Harry Styles loves fashion and clothes. And it clearly shows. Sure, it wasn't as apparent when he first came into the scene as a teen hopeful on the seventh season of The X Factor (the original British version). But like most of us post-awkward teen years, Styles has grown into his own—experimenting with prints, colours, and a clear sign of pop star maturity: tattoos.
There were telltale signs of his ascent to style icon status back when he was part of the five-piece One Direction boyband. While the rest of his mates were clad in skintight skinny jeans, slim-fit shirts and looked like they were sponsored by Topman, Styles often opted for tailoring. It wasn't unusual to see Styles sporting a broken three-piece accentuated by a patterned pocket square; style 101 but still showed his penchant for fashion.
It was when he took his music career solo that he truly opened up to fashion. Perhaps as an extension of his sexual ambiguity—Styles has explicitly said in interviews that he's not gay or bisexual but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating and digging deep into every song and lyric—the British musician has adopted a rather fluid approach to fashion.
You could say that it's part Mick Jagger, part Freddie Mercury. Styles has the same affinity for ruffles, flounces and pussy bows as Jagger (and in some instances, he even, quite literally, moves like Jagger) with the added pizzaz and razzle-dazzle that Mercury's known for.
Then there's the seemingly perfect pairing with Gucci, a fashion house that has afforded Styles with an avenue to explore his sartorial range. Since becoming the face of the house's autumn/winter 2018 men's tailoring campaign, he's created a bond with creative director Alessandro Michele. Cue the slate of Gucci suits that Styles has been performing in since then, each flamboyant in their own way. And at this year's Gucci-powered Met Gala, Styles was the co-chair alongside Michele and even rocked up together to the pink carpet; he wore a sheer, ruffled Gucci ensemble.
But despite the showy sense of fashion, Styles isn't one to make too many public appearances. With a new album, Fine Line (another thing to speculate about perhaps?), coming out soon, we're sure to be treated to more gender-bending fashion as evident in his recent stint on Saturday Night Live.
Styles' fashion sense is obviously not everyone's cup of tea. Nor is he the be-all and end-all of contemporary style. But at a time where accepting a spectrum of individuality is becoming more prevalent, and of course, reinterpreting what being a man is all about, Styles is reflective of the times that we're in. At the same time, there's a sense of tasteful elegance in what he wears too—outlandish at times but always nothing too provocative for the general public to get into.