Harry Styles. His influence in the fashion industry is undeniable.
From suits, to skirts and dresses, sweaters, and flare pants. He has worn it all, breaking down gender roles and toxic male stereotypes along the way.
I should start off by mentioning that his style wasn’t always so bold and daring.
As a die hard Directioner back in 2010, and still to this day, one of the first outfits I remember seeing Harry wear was a purple Jack Wills hoodie and khaki pants with a panda bear beanie.
This outfit might not be high fashion, but did I want a Jack Wills hoodie when I was nine years old even though I had no idea who or what Jack Wills was? Yes.
Now that I’ve addressed one of the most iconic outfits of 2010 worn by Harry himself, let’s move on to some of the outfits that have turned the fashion industry upside down.
We saw Harry on the cover of Vogue in December of 2020, the first solo male cover the magazine has ever printed, wearing a light blue dress with ruffles and a black blazer over top, and his iconic "H" and "S" rings.
Harry received tons of backlash over this cover shoot because he was pictured wearing multiple dresses and a skirt in the pages of Vogue.
Although he is known for stepping outside of the box when it comes to fashion, this photoshoot disregarded any and all male stereotypes that have long prevailed in the fashion industry.
Some readers of Vogue and members of the general public had an issue with what Harry wore for the shoot. Many of these remarks stemmed from the idea that dresses are meant for women, and people were offended that a man would wear a dress or skirt. The phrase “bring back manly men” circled around for a while, demonstrating just how angry people were at Harry Styles for wearing a dress.
I just have to say, it’s not that deep. Anyone should wear whatever they feel comfortable in despite what people may think or say about it. Wearing a dress does not determine one’s gender or sexuality and at the end of the day, they are just clothes.
By being on the cover of Vogue wearing a dress, Harry Styles helped in opening up a whole new world of fashion and leveled the playing field by bridging the gap between ‘men’ and ‘women’s’ fashion.
Since his solo career began, Styles has been seen at red carpets and performances wearing suits in all different colors and styles (no pun intended).
We’re all thinking it, so I’ll just say it. Harry can pull off any suit in any pattern or color. I’m usually not a fan of floral or checkered patterns but these ones just work.
Pre-solo career some of his outfits included black jeans with a patterned shirt or t-shirt. It is safe to say he has stepped out of his comfort zone and for that, I’d like to thank his stylist, Harry Lambert.
In some of the photos we see Harry wearing a tie neck blouse peeking out underneath the suit. Usually we see these blouses worn by women, but pairing them with a suit adds an element of interest. Once again demonstrating that clothes are just that, clothes.
Breaking the stereotype that certain clothes are ‘meant for women’ is important, and not many celebrities have shown this in the past. Harry, however, embraces it.
In wearing whatever he wants, those that look up to him feel inspired to wear the clothes that make them feel comfortable, rather than what society tells them to wear.
Another way Harry Styles has changed the fashion world is by wearing a multicolored patchwork cardigan during a rehearsal for his performance at The Today Show back in February of 2020. The cardigan was made by JW Anderson and fans began crocheting the cardigan by hand without a pattern and making TikToks demonstrating how to create them.
It became a trend on TikTok and although I still have not learned how to make one myself, I think about it all the time and wish I had the skills to crochet my own Harry Styles inspired cardigan.
The amount of people that made their own patchwork cardigans inspired by the design is only one demonstration of how influential Harry Styles has been in the fashion industry.
Majority of Gen Z definitely were not crocheting sweaters before Harry wore one.
Not only does this show Harry’s influence in fashion, but also the fans' determination behind seeing an expensive clothing item and thinking of innovative ways to make them on a budget.
I thought it was important to mention one of Harry Styles’ cultural concert outfits as well.
These photos were taken at one of Harry’s concerts in Mexico. He is seen in a black suit with sparkly red detailing down the seam of the pants. The mariachi-inspired suit jacket is more detailed, with sparkly red tassels falling from the sleeves. It also includes flowers on the front panel and bottoms of his sleeves.
Harry’s demonstration of appreciation for Mexico’s culture is translated through this outfit he wore on the first night of his show in Mexico City in 2018.
Harry Styles is using fashion as a method of bringing him and his fans closer together, in a way that shows he cares for and appreciates his fans from different cultures around the world.
This way of demonstrating respect is important in the fashion industry because it allows designers to create looks that allow the artist to connect with their audience.
Last but not least, my favorite Harry Styles looks that hold a special place in my heart.
This first one is from the Jingle Ball in London in 2019. Harry is wearing a glitter denim shirt and jeans, unbuttoned to the waist. This outfit has a retro feel and is once again stepping outside the boundaries of what most people are used to in terms of men’s fashion.
This look combines past and present and is different from other outfits he normally wears, revealing Styles’ range in terms of fashion involving different fabrics and textures.
He wore this outfit at the Gucci Cruise 2020 show in Rome. Harry had a shoot for Gucci’s cruise men’s tailoring campaign the previous year and is seen wearing a white suit with pink sunglasses, a straw handbag, and a myriad of rings on painted fingernails.
The look as a whole is stunning and the fact that he is carrying a bag and wearing pink sunnies makes the look even better. Not to mention his multicolored painted nails which sparked men all over the world to follow suit and also begin dabbling in the art that is nail painting.
This look may seem sleek and simple, but wearing pink sunglasses and having painted nails defies gender norms and demonstrates Styles’ desire to stray away from toxic masculinity ideals.
Painting your nails is a power move and shows you’re not afraid to express yourself and do what you want. I think that is an important lesson for people to learn as fashion evolves and becomes more gender neutral. It is not only about the clothes, but also the accessories and little details that make the look complete.
Confidence plays a large role in how you feel in an outfit. Harry Styles knows he looks good in all of these outfits, as he should, and his confidence in what he is wearing can be seen through his presence in photoshoots and on stage.
He wears what he wants. Plain and simple. If he likes it, he’ll wear it and pay no attention to the social implications that come with wearing certain clothing pieces or styles.
I think it is important to have someone like Harry who is in the spotlight to be a guide in not only reminding people that clothes do not have a gender but also to feel confident in those fashion choices.
If you take one thing away from this article, other than the fact that Harry Styles could pull off wearing a trash bag, let it be that fashion is for everyone and you should wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable despite what anyone else might think about it.