Taylor Swift Fierce And Fearless In Elle

This month marks Elle’s Work and Power issue, and many will wonder why the magazine opted for a just-out-of-her-teens superstar. While Taylor Swift is undeniably popular, would it not have made more sense to put someone a little, well, older on the cover? Maybe someone who could, at the very least, legally have a happy-hour cocktail?

Had it been anyone else, it would be a different story. After all, every time a major fashion magazine features a tweeny-bopper on the cover, one wonders whether the editor in chief was a) trying to look cool in front of his or her kids or b) trying to trick a younger generation of subscribers into purchasing the issue. But since it’s Taylor, and we love Taylor, we applaud Robbie Myers for celebrating the superstar’s hard work. Her most recent album Fearless, was last year’s best-selling album and stayed on Billboard’s Top 200 for longer than any other album in the last ten years. She received four Grammy awards (and eight nominations) this year, and last month, she began the second leg of her tour which takes Swift to over 30 cities, playing 37 shows across North America. And thanks to the brilliant styling of creative director Joe Zee, readers get to see Swift dressed to kill and — take a deep breath here — with straight hair.

Anyone who follows Swift is used to seeing her in sparkly princess dresses. But the cover, which shows Taylor in a rockstar-chic Michael Kors leather jacket and Balmain T-shirt, gives the first hint that this is not what’s to come. The first image of the spread has Taylor looking a lot like Mischa Barton did in her O.C. days. In a peach lace Jason Wu dress and clear-crystal Prada sandals, Swift appears understated and appropriately sexy, playing with her rarely-straightened hair. She looks powerful. She looks confident. But thankfully, she also looks her age.

The next spread features her dancing around (as she is wont to do) in a Ralph Lauren Collection organza vest and tunic, followed by her in Oscar de la Renta Chanel-esque shorts, lace top, and a fabulous Patricia Underwood braided fedora. A Valentino feather-trimmed prairie dress, Sonia Rykiel studded sandals, and classic Chloe dress are right behind. The looks are significantly more mature — fashionably speaking — than what we’re used to seeing Taylor wear, but she seems to be confident in the clothes. Is Taylor moving on from the endearing glitter glam that we know and love her for?

Compared to her celebrity peers, those whom we’ve salaciously watch fly off the handle, Swift seems to have gotten it right. She is poised yet playful; a teenager who is able to gracefully alternate between loving glitter and making major decisions about her unimaginably successful career.

So if we think about it like that — which seems to be what Elle did — and ponder how many people’s careers rest on one barely legal girl, Swift seems the perfect choice for their Work and Power Issue. She certainly deserves a cocktail.

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