The secret meaning behind Taylor Swift’s Super Bowl necklace – and why she’s taking inspiration from the Princess of Wales

The secret meaning behind Taylor Swift’s Super Bowl necklace – and why she’s taking inspiration from the Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales might be absent from the public eye until Easter as she recovers from abdominal surgery, but some of her most famous fashion tricks are back in the public consciousness thanks to an unlikely source.

On Sunday evening, Taylor Swift attended the Super Bowl to support her boyfriend Travis Kelce, who was starring in the final with the Kansas City Chiefs. In case anyone was in any doubt as to Swift’s reason for jetting back from Japan to be in Las Vegas for the sporting mega-moment, she told the world via a diamond necklace bearing the number 87 from New York-based jeweller Stephanie Gottlieb – a reference to Kelce’s shirt number. She also carried a football clutch bag by Judith Leiber, embellished with the same digits.

taylor swift travis kelce
Swift and Kelce celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs Superbowl victory last night – Getty
taylor swift travis kelce
Hearts and digits: Swift symbolised her affection for Kelce through her jewellery – Getty

Swift wore several more significant jewellery pieces to emphasise her commitment to Kelce, from a heart-shaped red earring by The Last Line to ruby necklaces and bracelets by Shay to reflect the Kansas City Chiefs team colours. The singer complemented the above with some of her favourite jewellery pieces, including Vrai’s solitaire studs and Jacquie Aiche’s diamond ear cuff and hoops.

Telling a story via jewellery is a favoured royal approach, too – a way to signify emotions without having to vocalise them. The Princess of Wales has done this to show her devotion to her three children, often wearing a necklace from Lincoln-based jeweller Daniella Draper engraved with the initials of George, Charlotte and Louis.

princess of wales
Kate is similarly fond of telling a story through her jewellery – like this necklace engraved with her children’s initials – Getty
princess of wales
princess of wales

“Taylor is a storyteller and this is why her music resonates so widely. She is a storyteller with her clothes too, and everything she wears tells us a bit about what she wants to share with the world,” says Terry Newman, author of Taylor Swift: and the clothes she wears. “At the Super Bowl, she was there for Travis and signalled this clearly by wearing his number.”

There were similar parallels with the Princess last week when Swift attended the Grammy awards wearing a white gown and black opera gloves, which drew immediate comparisons with Kate’s 2023 BAFTAs look, when the royal refreshed a white Alexander McQueen gown with a pair of black velvet opera gloves. It was a look that earned Kate – a notoriously safe dresser – a level of fashion kudos she’d rarely enjoyed before.

Swift’s imitation look was different in some ways; her Schiaparelli gown was a little racier than Kate’s McQueen number, with a corseted back and a thigh split, while she piled on a meaningful and precious stack of jewellery which included a Lorraine Schwartz choker with a clock face set to midnight (a nod to her album Midnight, for which she won the Best Album Grammy) rather than the opulent but affordable Zara earrings chosen by the Princess.

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Taylor Swift accepting the Grammy for Album of the Year – her fourth time winning the award – Getty

And yet the comparisons were instant. Sarah Chapelle, the author of the forthcoming book Taylor Swift Style: Fashion Through the Eras, has earned a huge social media following for her analysis of Swift’s outfits. “The killer shape and fascinating colour choice could read suffragette or bride depending on who’s asked,” she wrote on her Instagram page @taylorwiftstyled. “I’ll let the trendy gloves stay,” she continued. “With the white gown, they’re giving Princess Kate at the BAFTAs, no?”

“In a very similar way, Kate tells the world what she wants them to know about her with her clothes too,” explains Newman of the similar approaches that Swift and Kate take to their public style. While we might assume that the 42-year-old wife of the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and the 34-year-old Pennsylvania-born singer-songwriter have little in common, what unites the Princess and Swift is an acute awareness that each style choice they make will be analysed and commented upon.

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Kate ‘redefined herself as an experimental fashion authority’ with her BAFTAs outfit, writes Holt – Getty

When Kate wore her black and white BAFTAs outfit, she redefined herself as an experimental fashion authority. So what does Swift gain by nodding to this defining royal look? “Taylor understands the connection between her music and her style… and in cementing career moments to milestones,” Chappelle writes. “This gown… will forever be enshrined in slideshows depicting the new precedent she has set for any artist.” What better way, you could argue, than to align herself with the world’s most famous Princess?

That Swift has been consistently using the Princess’s understated regal style on her outfit moodboards seems a far-fetched conclusion, yet there are similarities in the way both women approach dressing for their high-profile roles and the moments they know will be instantly scrutinised the world over. We know that Swift is very much aware of the Wales family’s existence – Prince William has admitted following Swift up on stage “like a puppy” at a fundraising gala in 2013, when they sang Livin’ on a Prayer alongside Jon Bon Jovi.

