After dancing until my feet felt numb and singing until my throat was raw, I walked out of Gillette Stadium praying that I’d never forget the most incredible night of my life. When I looked down at my right and left wrists, I knew this memory would last a lifetime … thanks to Taylor Swift and my new friendship bracelets. 

“Make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it …” from one of Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” songs, “You’re on Your Own, Kid,” sparked the original idea: what if Swifties actually started trading friendship bracelets to one another? What started on social media spread worldwide; fans started showing up to the concerts with a significant amount of Eras Tour-themed bracelets to trade with one another. 

The history of friendship bracelets dates back to ancient times. “BraceletBook cites that knotted bracelets date back to ancient China, Novica claims its beginnings are in Central America, and Wristband recognizes the Native American tradition of exchanging bracelets. Jewelry designer and historian Erica Weiner has a hunch that the exchanging of sentimental jewelry between friends likely stems from 17th to 19th-century mourning jewelry, which was often made with strands of loved one’s hair. “You’d cut a piece of your hair and have a specialist weave it into elaborate patterns within a ring or bracelet,” says Weiner. “Before photography, making jewelry out of hair was one of the only ways to keep a physical part of someone close to you while you were separated.” This was such a fun fact to learn because though there weren’t strands of Taylor’s hair in my bracelet (lol), I still feel like wearing my Era’s Tour bracelet keeps the amazing memory close to me.

Emma Elliot, an influencer on Tik Tok, took to her page to suggest tips on trading at the concert and her own bracelet-making process 

“I made over 100 bracelets and I ended up trading 70 or 80 of them.”

Fans have spent countless hours making beaded bracelets with references from Taylor’s songs and albums. An example of this would be a bracelet that says “Lover” or “Look What You Made Me Do”.  Some fans have been taking it even further, making bracelets with Taylor’s cats Meredith and Olivia’s names on them or spelling “I Hate John Mayer” out with beads to trash on one of Taylor’s ex-boyfriends. This trend has not only given fans the opportunity to connect with one another but also gives the Taylor Swift-loving community a sense of bond and girlhood, no matter how little or big you are.  

Men and women of all ages, genders, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes have connected to trade bracelets. In a world that is filled with so much ugliness through hate and negativity, this trend creates so much beauty, happiness and smiles. This is the most beautiful part of the Era’s Tour. At what concert would a group of girls in their 20s trade friendship bracelets with a group of six-year-olds accompanied by their moms? At what concert could a 15-year-old fan give world-famous model GiGi Hadid a bracelet that she actually wears for the entire night?! And at what concert would there be big pearly white smiles over “silly” beaded bracelets? 

TikToker “Beautiful Be” posted a video on her page that captured videos of Swifties trading bracelets. She wrote in the caption

“Watching this video back makes me cry. We met so many incredible Swifties while trading bracelets. The pure joy of trading friendship bracelets is what the world needs more of.” 

Celebrities are in on the trading too!

Taylor Swift’s “Dorothea” and best friend Selena Gomez attended the Era’s Tour in Los Angeles. After posting a photo on Instagram of her little sister, Gracie, dancing, singing and having the time of her life, Selena took to her Instagram story. Posting a photo of her bracelets stacked all the way up her arm, Selena said, “Thank you to the fans that traded with me”. 

Other celebrities showed off their bracelet-trading abilities too, Jennifer Garner was covered arm to arm in bracelets after attending SoFi as well, and also took to her Instagram and to thank Taylor for an incredible night. 

“Our minds are still blown by the generosity of spirit, ferocity and stamina of Taylor Swift. Shout out to @whereismuna, and to everyone who stopped by to bring a bracelet and say hello”

Singer/songwriter Halsey went to the LA concert having made 50 friendship bracelets to trade with fans. Posting to her Instagram story a sea of rainbow beads, Halsey captioned her photo, “20 down 30 to go”. There were multiple TikTok videos posted of Halsey in the crowd trading with her fans/Taylor’s fans. 

 I love the message these celebrities are putting forth by making and trading bracelets. While they could be wearing bracelets that cost more than my car, they chose to wear beaded bracelets that probably cost $10 to make. It shows to their fans that no matter how much money or status they have, they still want to trade with fellow Swifties and bond over their common love of Taylor Swift. 

The Phenomenon Continues

Trading bracelets has become a worldwide phenomenon between Swifties. October 13th marked the opening night of the Era’s Tour Movie in theaters. If there’s one thing you should know about Taylor Swift fans, it is that they are hardcore! Along with overpriced Taylor Swift-themed cups and popcorn buckets, fans have brought the Era’s Tour experience to the theaters. 

Bracelets, sparkles, makeup: it’s all back like it’s the real thing! Fans have continued bracelet trading in the theater along with wearing their sparkly, over-the-top outfits to sing and dance like Taylor is singing in front of them. 

The Era’s Tour movie allows fans to get a close-up view of the Era’s Tour. This movie isn’t just any documentary movie, it’s the Era’s Tour experience. Every song, dance move, costume sparkle and sweat bead dripping from Taylor’s face … It’s all captured on a high definition camera for her Swifties to enjoy. Each era takes fans into a different chapter of Taylor’s life with a completely different ambiance to each album. This is encapsulated in her performance with the introduction to each era. The stage turns different colors with electronics, her outfits change to match each era, she even includes props in most of her performances. One second you’re singing and dancing to “Shake it Off” from her 1989 album era and the next you’re crying to “Tolerate It” from her Evermore album era. 

As Taylor embarks on her European leg of the Era’s tour, hopefully, fans will continue to make their beautiful beaded bracelets to unite together and pass around. Thanks to Taylor Swift, fans feel tighter than ever. 

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