Thanks to Taylor Swift, Lavender Now Means Romance

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By Jill Brooke

Flower lovers – we can so relate to Taylor Swift being in a “Lavender Haze.”

Explaining the track from her just released “Midnights” studio album, Swift said on Instagram how she was intrigued when she heard the phrase on the TV show “Mad Men.”  “I thought it sounded cool,”  she said. “And it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ’50s, where they would just describe being in love.”

She wrote the song inspired by the phrase and her six-year relationship with the actor Joe Alwyn.

“I guess theoretically when you’re in the lavender haze, you’ll do anything to stay there,” she said. “And not let people bring you down off of that cloud.”

She explained that because of social media, it wasn’t just public figures who become a focus of outside attention. “… [I]f the world finds out if you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it,” she said. “…[W]e’ve had to dodge weird rumors and tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it.”

She added, “so this song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”

Protecting the “Real Stuff”

Swift sings in the song,  “I feel the lavender haze creepin’ up on me/Surreal/I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say/No deal.”

Although “Mad Men” became an iconic show, the phrase “lavender haze” was never picked up by popular culture. Taylor Swift, of course, changed that.

There are already T-shirts with the phrase.  Lavender Haze is also known for a strain of marijuana that has a lavender bud. Before that there was purple haze, the weed and the song. And for more than 50 years, lavender has been the signifyer of LGBTQ solidarity and resistence.

In the language of flowers, lavender represents serenity, grace, calmness as well as devotion and love. Lavender is referenced more than a hundred times in the Old Testament.

Lavender in Olden Days

During the Middle ages, it was considered an herb of love and was used as an aphrodisiac. It was also believed that a sprinkle of lavender water on the head of a loved one would keep the wearer chaste. As a research paper at North Carolina  State pointed out, due to its insecticidal properties, lavender was scattered over floors in castles and sickrooms as a disinfectant. It is still an effective means of keeping potatoes from sprouting. It has been used in smelling salts and was used to disinfect wounds during wartime. The word came from the Latin verb “lavare” which means to bathe. 

Lavender was even considered effective in taming lions and tigers, repelling mosquitoes. When in doubt, it was used to treat headaches, hysteria, sore joints and toothaches.

In a scientific study published in October 2018, researchers at Kagoshima University in Japan found a positive comparison between smelling lavender and taking Valium. Linalool, one of the terpene alcohols in lavender extracts, turns out to have anti-anxiety effects, what scientists call “anxiolytic.”  

Studies reveal that smelling lavender results in a calming effect.  No wonder so many beauty products use lavender. With its 20 different species, lavender is being researched more and more for its calming and – healing qualities.

And now, thanks to Taylor Swift, lavender will be linked to being in love. Roger Friedman, editor of says, “as a result of this song, everyone falling in love will now refer to it as a lavender haze.”


Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD,  floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and contributor to Florists Review magazine.