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Why is everyone talking about Taylor Swift’s scarf?

American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has released a new recording of her 2012 album Red so that she could legally own it again. And she broke the record for number of streams on Spotify in a single day, by a female artist, with more than 122.9 million streams.

Wow, OK, that’s impressive. So, why is everyone talking about some old scarf of hers then? Fair question; there has been a lot of scarf talk this week. Truly, only Ms Taylor Alison Swift could make a decade-old item of clothing a universal symbol for heartbreak.

Taylor Swift was seen wearing the scarf in question (no, this red one isn’t the actual scarf) during late 2010, in multiple paparazzi shots with then-boyfriend, Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal.Credit:AP; iStock

So, wait, just to be clear, is this a literal scarf that exists? In one sense, yes, it’s a real physical scarf. It’s dark blue, with red and grey stripes. Swift was seen wearing it in late 2010, in multiple paparazzi shots with then-boyfriend, Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal was also seen wearing the scarf.

In another sense altogether, the scarf may be a sort of metaphor for the innocence lost when our hearts are broken, or the parts of ourselves we give to the people we love. Either way, Gyllenhaal has something of Swift’s that doesn’t belong to him anymore.

But mostly, yeah, it’s a piece of fabric worn around the neck for the purposes of staying warm.

OK, so, did Swift sing about the scarf? Yes! In the song All Too Well, which is almost certainly about Gyllenhaal (and blew up this week after Swift released the 10-minute version at her fans’ request, alongside a 14-minute short film) she sings: “I left my scarf there at your sister’s house / And you’ve still got it in your drawer even now.” (For the record, we believe the sister is Maggie Gyllenhaal, who claims not to know the whereabouts or indeed the significance of the scarf).

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Later, Swift sings: “But you keep my old scarf from that very first week / ’Cause it reminds you of innocence / And it smells like me / You can’t get rid of it / ’Cause you remember it all too well.

OK, but we’ve all kept some random piece of clothing that belonged to an ex, right? It’s not a crime! Well, no, it’s not, legally speaking, a criminal offense. It’s more of an emotional crime. The scarf is a cosy woollen token of Taylor Swift’s love and trust – and this guy just took it! And shoved it in some drawer like it wasn’t very very precious!

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