Taylor Swift Asked Her Stylist to Set Her Clock Choker to Midnight Right Before She Stepped on the Red Carpet

Her attention to detail—and her commitment to fooling us with a coordinated red herring—is mind-blowing.

Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammys
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Midnights was the album of the night last night—or, rather, the Album of the Year, so says The Recording Academy—and Taylor Swift paid homage to her album through her jewelry, leading many to believe that there was an announcement coming related to the record.

It appears that the clock choker set at midnight was a gametime decision for Swift, who People reports asked her stylist to make the Easter egg-type detail just moments before she hit the Grammys red carpet last night. 

Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammys

Swift had her Lorraine Schwartz clock choker intentionally set to midnight

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The piece was actually a vintage watch repurposed as a choker and was one of the many seemingly intentional red herrings Swift dropped last night. A red herring, if you don’t remember, is a clue that’s meant to distract one from something else at play—in Swift’s case, the announcement of her forthcoming album The Tortured Poets Department, which no one expected because they were thinking Midnights (the red herring with the clock choker) and also Reputation, as Swift’s look last night was very much of that era. But it wasn’t Midnights or Reputation, it turns out, that we should have been prepared for—rather, an entirely new album, set for release April 19.

Taylor Swift album cover

The album cover for Swift's forthcoming record, "The Tortured Poets Department"

(Image credit: Taylor Swift Instagram)

And Swift’s red herrings not only worked, but they were on purpose. On Sunday, Swift’s website seemingly crashed, People reports, “showing an error message reading ‘Error 321 Backend fetch failed.’ Swifties quickly pointed out that the code is a communication error that would appear on a fax machine with a poor telephone line connection. The lead single on Reputation is ‘Look What You Made Me Do,’ and the first line is famously, ‘I’m sorry, the old Tayor can’t come to the phone right now.’” (My goodness, Swift is clever, and committed.)

But that wasn’t the only text displayed: a line in bold read “hneriergrd,” which online sleuths quickly deduced and unscrambled as—you got it—“red herring.” She spelled it right out for us (well, kind of) and we still got fooled into thinking Reputation, especially when she showed up on the red carpet in a Schaiparelli look reminiscent of looks from that time period in her life. Swift “hit the red carpet in a Reputation-coded ensemble which ended up being a total red herring (just as her website warned us it would be),” People writes. 

Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammys

Swift's entire look last night threw fans completely off the scent, as was, apparently, her intent

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In further proof of her dedication to the details (and one reason why she is the Taylor Swift), Swift asked her stylist to turn the hands of the Lorraine Schwartz watch to midnight, which then led the Swift faithful to think that at midnight, they’d be getting a surprise album announcement, likely Reputation (Taylor’s Version). Well, the Swifties were half right: they did get an album announcement last night, but significantly earlier than midnight, and perhaps even more exciting than what they were expecting.

In addition to her strapless Schiaparelli and black opera gloves, Swift wore 300 carats of Lorraine Schwartz diamonds—black and white, like the Reputation album cover. Either we are overanalyzing, or Swift is truly knee-deep in the details (or both), because Swift layered six necklaces last night—and Reputation is her sixth album. 

Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammys

In every sense of the word, Swift won last night

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, red herring? Check. Now that the “red herring” item is off of her to do list, it’s off to Tokyo for the superstar, where she’ll resume her record-breaking Eras Tour on February 7 with four back-to-back shows before possibly jetting off to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on February 11 to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce play in the contest with the Kansas City Chiefs. When you’re Taylor Swift, you never sleep, it seems, and the details are always in play: many think Swift will refuse to miss the title game because it would mark her thirteenth Chiefs game—13 being, of course, her lucky number.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.