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BY CLAIRE DELLORTO
PUTTING THE STYLE IN STYLES
While Harry Styles wows fans across the globe for many reasons, like his beautiful lyrics, incredible singing voice, and, of course, iconic start with the 2010s boyband One Direction, one of the most notable things about him as an artist is his fashion sense. Living up to the name of “Styles”, this pop sensation breaks major boundaries in men’s fashion, while also breaking the charts. Harry Styles's most recent album, “Harry’s House”, made over $7.26 million just within the first week of its release and broke the record for vinyl sales, selling 182,000 copies.
Harry Styles is immensely talented and part of his fame can be attributed to his bold and flashy fashion. Harry Styles uses nontraditional fashion and major statement outfits as a way to bring more of a name to himself. On his current world tour, “Love on Tour”, Harry Styles has been sporting his now classic look of high waisted pants and outfits constructed of entirely bright, often clashing, items like boas, painted nails, contrasting patterns, and sequins. These choices are specific to Styles and mark him as a standout in an industry with so many competing male artists.
A major way that Harry Styles has broken fashion boundaries is by wearing women’s clothing while identifying as a man, disrupting what it means to be masculine and transforming it into a concept of bravery and self-acceptance rather than adherence to strict norms. Styles made a major splash in the music and fashion world when he was on the cover of Vogue Magazine in November 2020 wearing a long, ruffly, blue gown and tuxedo jacket by Alessandro Michele for Gucci. Explaining that he did not do it for sexual ambiguity but simply because he thought that it looked “cool” was a way in which he made people question their norms and beliefs about masculinity and fashion. This Vogue cover stirred some major clashing opinions within the media but made news without a doubt. Conservative political figures with major internet platforms Candance Owens and Ben Shapiro shared major backlash to this photoshoot online, making statements such as, “bring back manly men” and saying the cover was a, “referendum on masculinity”. Other political figures, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, defended Style’s photoshoot, making Styles' fashion choice not only a bold fashion choice but a hot political topic as well.
Despite this backlash, Styles did not let the opinions of others stop him, but rather continued to spread his message of empowerment and creative expression through fashion, sticking to his style and inspiring others with it. Styles has worn stereotypical women’s clothing in other photoshoots and runway looks and has continued to gain popularity and show masculinity, courage, and creativity within fashion and music for men. As a widely popular singer with an influential platform and millions of fans around the world, Styles’ stylistic expression is a bold and powerful way in which he has a positive influence on others, showing others, specifically men, the power that lies in breaking traditional gender norms and embracing individuality.
Styles expresses the importance of his fashion sense in his song lyrics. In his song “Cherry” he sings, “there’s a piece of you in how I dress, take it as a compliment”. A unique and boundary-breaking fashion sense is part of Harry Styles's identity, popularity as an artist, and mission in inspiring others and deconstructing suppressive gender norms. His bold, well-known fashion sense has helped elevate him to one of the most popular music artists today and showcases the powerful intersection between fashion and music and the power of disruption.