I’ve been a huge fan of Taylor Swift for the last ten years — if you didn’t know that from my ‘6 Taylor Swift costumes for Halloween‘ post, you’d know it from my ‘every song Taylor has ever written’ playlist on Spotify.
Even though I’ve loved Taylor’s music since the first time I heard Our Song in 9th grade, I’ve never seen her live. That’s changing this summer, when I’m going to the Reputation Tour in London (you can read more about that here). If you’ve never been to a Taylor Swift concert, you might not know that it’s very common for fans to dress up, either in versions of Taylor’s own looks from music videos, or as references to lines in her songs. Part of this is because Taylor’s management team sometimes chooses fans from the audience to meet Taylor backstage, but it’s also because the whole concert experience is more fun if you and the people around you are dressed to match.
I’ve been preparing for my reputation tour costume since I knew I was going to see Taylor live — that is, since about January. I wanted to choose a look from this era of her music, and though there were a lot of really cool looks from different music videos for this album, I ended up choosing one that I thought would stand out in a sea of black costumes — the red Snake Queen dress from Taylor’s “Look What You Made Me Do” music video.
The dress Taylor originally wears in the video is a red Balmain kimono-inspired dress, which was obviously a little outside of my price range. I knew I’d have to make one myself, so I looked online for a pattern for a dress with a similar shape. For my Reputation Tour costume, I settled on this pattern from Very Easy Vogue. Before buying the fabric for the dress itself, I made a ‘practice dress,’ following the pattern exactly, so I would know how to adjust it for the Balmain-inspired design.
The Practice Dress for the Reputation Tour Costume
The practice dress turned out nicely, but was a little too open on the top, so I added an orange insert at the neckline. Once I knew that the dress’ silhouette was close enough to what I wanted, though, I ordered my red dress fabric, as well as some nude mesh in my skin tone for the cut-outs.
6 yards of red gabardine fabric, 2 yards of peach-colored mesh, a zipper, and some thread.
The main part of the dress that I’d be adjusting was the top. I borrowed a roll of butcher paper from Ken’s office and traced the top that I’d made on the practice dress, then sketched where I’d like the border to be for the mesh and the red lining. After doing some measurements to make sure they added up right, I stitched the front pieces of the top.
Sewing with the mesh was pretty difficult, because I hadn’t worked with that kind of fabric before and I wanted the edges to look as clean as possible. I figured out how to make it work with some trial and error, though, using a second row of stitches to fold the hem back under the red fabric so that the mesh didn’t display any of the hem.
I had to hand-stitch the mesh sections together because it was so fine that the sewing machine would eat it up if I tried to sew it. I also had to do the back twice because I’d gauged the mesh on the sleeves incorrectly the first time. But once the top was done, finishing the bottom was easy.
Once the dress was done, the next step of my Reputation Tour costume was finding the right jewelry and accessories. For jewelry, I did some hunting on Amazon and other websites to find snake-inspired necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings. I found a necklace that matched Taylor’s from the video almost exactly, and got a matching bracelet for a total of $20 combined.
For fun, I thought I’d add a teapot purse with a snake strap, because of the snake that serves Taylor tea in her music video.
I made the purse by hand and without a pattern (turns out there aren’t a ton of teapot-purse patterns online — who knew?). It ended up being a little less sleek than the dress itself, but still a really fun addition.
So that’s my finished look for my Reputation Tour costume! I’m so excited to see Taylor perform live and I can’t wait to see other Swifties in their own creative outfits. If you have any questions about how I made this, let me know in the comments down below!