So is Swift just another woman under the spell of the Kate effect? Here are more times Taylor Swift echoed the Princess of Wales’s style…

The cosy red jumper

The world has been gripped by Swift’s relationship with Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelcey in recent months. Her appearances at his games have seen the singer sporting a supportive wardrobe of red knitwear – a ‘literal’ dressing move straight out of Kate’s royal style playbook.

Those cosy jumpers recall a quintessential Princess of Wales style choice, too. She often chooses a brightly coloured knit, which she pairs with skinny jeans, for cold weather active engagements, like the game of hurling she played in Ireland in 2020. Here, Kate opted for a bright red jumper by Really Wild so similar to Swift’s it almost looks like she’s borrowed it. Alas, Swift’s is actually from her friend Gigi Hadid’s cashmere label, Guest in Residence.

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Swift with boyfriend Travis Kelcey at a Kansas City Chiefs game in January – Getty
taylor swift princess of wales fashion
The Princess of Wales playing hurling in Ireland in 2020 – Getty

The camel coat

There was something uncannily Kate-esque about the outfit Swift wore for a night out on Jan 9 this year, which happened to be the Princess’s 42nd birthday. The musician gave her own twist to the look – her bag was Saint Laurent (Kate tends to opt for under-the-radar British brands) and her coat had an oversized mannish cut which made it almost look borrowed from King Charles’ wardrobe but the echoes of Kate’s polished daytime style were unmistakable. A birthday tribute?

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Swift on Jan 9 – Getty
taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Kate visiting the Oxford House Nursing Home last February – Getty

The navy blazer

Both Swift and the Princess of Wales recognise that the blazer is a dependable wardrobe staple. While Kate now often wears hers in suit form or with a smart pair of trousers to create a businesslike look, Swift experiments with the style’s throw-on and go qualities, often layering hers over casual looks. She’s also been known to wear a jacket and hotpants – not an ensemble we’re likely to see on the Princess any time soon.

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Holt: ‘Swift experiments with the style’s throw-on and go qualities’ – Getty
taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Kate often wears her blazers in suit form – Getty

The broderie blouse

Softer than a shirt and just the right amount of boho, it’s no surprise that the Princess of Wales and Swift are both fans of a broderie anglaise blouse. Kate’s Mih Jeans style has been in her wardrobe since 2019 and has been seen several times, from the Chelsea Flower Show to a Christmas card shoot. Swift recognised the versatility of the broderie blouse last summer when she wore this ethereal look out and about in New York.

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Whilst out and about in New York last year, Swift opted for this ethereal summer look – Getty
taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Kate at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019 – Getty

The off-shoulder

Both the Princess of Wales and Swift are generally conservative dressers so when they do decide to dress a little daringly, it makes an impact. Not only does a sleek off-shoulder silhouette feel like a refreshingly modern antidote to their usual classic looks, but it’s a way to show a hint of flesh in a demure way.

Kate has used this trick many times, including when she wore Roland Mouret to the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick in 2022. Swift’s take was a little more casual; she teamed tailored trousers with a black off shoulder top last September.

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Both Swift and the princess are generally conservative dressers – it has real impact when they decide to show a little skin – Getty
taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Doing demure: Kate wearing Roland Mouret to the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick in 2022 – Getty

And when Taylor did Diana…

The Princess of Wales isn’t the only royal whose style Swift has channelled. “To say that Taylor Swift’s latest look is a fusion of Princess Diana and an archetypal Nineties dad is perhaps an unnecessary conflation of terms”, wrote Daniel Rodgers in American Vogue last October. “Some of the most well-known looks worn by the Princess of Wales were very much dad-coded… and yet Swift has conjured the spirit of both.”

taylor swift princess of wales fashion
Taylor Swift cut a casual figure in New York last October – Getty
Princess Diana
Diana leaves the Chelsea Harbour Club in August 1994 – Getty

Swift may have simply been channelling the Gen Z penchant for cycling shorts and a baggy retro top as a favoured off-duty combination but the addition of the baseball cap and bright white 1990s trainers felt like unmistakable nods to Diana.

Fans also previously concluded that a black LBD which Swift wore while appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2021 must have been a Diana-style “revenge dress” worn to avenge Scooter Braun, the manager who acquired the rights to her catalogue and with whom she has a long-running dispute.

Whatever the truth to Swift’s regal inspirations, we can agree that she looks great doing it.