped cardigan over a black dress and fishnets

The "Speak Now" era brought us a slightly evolved version of Taylor Swift's "Fearless" image. The basic elements remained the same: a black-on-black outfit under a white-striped cardigan. However, upon closer examination, it's evident that the pop goddess had begun the first steps of elevating her signature style into what it is today. The curls were looser, the makeup was bolder, and the black-on-black ensemble had transformed from a casual jeans-and-tee combination to a black ruffle party dress and fishnets. 


You can build your own "Speak Now" look by getting your hands on Adome's ruffled little black dress on Amazon for $30.99 as your base. Then, layer a black-and-white-striped cardigan — like Gap's striped button cardigan available on resale sites like Poshmark for $12 — over the dress, and slip on some fishnet tights for $18 to finish the aesthetic. With just a few basics, you've completed a perfectly on-brand look (and cemented yourself as a Swiftie).

Fearless era: white and rugby cardigan over all-black

"Fearless" — Taylor Swift's second album — came out in 2008 and brought with it a version of Swift that was still a little rough around the edges (in a good way). Her curls were tight, but her makeup was soft. Her most notable cardigan 'fit from this period included an edgy-casual black-on-black tee and pants, but the cardigan over it was white, striped, and preppy. It was obvious that Swift hadn't quite nailed down a signature style yet, but this outfit's pops of contrast were actually quite fashionable.


If you'd like to give a nod to Swift's "Fearless"-era cardigan look, start with some simple black basics. You can grab yourself a black Hanes V-neck cotton T-shirt from Amazon for just $6. Then, pair it with some black classic Levi's 721 high-rise skinny jeans for $34.75. Finally, add a preppy white rugby cardigan with neutral stripes from Realipopo for $35.99, and you've basically got it down to a science for less than $80. 

How we selected products

Taylor Swift's cardigans — officially licensed merchandise and old-school looks alike — are enviable, so we sought after the best ways to explore her catalog of cardigan looks in the most affordable ways possible. While her official cardigans now sell for hundreds of dollars, her past looks are easily re-creatable with basics that you can find anywhere from Amazon to your favorite local affordable clothing store. 


When selecting products, we not only looked at prices but also how closely the products resembled Swift's look. Once we narrowed down the items that fit her looks, we turned to product reviews to ensure that we only selected tried-and-true cardigans, shirts, lipsticks, and more. When all of these factors come together, you should be left with an outfit in which you can feel endlessly cute and rest easily, knowing that you didn't have to spend a fortune to feel like a cozy, cat-cuddled pop star — a feeling you'll happily grow to know "All Too Well."