Somewhere between her cherry lips and crystal skies, Taylor Swift has decided to incorporate some bondage gear into her stylistic repertoire.
The songstress is raising eyebrows, not for calling out one of her exes in a song or her evolving views on feminism, but her decision to wear a harness on a lunch outing with one of her many celeb besties, Selena Gomez.
Over jeans and a black shirt that read “This Is My Fight Song” (most likely a nod to the Rachel Platten song), T-Swift donned a gray leather harness, backwards no less. While some thought the backwards choice was an oversight by the pop singer, fashion sites, like Glamour.com, assessed the 180 as purposeful.
As a Swift fan noted, it wasn’t the first time she went for the harness, but her many followers on Twitter and Instagram were chomping at the bit over this latest fashion experiment.
Swift responded to the harness hullabaloo on her Tumblr:
I think you’re ignoring a really important point here…that my harness and I are always ready for a zip line/rock climbing.
Ask yourself…are you ready for extreme adventure should it present itself? HARNESS LIFE 2015
The cheeky response is pretty typical for Swift, a songstress one wouldn’t usually expect to find in an accessory associated with the world of kink and BDSM.
While Swift has become a style icon in her own right for a range of fashion flavors—my personal favorite being her retro glamour in the “Blank Space” music video—a 50 Shades of Grey-inspired ensemble would be a jarring 180-turn.
That being said, Tay-Tay would hardly have been the first pop singer to flirt with that aesthetic
Queen Bey wore a harness-esque outfit by Nichole de Carle to perform at the 2014 Grammy awards.
Rihanna has also rocked the harness look in concert.
However, in contrast to the harnesses ensembles these singers wore, Swift’s choice is provocative in that it is decidedly unsexy.
She wears the harness the way we would pretty much expect her to borrow BDSM wear, which is to say rather innocently and awkwardly.
The problem is not that Swift is attempting to make kink wear casual, a fashion move that is far from unprecedented.
On her Tumblr, Swift directed fans to the website of Free People, which already offers over a dozen harnesses in prices ranging from $12 to $78 (the clothing company did not respond to Daily Beast enquiries in time for publication).
Other similarly-priced chain stores offer harnesses, like Urban Outfitters.
No, the issue with Swift’s ensemble is that the backwards, loose-hanging harness just doesn’t look right on her.
“I’m surprised by how badly it fits on the back,” said Zana Bayne, who has been designing both casual harnesses and more dramatic, elaborate ones for celebrities (including the ones mentioned above for Lady Gaga and Madonna) since 2010.
However, Bayne was hesitant to be too critical of T-Swift and her harness when I asked what advice she would give the pop singer.
“I think this one looks a little big on her based on the buckle in the front and the spacing in the back,” she said, but that was about all the negativity she could muster for the much-adored pop star.
“I think Taylor Swift’s great, and she can do whatever she wants to do. She’ll still be ruling the world,” said Bayne. “I would say—I don’t want to be snarky—wear more harnesses.”