Harry Styles has been the world’s man-crush for over a decade now. From his boy band to his man bun, fans have always found a reason to obsess over the singer. Since One Direction’s breakup, though, the star has gained a new form of cult following. It’s not from his music, or his glorious hair, but rather, from his unique sense of fashion.
From being the face of Gucci campaigns, to rocking the Met Gala in frills, Styles’ fashion has quickly gained momentum. Usually, his signature looks include cable knit sweaters and flowing slacks, often paired with pearl strands. Occasionally, he branches out to include colorful cardigans and tank tops, tinged with femininity and flair. Though occasionally grandpa-esque and gaudy, his style is unmatched and continues to be a hot topic of today’s pop culture. And in the past years, men, women and everyone in-between have all experienced a change in their own fashion trends, as well.
The Styles Impact
Beginning in the early 2010’s, the punk-rock look was in full swing, from flannels to fishnets. Who was influencing this grungy style, you might ask? Oh, just a teenage popstar at the helm of a sensational boyband. Styles flaunted Kobain-like flannels on stage and wore his hair tied up in bandanas. He was the epitome of Tumblr’s 90s-wannabe grunge phase.
Moving into the second half of the 2010’s and out of the boyband, Styles’ style changed, and so did ours. Delicate blouses and thick chains and jewelry were suddenly in; long slacks and thick sweaters — sweater vests too? Who could possibly be causes this dramatic change? Once again, it was Harry.
Beginning with the release of his solo album, Styles debuted a drastic change not only in music, but in fashion, too. Gucci became his wingman and lifted him up to the realm of high fashion. Rings were stacked on every finger, pearls and delicate jewelry dangled from his neck and ears. Airy blouses and button downs became his signature look. But in effect, they also became ours.
Zara recently released a collection of blouses and cable knits that unintentionally mirror Styles’ similar style, even nailing his famous sheep sweater vest. Of course, this style sold out on their websites and became quite a sensation. Also, over quarantine, Styles’ JW Anderson colourful patch cardigan had many inspired to crochet their own, instantly becoming a Tik Tok Trend.
While his statement pieces are often mimicked by brands and fans, smaller pieces of his style, such as painted nails and delicate jewellery, have become more prominent in men. Clothing trends, such as ‘e-boy’ and ‘soft boy’ fashion, display these characteristics well.
Whether it’s sweater vests or nail polish, Styles has always had a large influence on fashion since his rise to fame.
The Vogue Issue
Styles’ presence in fashion is so notable that Vogue Magazine, the mother of all that is considered fashionable, deemed Styles their cover-boy for their December 2020 issue. He is the first solo male cover of the magazine and still managed to break even more boundaries beyond this achievement.
He appeared on the cover dressed in a beautiful tulle gown, paired with a masculine blazer. The contrast was to-die-for, sending fans and fashion followers into a frenzy across the globe. But even with his feminine outfit choice, the look did not seem feminine. If I’m being honest, I didn’t realize he was even wearing a dress when I first saw it. He just made the look his own—no thought or intentions surrounding gender, just expression.
Like always, criticism tends to follow bold movements. Though many adored his look and unique photoshoot, a large group of repressive conservatives felt the need to comment on the matter of fashion. As they always do. But it wasn’t all about Styles’ fashion — Candace Owens’ comment specifically attacked his masculinity and validity as a man.
Does wearing a dress really drain the manliness out of a man? Are you not valuable to society when you are breaking numerous boundaries and influencing fashion trends? Does being a three-time Grammy nominee and booking Hollywood roles make you weak? I don’t think so. But tell me, Candace, how is your Republican propaganda book doing?
Overall, the cover was met with awe and excitement, despite the few bad apples. And besides, controversy has its perks. There is already a waitlist for Styles’ notorious issue of the magazine.
You Can’t Stop Him
Styles has successfully blurred the lines of femininity and masculinity in our society without even trying. Men are wearing rings and blouses, women are wearing blazers and sweater vests. Whether it’s an ode to Victorian style or the Styles Impact, you cannot deny he has had an impact on modern fashion and male beauty standards.
And beyond fashion, Harry Styles is one of the most resilient figures in pop culture and fashion right now. No matter what is thrown his way —boyband breakups, COVID cutting tour short, republicans — he always thrives. Whether it’s starting a successful solo career, turning to acting, or spreading kindness in the face of negativity, Styles comes out on top.
Featured image via Harry Styles on Instagram