Harry Styles is the most fashionable man in the music industry today. Is this a controversial opinion? Probably. Am I biased? Some would say. Is it justifiable? Absolutely.
I am a full blown Harry Styles stan- it is no secret. I have a cardboard cutout of him in my room, a pillow with his face on it on my bed, and too many merchandise pieces to keep track. Thus, my opinion regarding his place in the fashion world isn’t exactly a fair one. I will acknowledge that there are other fashionable celebrities but I also request acknowledgment from dissenters that Harry Styles is contributing to the softened boundaries in fashion and the decline of toxic masculinity.
Harry’s growth as a person and musical artist has been accompanied by a beautiful growth in his style. He went from sporting Jack Wills sweatshirts in 2012 to being the first solo male on the cover of American Vogue wearing a Gucci dress. Not much more needs to be said. This evolution consisted of skinny jeans, Chelsea boots, button up shirts, and a whole lot of Gucci suits.
The entertainment industry as a whole has taken a gradual shift towards more fluidity in fashion, which has allowed for more risk-taking. The black and white Gucci suit Harry wore to the 2015 AMA’s, for example, was ripped to shreds by the media and people online. If he were to wear that today, however, I highly doubt we would see nearly as much criticism of the, may I add, gorgeous suit. Take his 2020 Brits outfits- the bright yellow suit paired with a purple scarf and the full lace Gucci look paired with matching gloves and his staple pearls. He did not end up on the worst dressed list for the 2020 Brits, contrary to his fate after the AMA’s. Rather, he has been consistently praised by social media users for his risk taking in fashion and feminine choices which is beautiful to see considering the flack he got for wearing similar styles a few years ago.
It is refreshing to see a male figure stretching the boundaries of what society once considered to be the ideal mold of how men should dress. I am so sick of seeing guys wear the same boring suits and not utilizing accessories, makeup, and other “girly” trends that add so much to every look. Even before Harry debuted as a solo act, he began dressing more flamboyantly while still in One Direction (rip). In 2015, he really began wearing blousy, patterned tops by brands like Saint Laurent and Gucci, and made bold red carpet choices in intricate suits and neck-tie blouses.
2016 was a period of subtle experimentation, and we really got a taste for Harry’s adventurous stylistic choices in 2017, the year of his debut as a solo performer. The pink Edward Sexton suit he wore on the Today Show, checked Vivienne Westwood suit, and custom, purple Alexander McQueen suit paired with Roker boots are just a few of my favorite looks of his from that year that really established him as a fashionable force. This era was surprising to all Harry fans who were around for One direction, myself included; his new persona- highlighted in both his music and outfits- was drastically different than boy-band Harry who remained comfortable in all black ensembles consisting of t-shirts, skinny jeans, and booties. The casual yet glamorous suits that defined his first solo tour in the latter half of 2017 acted as the perfect stage outfits and allowed him to develop a certain image that has stuck ever since- Harry Styles is no longer a picture-perfect boyband member, he is a modern day rockstar.
2018 was the year that the general public seemed to take more notice of Harrys growth into a future fashion icon. His world tour- that I was very lucky to attend- featured rockstar-esque performances, bad dad jokes, and 60 different suits- all equally dramatic and eye-catching. Gucci, Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Harris Reed. Embroidery, fringe, sparkle, color. The wardrobe from this tour covered all the bases and was an extravaganza of luxury and straight up beauty. The collaboration between Harry Styles and his stylist Harry Lambert gave us true masterpieces in the form of clothing that was beautified by the setting in which it was worn. I will never forget the anticipation I felt every night throughout the summer of 2018, awaiting the reveal of what suit Harry wore at his shows each night. For my show, it was a brown Gucci suit with a small orange ribbon honoring the victims of gun violence. Love a meaningful choice.
This fashion growth really culminated in 2019- a year where Harry Styles became Harry Styles. I cannot not mention him being a co-chair of the Met Gala alongside icons like Anna Wintour and Lady Gaga, and walking the carpet alongside none other than Alessandro Michele who designed the most beautiful Camp looks. Fast forward to the second half of the year where he began doing promo for the release of his second album- Fine Line. Harry Styles has, of course, always been famous. I mean, he was in the biggest boyband of all time. But 2019 through 2020 was when Harry reached a whole new level of fame, one comparable to what only the biggest names in the industry have experienced. And with this newfound, heightened support came more attention on his fashion choices and, of course, more opportunites.
His off-duty style in the past few years has taken a major shift, as well, and seems to really represent who he is and what he likes. It has a much more mature, folky vibe than it used to, and he experiments more with wild pieces and interesting combinations. He has become a frequent wearer of funny graphic tees and hats, sporting humorous pieces with random slogans. Please enjoy this thread a fan created on twitter, rounding up his best graphic tee moments:
Harry has shown he is not afraid to mix bold patterns and colors to make unexpected looks go together. It is now exhilarating to predict what he is going to wear to events because we know it is going to be something different and interesting to look at. In his editorials and covers he has been very open with experimenting with makeup (Beauty Papers) and typically feminine choices (Vogue December 2020). His latest move that garnered the general public’s attention was his Vogue cover in which he wore a beautiful Gucci dress. It drew criticism from conservative figures, like Candace Owens, for contributing to the decline of manly men. I, personally, think it is powerful to dress however you like without worrying about what mold you’re supposed to fit into and what other people will think.
Regardless of who you listen to and whether or not you identify as a Harry Styles fan, there is no denying he is bold with his fashion choices. I feel lucky to have grown up alongside him and watch him grow into the confident, boundary-pushing person he is today. He embodies the spirit of dressing however you want and not succumbing to societal pressures that surround us. Today, as we celebrate his 27th birthday and the person he is, we shall appreciate the art that is his wardrobe and the way in which he has molded the fashion industry. Happy birthday Harry- forever my favorite ❤