Taylor Swift knew what she was doing when she named an album ‘folklore’. Many a Swiftie has spent hours decoding mythology surrounding her life and subsequent discography.
If you’re a hardcore Swift follower, you’ve probably fallen down the rabbit hole (if you know, you know) already, and should be familiar with ‘Red’’s lyrical theories, which span maple lattes, liner notes, Swiftgron, and Sagittarius season.
But of all the unsolved Swifteries, there’s one that’s gripped us all since 2012, and is setting theorists on its case once again following the release of Taylor’s Version of ‘Red’ recently: whatever happened to Taylor Swift’s scarf?
Does Jake Gyllenhaal even have the scarf? Why is it being withheld from its rightful owner? Whose scarf is it anyway? We dig deep to find out.
Here’s where our story starts. Boy meets girl. Boy wears scarf. Girl wears same scarf later. It must be love.
In November of 2010, Jake Gyllenhaal was spotted in London wearing a striped Gucci scarf while attending the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (this is quite the time capsule isn’t it).
A couple of weeks later, Taylor is spotted wearing the same one, or one that looks just like it at least, while walking arm in arm with her then-beau on a stroll in Brooklyn after spending Thanksgiving together.
The rest is, quite simply, pop culture history.
Two years later, in late October 2012, Taylor Swift released the album that would be her biggest leap into the pop realm thus far. ‘Red’ bridged the gap between her country roots and the big pop sound she was aiming for. Between Max Martin assisted hits and celeb spotting speculations, Taylor’s songwriting was taken stratospheric.
By this point in her career (her fourth album), she’d long been dropping Easter eggs in her songs, little clues in liner notes that promised answers about who her subjects were. In short, Swifties and gossip mags alike were on the lookout for tip-offs, and hit the jackpot when they got to track five.
‘All Too Well’ talked of The Scarf, THEE SCARF, the rather ordinary scarf that’d made a grand total of two public outings, the scarf that would become the stuff of legend.
The lyrical loop starts with Taylor leaving the scarf at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s house (presumably after the Thanksgiving dinner her and Jake attended) and ends with the note that Jake still has it because it smells like her. Perhaps Taylor never intended for the story to exist outside of this five-minute ballad that was never even a single, but the scarf’s whereabouts have remained a mystery ever since.
Some say it’s alluded to in the video for smash hit ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, when her co-star passes his scarf to her, putting it around her neck. Has anyone made the connection yet that the scarf might not actually be Taylor’s?!
Fast forward to 2017, and Maggie Gyllenhaal breaks her silence on the topic during an appearance on ‘Watch What Happens Live’, making outlandish claims that she has no idea about this scarf. Maggie my dear, it was left at your house! Allegedly it is now in your brother’s drawer!
By now, years have passed, each autumn the world wonders where the humble scarf resides, and here is one of the story’s main characters saying it is of no significance to her. Disappointing.
And here we are, almost a decade later with no answers to be found. With the re-recordings of ‘Red’ out in the world, amongst them a 10 minute version of ‘All Too Well’ which, although provides more context and reflection, gives us no more clues about The Scarf.
While some speculate that the scarf isn’t a tangible item and rather just a metaphor for Taylor’s innocence, ‘All Too Well (The Short Film)’ begs to differ (as does Taylor’s merchandise shop). Star Sadie Sink, who plays a young Taylor, is seen draping the scarf, this time a vibrant red chunky knit, over a banister in what we can assume is ‘his’ sister’s house. Later in the clip, Dylan O’Brien, who plays Jake, pops up wearing the scarf years on.
With the topic reigniting conversation, there are a couple of new characters to come forward, claiming they are in possession of the scarf.
Firstly, actor Andrew Burnap said he believes he has it, before quickly going back on his word when he realised he did not.
However an anonymous source came forward – with proof – to instagram gossip page DeuxMoi – claiming it’s theirs and they are trying to get it back to Taylor. In a strange twist of fate, a follower of the account has managed to connect with Taylor’s team and rumour has it… Thee Scarf of All Too Well fame is on its way home.
So there we have it. I think we might have actually cracked it?! One of pop culture’s greatest mysteries is possibly no more. Now to get into the rest of those theories.