Taylor Swift is a natural stunner, but that doesn't mean her looks are always on-target. In this week's Style Breakdown, we assess what she's doing right -- and where she's drifted horribly off-course.

Starting at the top, Swift can wear her hair stick straight or with unruly curls, and pair either style with bangs. That's not easy to do. You try it and see if you don't resemble a poodle or like you panicked midway through a perm (if you're still getting perms, by the way, knock it off already).

Swift looks equally as gorgeous with pale pink lips as she does with her signature red-painted pout. She's also the poet laureate and voice of her generation, expertly spinning tales of heartbreak that essentially say what millions of teenaged girls are thinking.

So why has the vibrant 22-year-old taken to dressing like a middle-aged political wife? While she just split with a Kennedy after courting Camelot, she's far too young to be preparing for a life like that. It looks like she wants to be Jackie Kennedy, but she's missing some of the effortless pizazz that defined Jackie O. and her timeless style.

Interestingly enough, it wasn't always like this.

She used to look super sexy, especially when waltzing down red carpets at awards shows in floor-sweeping gowns. She has the figure for them and when she went strapless, she could show off her toned arms and the creamy skin of her shoulders. Genetically blessed, she is.

Frederick Breedon, Getty Images

Her short, metallic number at the 2010 American Music Awards, which she paired with a sleek blow out and heavy clip-in bangs, was one of her best looks ever. Even though she looked sewn into that grommetted dress, she OWNED it.

Jason Merritt, Getty Images

But lately she's taken a turn for the frumptastic, covering up more and favoring unflattering shapes, silhouettes and cuts.

What's Right

Swift is model tall, so when she wears high-waisted hot pants -- or in this case, hot shorts -- she shows off her height and those to-die-for legs. She also works red lipstick like nobody's business. It's not easy to pull off a scarlet pout, but she makes it look easy.

Christopher Polk, Getty Images

In the photo below, she shows some edge in an all-black ensemble with a sparkly top and textured leggings. She tends to stick to monochromatic looks, and when she plays with her accessories or fabric texture, it works in her favor.

Larry Busacca, Getty Images

What's Wrong

Swift looks like she shops exclusively at Anthropologie and scours the estate sales of elderly women. The monochromatic '50s dresses she's been wearing, with their full skirts and high necklines, do nothing to play up her shape or her age. While we're not suggesting that she go all Rihanna on us and strip down (that's not her style), Swift would benefit from dressing younger. The frocks and pearls scream LWL -- ladies who lunch -- and not the pop star she is.

For example, this blue dress is suited for someone much older. It's short, but it's dull.

Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images

The dress she's wearing below is sweet and it's black, but it's also incredibly boring and too mature for a 22-year-old. It ages her. Why not go for something form-fitting and short, which would leave a bit of sexy suggestion? Or how about a fabric other than what looks like prom dress taffeta? Her bestie Emma Stone wore a sleeveless red dress in this same cut, only hers was leather and she looked fantastic.

Larry Busacca, Getty Images

And the white pantsuit? You're not a CEO. You're at the MTV VMAs. Dress like it.

Christopher Polk, Getty Images

The brown Oxfords, which can be seen on her Billboard cover? Fine -- if you're British, a boy, and 12.


As for the dress below, we have mixed feelings. It's a total take on Marilyn Monroe's iconic 'Seven Year Itch' get-up, and while it's skin-baring, it's not nearly as low cut as its inspiration. Nor is it as fun. We just can't picture T. Swizzle standing over a subway grate in this.

Jason Merritt, Getty Images

How to Fix It

We can appreciate her desire to be classic, demure and ladylike, but more often than not, the result is dowdy. We'd love to see Swift try leather leggings and maybe even pair a black pencil skirt with a crisp, white button down. She'd look more like a hot librarian instead of a frumpy frau. Jennifer Aniston manages to be classic and sexy, but never vulgar, and Swift could emulate her -- with a younger skew.

Taylor Swift is gorgeous (if perhaps a bit over-eager). She just needs to work it more.