Taylor Swift’s highly-anticipated Eras Tour kicks off Friday in Arizona, and fans have spared no expense to attend: On tickets, travel and accommodations, and their outfits, many of which were purchased or created by hand for the event.
Julia Gretz garnered goodwill among fellow Swifties when she posted her Taylor-made outfit on TikTok. Gretz thrifted a jean jacket and added rhinestones and pink fringe, perfect for a Lover-themed look. She added a skirt, pink cowboy boots she already owned, and a t-shirt as finishing touches; she estimates the whole ensemble, including the pieces she already owned, cost about $150. Though she lives in Virginia, the 25-year-old will drive to Pittsburgh to see the show, staying with friends and family to keep costs down.
She spent around $400 for a floor seat ticket, less than the $500 she initially budgeted. And while the Eras Tour pre-sale on Ticketmaster made headlines for the number of fans left angry or unable to secure tickets—and for putting Ticketmaster under intense public scrutiny—Gretz is happy to pay the cost of admission, even if it means planning a weekend away from home.
“I don’t spend too much money on clothes, vacations, or other personal things, so I do see concerts as a really special occasion,” Gretz, who has been a fan of Swift’s since the pop star’s debut album came out, says. “You only live once, go have this really great experience, you’ll have it forever. I still remember the first Taylor Swift concert I went to so vividly.”
The tour kicks off in Glendale, Arizona—temporarily renamed Swift City for Friday and Saturday’s big events—and Swifties have flocked to the city. Local businesses have created something of a mini-economy around the tour, hosting listening parties, creating Swift-themed cocktails, and putting on drag brunch shows to celebrate the American singer.
Gretz hopes to reuse the outfit after the concert; she already owned the cowboy boots from her bachelorette party, and thinks she might be able to rewear everything if friends have their pre-wedding parties in popular destinations like Nashville.
Other fans are seemingly less concerned with rewearability. Videos and photos abound on social media sites like TikTok and Reddit of bejeweled bodysuits and recreations of Swift’s previous music video and red carpet ensembles, labors of love that allow fans to physically rep their favorite album or song.
Gretz says she didn’t necessarily feel pressured to spend money on a unique look; she’s a crafty person and wanted to make something special. But platforms like TikTok make it easy for fans to post their concert-specific looks and have thousands of other die-hards cheer them on. Harry Styles concerts became mini-fashion shows in their own right; the trend is continuing with Swift’s tour.
It is unfortunate, though, that other aspects of the concert-going experience have become so inflated, Gretz says. She’s lucky that she can afford the floor seats and will only need to pay for gas for the six-hour drive to Pittsburgh; other fans—of Swift and many other artists—are being priced out completely.
“It is really unfortunate that the ticket prices have gone up because it makes it so much harder for people to see their favorite artists,” Gretz says. “You can’t just go and buy a ticket the week before; it’s pre-planned, like a vacation. It’s an experiential thing that’s become so much bigger.”