Dress

reputation (2017)

“Dress” is a song on Taylor’s sixth studio album, reputation (2017). It is one of the most sexually charged songs of her career. It details her wants and lusts over her lover.

Background

Taylor released her fifth studio album, 1989, in October 2014. Its synth-pop production transformed her sound and image from country-oriented to mainstream pop. The album was a massive commercial success, selling over five million copies in the U.S. within one year, and spawning three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles. The BBC asserted that the success of 1989 solidified Taylor’s status as a global pop star.

In 2016, when Taylor was at the peak of overexposure, some of her rivals in the industry (including Scooter Braun, Kanye West and Justin Bieber) succeded in launching a worldwide hate campaign against her. As a result, Taylor disappeared from public view for an entire year and thought about quitting music for good. She became increasingly reticent on social media, having previously maintained an active presence with a large following, and avoided interactions with the press. She conceived her sixth studio album, reputation, as an answer to the media commotion surrounding her celebrity.

Lyrical Theme

As the name implies, many of the sexual references throughout the song pertain to dresses. Taylor has a history of fascination with dresses, dating back to her country music roots from when she first stepped foot in the music industry. In regards to “Dress” she said there is a real dress she bought that inspired the hook of the song:

«This song was one of those things where almost every line is something that I came up with like a year before, and then when I was writing the song, I just cherry picked, and I was like, ‘Like that, like that, like that, like that.’ And I was really proud of the hook of this because it sounds like a pickup line, and yet it is a love song about deep and tender feelings.»

Taylor Swift
During her “reputation Secret Sessions“, Taylor told her fans that all positive songs on reputation are about her “angel boyfriend”, Joe Alwyn. References that fit this sentiment are seen all throughout the song. “Dress” likely chronicles around the time of the start of Taylor’s relationship with Joe when they were moving past the friendship stage after Taylor and Tom Hiddleston’s brief romance during the summer of 2016. The lyric, “Even in my worst light, you saw the truth in me”, is a reference to Alwyn being there for Taylor and not being bothered by the way the media was portraying her at the time surrounding the Kim/Kanye feud. References to this time are also seen in “Call It What You Want”, “Delicate”, and “King of My Heart.”

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Our secret moments in a crowded room
They got no idea about me and you
There is an indentation in the shape of you
Made your mark on me, a golden tattoo

[Pre-chorus]
All of this silence and patience, pining and anticipation
My hands are shaking from holding back from you (Ah, ah, ah)
All of this silence and patience, pining and desperately waiting
My hands are shaking from all this (Ah, ha, ha, ha)

[Chorus]
Say my name and everything just stops
I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (Aa, ha, ha)
Carve your name into my bedpost
Cause I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (Aa, ha, ha)

[Verse 2]
Inescapable, I’m not even going to try
And if I get burned, at least we were electrified
I’m spilling wine in the bathtub
You kiss my face and we’re both drunk
Everyone thinks that they know us
But they know nothing about

[Pre-chorus]
All of this silence and patience, pining and anticipation
My hands are shaking from holding back from you (Ah, ah, ah)
All of this silence and patience, pining and desperately waiting
My hands are shaking from all this (Ah, ha, ha, ha)

[Chorus]
Say my name and everything just stops
I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (Aa, ha, ha)
Carve your name into my bedpost
Cause I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (Aa, ha, ha)
Only bought this dress so you could take it off (Aa, ha, ha)
Only bought this dress so you could take it off (Aa, ha, ha)

[Bridge]
Flashback when you met me, your buzz cut and my hair bleached
Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me
Flashback to my mistakes, my rebounds, my earthquakes
Even in my worst lies, you saw the truth in me
And I woke up just in time
Now I wake up by your side
My one and only, my lifeline
I woke up just in time, now I wake up by your side
My hands shake, I can’t explain this (Aa, ha, ha, ha)

[Chorus]
Say my name and everything just stops
I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (Aa, ha, ha)
Carve your name into my bedpost
Cause I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (Aa, ha, ha)

[Outro]
There is an indentation in the shape of you (Only bought this dress so you could take it off)
You made your mark on me, a golden tattoo
Only bought this dress so you could take it off

General Information
Albumreputation
ReleasedNovember 10, 2017
Recorded2016–2017
StudioRough Customer (Brooklyn)
GenreSynth Pop
Length3:27
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducerJack Antonoff
REPUTATION CHRONOLOGY
Dancing With Our Hands TiedDressThis Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Handwritten Lyrics
Live Performance
Official Audio