As Taylor Swift fans — better known as "Swifties" — prepare for the pop star's Detroit arrival this week, they're putting extra care into one important part of the concert experience: what they're wearing.
The popular Eras tour spans Swift's 10 studio albums, and fans across the country are creating and wearing outfits to match, from shimmering sequined dresses inspired by "Lover" to cowboy boots for "Fearless."
For Swifties, it's a chance to flaunt their favorite album or song and channel what Swift's music has meant to them growing up. Along with costumes, many fans are also trading friendship bracelets, with lyrics or album names threaded together, at the concerts.
Swift is coming to Ford Field June 9 and June 10. Here's how fans are preparing, why they're excited and their tips on finding an outfit:
What Swifties are wearing and why
Inspired by Swift's "Red (Taylor's Version)" album, Emily Schenk, of Milford, plans to wear a red dress — puffy sleeves, flared skirt and all — paired with a DIY crown made of red roses, like the ensemble Swift herself donned in the music video for "I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor's Version)." She'll be wearing jewelry she's collected over the years — a snake ring from "Reputation" and a "Speak Now" necklace.
Schenk, 30, chose "Red" as the source of her outfit inspiration because it's one of Swift's more introspective albums exploring heartbreak. When it came out, Schenk, a new college student at the time, related to the music.
"She was articulating exactly what I was feeling. That's why I've always been such a big fan. She puts down what you're thinking," she said.
In 2010, when Swift's "Speak Now" debuted, Schenk was a junior in high school and experienced her first heartbreak. Her mom got that album for her and Schenk recalls crying in her room listening to the songs on repeat.
"Everyone thinks she just writes about breakups, but it's about her mom being sick and friendships ending and friendships beginning and how important work life balance is. Her songs have so many different meanings to them," she said.
Schenk is looking forward to the staging, Swift's costumes and fans' outfits. With friends also going, the concert, she anticipates, will feel like a mini-reunion.
"These songs are like memory pods. ... I can date back anything to a Taylor Swift song," she said.
They are life markers, in a way, for whom she dated at the time, the friend she listened to the song with, high school and college days and other big transitions. Saturday will be Schenk's seventh Swift concert.
Meanwhile, Courtney Betts and Kacie Gagnier, both of Ypsilanti, will be going to their first Swift concert on Friday. They're part of a group of four representing different Swift albums: "Lover" (Gagnier), "Fearless," "Midnights" and "Speak Now" (Betts).
A core memory for Betts: hearing Swift for the first time at a Girl Scouts troop meeting in elementary school.
Betts, 25, plans to wear a light purple top, a silver fringe skirt and matching sparkly sneakers. For Betts, "Speak Now" is her favorite album and she hopes Swift will sing songs from it. Wearing outfits inspired by albums brings fans together, she said.
"You get to go out and talk to people you wouldn't normally talk to and be like, 'Oh, I love your outfit,' 'Oh, that's a Lover outfit.' So, I'm just excited to see what everyone else is wearing," Betts said.
Gagnier started thinking about her outfit months ago. She ordered a few options for different albums, but ultimately landed on a "hot pink moment," representing "Lover." Her outfit: a pink dress with silver sparkles, heart shaped tinted sunglasses, matching earrings, pearly cowboy boots and glitter galore — on her body and hair.
"Everyone wants to dress up and wants to be a part of this ... once-in-a-lifetime experience," Gagnier said.
She's been listening to Swift for as long as she can remember, she said. Swift's early country music resonated with her and she's been a fan since, even as the singer moved to other genres.
"I've really grown up with Taylor," Gagnier, 31, said. Swift has been in the background of her life, from high school graduation to studying in college, waiting for the next album to drop.
What's up with those friendship bracelets?
"'Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burnedEverything you lose is a step you takeSo, make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste itYou've got no reason to be afraid."
Schenk made about 100 bracelets — spelling out song and album titles — that she and her friend will wear. The idea is to trade them with other Swifties, but she also wants to give them to people who have costumes she likes. The bracelets, like the outfits, are often themed according to stages of Swift's musical career.
"Everybody kind of feels like we're already friends," Schenk said.
Where to go for fashion inspiration
TikTok is the place to go for outfit ideas, Swifties agree. Search "Eras tour outfits" or some other variation for a seemingly endless stream of ideas.
Schenk has gone to music videos and Swift's red carpet looks, too. Fans looking for last-minute inspiration can also scour YouTube or Pinterest boards.
At the end of the day, it's up to each fan and their own interpretation of an era, a music video, an iconic moment.
For Schenk's part, she's already planned her Instagram caption: "When you think Taylor Swift, I bet you think about me."
Contact Nushrat: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @NushratR.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Taylor Swift concert outfit ideas: Albums inspire fans in Detroit