Hidden details you missed in Taylor Swift's new Cardigan video

Early on during the coronavirus lockdownsinger-songwriter Taylor Swift posted an Instagram selfie with the most relatable caption: "Not a lot going on at the moment." However, as we all now know, that could not have been further from the truth because, while everyone else was baking bread, Swift developed her (surprise) eighth studio album Folklore, which dropped on July 24, 2020. Although Swift hadn't planned to release another album so soon after the launch of Lover in 2019, inspiration struck and she put all of her "whims, dreams, fears, and musings into" the creation, as she shared on Twitter.

But, as if an entire album wasn't enough, Swift also announced that she'd release a video for the album's first single, "Cardigan." Swift assured fans on Instagram that the shoot was overseen by a medical inspector to ensure everyone involved was safe, telling fans as they awaited the video's YouTube premiere, "Shooting this in quarantine was surreal. We adhered to every guideline. We had masks, gloves, [and] face guards. Masks [and] distancing are mandatory in my life, it's what I do [and] everyone should, too."

Swift also noted that, while she "wanted it to have a clever plot device that was also a metaphor" and she knows "what the symbolism means to [her]," she's aware that fans "will have their own takeaway," as they always do. With that in mind, let's examine the hidden details you might've missed in "Cardigan."

Taylor Swift's 'nap dress' pays homage to whimsy

Although Taylor Swift has already launched a line of clothing to commemorate Folklore's release, it's her on-screen attire that has the fashion world abuzz. As seen in the "Cardigan" music video, Swift spends the entire time in a nondescript white gown, which might look like any old nightgown to the untrained eye. However, Swift's look seemingly resembles the "nap dress," a night gown for daywear, according to The Cut. And the nap dress seems to satisfy an element of whimsy that's evident in the fantasy world of "Cardigan."

As writer Rachel Syme described for The New Yorker, the nap dress "suggests a cheeky indulgence for one's body, and a childlike return to waking up bleary-eyed hours before dinner." Syme added that Nell Diamond, CEO of Hill House Home and creator of the Nap Dress, said the garment evokes images of Victorian ghosts, which fits Swift's symbolism, as "Cardigan" plays to memories of the past and lost love. "The song is about a lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories," Swift told fans before the video's debut, per Vulture. "Why it leaves such an indelible mark."

But wait — the nap dress isn't the only symbol in "Cardigan."

Taylor Swift's piano is her lifeline

Countless fans took to Twitter to note that the imagery throughout "Cardigan" evokes vibes similar to that of her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles' music video for "Falling." That's because, in Styles and Swift's videos, they both depict pianos in water. The One Direction alum also wears an outfit that is suspiciously reminiscent of Taylor Swift's nap dress, as mentioned above. However, Swift's instrument of choice probably wasn't intended to draw attention to her on-again, off-again ex. Instead, the piano depicts the one constant that has always kept Swift afloat no matter what — music.

Swift begins the video in what appears to be an old shack or treehouse of sorts but, thanks to her piano, she's transported to new worlds where she experiences an array of emotions and different obstacles. By the end, Swift finds herself overcome by an angry sea, likely meant to represent the pain of young love, and all the vitriol critics have spewed at her throughout the years. But, once again, the singer's piano arrives to save her at the very moment she appears to have lost all hope. Swift grabs hold, doesn't let go, and, ultimately, its magic glow offers her safety. She returns to the rundown reality from which her story began.

From her feud with rapper Kanye West to her mother's cancer battle, Swift has always relied on music to keep her grounded, even when life's hardships threaten to run her ship ragged. Through music, Swift will always find her way back home.

Taylor Swift created a fantasy world

From the title and imagery of the album alone, it was not hard to pick up on Swift's whimsical, forest fairy vibes when she announced Folklore's surprise release. However, with "Cardigan," Swift secured her spritely image for the remainder of the Folklore era. Beyond this, however, she manages to seamlessly blend society's simultaneous desire for fantasy and normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With effects that rival Hollywood blockbusters, "Cardigan" offers vivid scenes that allow viewers to get lost in an alternate universe, and Swift's physical cardigan seemingly symbolizes the comfort we long to return to someday.

Of course, it's also possible the cardigan refers to Swift's relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn, and how he helped her bounce back after her reputation had got tarnished. But in the context of COVID-19, that cardigan has the power to transform into any metaphor fans can conjure.

As Swift admitted during her chat with fans before the premiere, she's well aware of her fans' tendency to derive their own meanings from her work and, quite honestly, that's the beauty behind all she creates. Swift's works provide fans an opportunity to interpret each song as they see fit, allowing every individual to become part of the art itself. What more could any music lover want?