Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

Taylor’s “Lavender Haze” Lyrics Have A Direct Connection To ‘Mad Men’

“Lavender Haze” is the gorgeous opening track to Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album Midnights, which was released on Oct. 21. With its pop sound and heartbeat-like beat, it gives off undeniable 1989 vibes mixed with Lover meets Reputation lyrics. In many ways, this song is a full-circle moment for Swift. But what do the lyrics for “Lavender Haze” even mean? And do they reference any other songs in Swift’s discography? It’s time to take a closer look, besties.

Let’s start off with the title, “Lavender Haze.” Swift explained on Instagram how she first heard the term in the 1960s-set hit television show Mad Men in a scene when Don Draper (Jon Hamm) describes his, at the time, new love Betty (January Jones) to the only person he trusts, Anna. Anna replies by telling Don that he is in the “lavender haze.” Taylor discovered that it was a term people in the 1950s used to describe falling in love, something we know she felt while falling for her actor boyfriend, Joe Alwyn.

Swift has dealt with sexism and slut-shaming throughout her career due to her many boyfriends, including the infamous (at least where Swifties are concerned) Jake Gyllenhaal and now-friend Joe Jonas. Lyrics like, “I’ve been under scrutiny, you handle it beautifully,” “I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say no deal, the 1950s sh*t they want from me, I just wanna stay in that lavender haze,” and “I find it dizzying, they’re bringing up my history, but you weren’t even listening,” show how far Swift has come through her relationship with Alwyn. 

Swift is showing she’s no longer falling victim to viral shaming — she is overcoming it. This is shown through the bridge, “Talk your talk and go viral, I just need this love spiral, get it off your chest, get it off my desk.” This idea is also echoed in “Call It What You Want,” which is also about her relationship with Alwyn.

Slut-shaming in itself is a very 1950s mentality to buy into. The ’50s were a time of intense sexism and misogyny. Swift has stood up against these beliefs in her own life: In her Miss Americana documentary, she expressed her rage toward politicians from her home state of Tennessee who believe in sexist policies that victimize women. So, it presents an interesting contrast that a term from the ’50s inspired her to write this song, especially with the term “lavender haze” being so optimistic even though it was created during a time of intense misogyny towards women.

As I mentioned before, this song provides a full-circle moment in Swift’s discography. For one, it focuses on color, which isn’t a new concept for Swift. Songs like “Red,” “Maroon,” and “Gold Rush” all use colors to express the emotions Taylor’s feeling. Lavender symbolizes devotion, grace, serenity, warmth, and love, which could point to Swift’s feelings toward Alwyn, as expressed in past songs like “Lover,” “Delicate,” and “Call It What You Want.” 

However, purple itself represents elegance, luxury and refinement, while pastel shades symbolize rebirth, purity, peacefulness, innocence and calmness. The use of lavender could represent these feelings for Swift when she’s with Alwyn. (She’s used royalty imagery for him before in “King of My Heart”).

The song also starts out with lyrics about mundane activities, just like the lyrics in “Lover.” She sings, “Meet me at midnight, staring at the ceiling with you.” This could show just how much she values his down-to-earth qualities and simple lifestyle despite him being one of the biggest celebrities in the world. 

If “Lover” didn’t cement that Swift is head over heels for Alwyn, this song sure does. With Alwyn by her side, all the scrutiny and hate from Swift haters is white noise. Her lavender haze blocks it out, so she and Alwyn can do ~normal people things~ like shop for furniture and write hit songs like “Sweet Nothing.”

Hello! My name is Sami Gotskind! I'm from Chicago and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Acting and Journalism. I also working on getting a certificate in Fashion Styling from the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was a writer for Her Campus KU from 2020 to 2022 and for Her Campus Nationals since 2021. I was also the Writing Director for Her Campus KU in 2022. I love film, TV, fashion, pop culture, history, music, and feminism. My friends describe me as an old soul, an avid Euphoria fan, a fashion icon, a Swiftie, an Audrey Hepburn-Blair Waldorf fanatic, a future New Yorker, and a Gossip Girl historian. Look out for me on your TV screens in the near future! Thank you for reading my articles!