Harry Styles has come a long way since his debut on Britain’s “The X Factor” in 2010 as One Direction’s teenage sweetheart to the star of one of the most talked about covers of American Vogue.
When his solo career took off, he ditched the preppy appearance in favor of more experimental androgynous ensembles, firmly establishing himself as a stylish risk-taker who unabashedly enjoys experimenting with fashion.
In this article, we chronicle his decade-long clothing progression.
Harry Styles was only sometimes a style icon, from blending to breaking the mold. But, even back in 2010, there were indicators that he might become one: the loose, slender scarf he wore to his audition for “The X Factor” (baby-faced and only 16 at the time) or the wrist bracelets he donned during his early One Direction years — little but telling hints of flare from the singer.
Styles’ wardrobe, for the most part, adhered to the conventional teenage boy band look. However, there were several synchronized – but never matchy-matchy – outfits with fellow bandmates Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson: Jack Wills tracksuits and finely made ensembles in complementing colors.
It was all very “boy-next-door” away from the red carpet: clad in checkered shirts with rolled-up sleeves and khaki jackets, comfortable cardigans and knitted beanies. This phase peaked in 2012, coinciding with his brief romance with Taylor Swift.
Harry Styles began raising his fashion game in early 2013, shortly after separating from Swift. First, he adopted a more defined image: tight trousers, print shirts or sweaters (ideally from Burberry, Saint Laurent, or Marc Jacobs), and leather ankle boots, a clear reference to Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s “thin rocker” look. Next followed the tattoos, the increasingly untamed locks framed by constantly changing headscarves, and, by the end of the year, a British Fashion Award for his unique style.
An icon was created (and was dressed mostly in patterned shirts).
Harry Styles Gucci’s years
By 2015, Harry Styles had established herself as a fashion week staple and the unofficial muse of creative director Alessandro Michele, who had joined Gucci the previous year.
The artist began appearing in one theatrical Gucci outfit after another, flaunting longer hair and a debonair swagger. Under the Direction of stylist Harry Lambert, he demonstrated a fondness for precise tailoring and furious ensembles that frequently combined the masculine and feminine – another characteristic that would soon become synonymous with his fashion style.
Among the many highlights from this period is 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 of One Direction’s final-ever shows, proving Styles could pull off a head-to-toe printed to look just as well as a pair of skinny jeans.
Harry Styles was now far ahead of his bandmates in fashion, and his outfit has become bolder, campier, and more varied since.
Styles began experimenting more openly with gender-bending apparel in his music videos and on tour in 2017, as he released his eponymous solo album. Cotton candy pink suits were followed by stacked heels and showy jewelry, which were in turn followed by pussy-bow satin blouses.
No one was surprised when he was announced in June 2018 as the face of Gucci’s tailoring campaign. Few people were surprised when he was chosen to co-host the 2019 Met Gala alongside Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, Alessandro Michele, and Anna Wintour. He has dressed in Gucci: a black lace shirt with a bow and sheer sleeves that showed off his arm tattoos, block heels, and a single-hanging pearl earring.
Styles’ determination to push the frontiers of self-expression through clothing that defies gender categorization was brilliantly captured in the look.
The first cover boy for Vogue
Styles’ wardrobe has been guided by her “self-comfort” in all the greatest ways.
It was visible on the cover of his second solo album, “Fine Line,” published in December 2019. Styles wore a bright pink custom Gucci top and white slacks; his hips were accentuated theatrically by photographer Tim Walker’s fisheye lens.
And Styles’ open-mindedness can be seen in his efforts to support rising and experimental designers such as Harris Reed, Steven Stokey-Daley, and Daniel W. Fletcher, as well as his decision to put on fishnet stockings and lipstick on the cover of the British magazine Beauty Papers last March.
Then, of course, there was the November cover of American Vogue. It was the first time a guy had headlined the fashion title alone, shot by Tyler Mitchell and showing Styles in a Gucci jacket and outfit. A photo spread inside showed the singer wearing a full-length gown and a tuxedo-inspired skirt.
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The artist has helped normalize the conversation of gender fluidity through his wide-reaching impact and reluctance to classify his sexuality or wardrobe choices. As a result, Harry Styles’ position in current fashion history is all but certain, with elements of his apparel already bought by a major museum and a famous designer’s private archive.