In 2010, at the very beginning of his career, Harry Styles became a British heartthrob, then a European sensation, and eventually an international superstar. The road has been a long and successful one for the 28-year-old British musician, he has poked his head into every aspect of the artistic world. However, in a surprising turn of events, the pop star has truly made his mark in fashion. Of course, Watermelon Sugar was a hit, soaring to the top of the charts within days, but no one can ever wear a pink blouse with white pants again without looking like a mini Styles. In a world full of Gigi Hadids, Lou Doillions, and Erykah Badus we have chosen the former One Direction member to lead us into the fashion revolution.
Bad boy, 1970s, Mamma mia
The evolution of Harry Styles’ fashion sense is truly a reflection of his personal and musical growth. With the release of his first album, Styles broke out of the ‘Perfect’ boy band persona and became HS1. This album saw a bad boy Harry Styles, with songs that discussed sex, drugs, and everything he had been hiding in the shadow of One Direction. At this point he hadn’t strayed too far from his roots, still wearing skinny black jeans and unbuttoned dress shirts, but he did throw in a heeled boot from time to time. The true Harry transformation came from HS2 Love on Tour, the album that transformed him from ‘former One Direction member’ to Harry Styles. The trippy 1970s vibe that he ushered in boosted feathered boas sales and made bedazzled tops, shorts, and hats cool again. Love On Tour gave us Harry Styles in dresses, suspenders, and Bowie boots, a triad that I have learned can be worn anywhere at any time. Then in late May, we were given HS3, Harry’s house. There are only two words that describe Styles’ newest fashion endeavors; Mamma Mia. Styles has gone full Donna Sheridan, something we all hope to do at some point. Donning flowy shirts, bell-bottom jeans, and sexy jumpsuits, Styles has made the running away to Greece look Hollywood.
Androgyny in Fashion
Androgyny in fashion is not something new, despite the beliefs held by many 14-year-old Tik Tokkers, it can actually be traced back to the 17th century. Men and women have been swapping closets for centuries, in the fourteenth century, King Henri III of France was known to dress in women’s clothing. Although the androgynous influence has been around forever, its peak came in the 1970s with the rise of David Bowie, Prince, and Elton John. However, with the passage of time and changes in culture, its popularity died down, that was until Harry Styles. Styles is no pioneer of androgyny and certainly not the best representation of it in this wide world, but it would be simply untrue to say he didn’t popularize it. The internet’s response to his second album Love On Tour is clear evidence of this, not only did his songs become Tik-Tok dances and Instagram captions, but his outfits became uniform. Styles made sparkles popular again for men and women, he proved men can and should walk in heels, and made colorful nail polish the norm for anyone and everyone.
More than Clothing
The out-there looks that he showed off in different cities every night made androgyny cool again. He also did something that, unfortunately, women have been trying to do for years; convince society that female clothing can be sexy AND powerful. Styles did something only a man can do, which spoke volumes about the way society and the music industry view women. There has always been a stigma applied to females within the music industry that men just don’t experience to the same degree. If you dress like Billie Elish, in baggy clothes and cool jeans you are boring and judged by the media. Meanwhile, women like Britney Spears are oversexualized and treated like children by the same media for wearing crop tops and tight clothing. When it comes to women in the limelight there is no way to do it right, but men in the limelight can twist and bend gender and fashion norms at will. That is exactly what Harry Styles has done. By using his position to change the landscape of fashion, whether it was intentional or not, he is an integral cog in the machine that is the new music industry.