Wall Street Times

How Harry Styles has redefined fashion

Image Source: The Music Network

Harry Styles has gone from being the young star of One Direction on Britain’s “The X Factor” in 2010 to being on one of the most talked-about covers of American Vogue.

After his solo career took off, Harry Styles ditched his preppy style for more creative androgynous outfits. This solidified his reputation as a stylish risk-taker who likes to try out new looks.

In this piece, we are documenting his decade-long outfit evolution.

Harry Styles was just a style icon on occasion, from blending to breaking the mold. But there were clues that he might become one even back in 2010: the loose, slim scarf he wore to his audition for “The X Factor” (baby-faced and only 16 at the time) or the wrist bracelets he sported during his early One Direction years – small but telling hints of flair from the singer.

Styles’ outfit was mostly devoted to the typical teenage boy band style. There were, however, numerous coordinated – but never matchy-matchy – outfits with fellow bandmates Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson: Jack Wills tracksuits and well-tailored ensembles in complementary colors.

It was all very “boy-next-door” away from the red carpet: checkered shirts with rolled-up sleeves and khaki jackets, cozy cardigans and knitted beanies. This phase peaked in 2012, during his brief relationship with Taylor Swift.

Harry Styles began upping his fashion game shortly after splitting with Swift in early 2013. First, he adopted a more defined look: tight pants, print shirts or sweaters (preferably from Burberry, Saint Laurent, or Marc Jacobs), and leather ankle boots, an obvious nod to Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s “thin rocker” aesthetic. The tattoos came next, followed by increasingly unkempt locks framed by continually changing headscarves, and, by the end of the year, a British Fashion Award for his distinct style.

An icon was made (and was dressed mostly in patterned shirts).

Harry Styles and  Gucci

By 2015, Harry Styles had established herself as a fashion week fixture and the unofficial muse of Alessandro Michele, who had joined Gucci the year before.

After a theatrical Gucci outfit, the artist appeared in a dramatic Gucci dress, boasting longer hair and a debonair swagger. Under the Direction of stylist Harry Lambert, he displayed a passion for precise tailoring and frenetic combinations that frequently blended the masculine and feminine – another feature that would soon become iconic with his fashion style.

Among the many highlights from this period are the floral 1970s-inspired Gucci two-piece he wore to the American Music Awards (AMA) in November 2015 and the retro petal print he wore a month later at One Direction’s final-ever show, proving Styles could pull off a head-to-toe printed look just as well as a pair of skinny jeans.

Harry Styles was well ahead of his bandmates in terms of fashion, and his wardrobe has since evolved bolder, campier, and more diversified.

Harry Styles began openly experimenting with gender-bending clothing in his music videos and on tour in 2017 when he launched his eponymous solo album. Cotton candy pink outfits were paired with stacked heels and flashy jewelry, then with pussy-bow satin blouses.

Nobody was surprised when he was named the face of Gucci’s tailoring campaign in June 2018. Few were surprised when he was selected to co-host the 2019 Met Gala with Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, Alessandro Michele, and Anna Wintour. He wore Gucci, including a black lace blouse with a bow and sheer sleeves that revealed his arm tattoos, block heels, and a single-hanging pearl earring.

The outfit wonderfully captured Styles’ drive to push self-expression boundaries through clothes that defy gender categorization.

On the cover of the Vogue

The first cover boy for Vogue Styles’ clothing has been inspired by her “self-comfort” in the best possible ways.

It may be seen on the cover of his second solo album, “Fine Line,” which was released in December 2019. Styles sported a bright pink custom Gucci top and white shorts, with photographer Tim Walker’s fisheye lens emphasizing his hips theatrically.

And Styles’ open-mindedness can be seen in his efforts to assist up-and-coming designers like Harris Reed, Steven Stokey-Daley, and Daniel W. Fletcher, as well as his decision to wear fishnet stockings and lipstick on the cover of the British magazine Beauty Papers last March.

Then there was the cover of American Vogue in November. It was the first time a man had led the fashion title alone, with Tyler Mitchell shooting Harry Styles in a Gucci jacket and attire. The singer was photographed entering sporting a full-length gown with a tuxedo-inspired skirt.

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Through his wide-reaching impact and refusal to categorize his sexuality or costume choices, the artist has helped normalize the conversation about gender fluidity. As a result, Harry Styles’ place in contemporary fashion history is all but assured, with components of his clothing already purchased by a major museum and a prominent designer’s private archive.