Personal Styles: How Harry's Look Became His Brand
When Harry Styles announced that he would be releasing his first solo album, fans everywhere collectively freaked out. The British boy bander had been relatively off the radar since the band announced its hiatus. His presence was sorely missed in public, but especially on red carpets. Although many of Harry's sartorial choices in the past had to be cohesive with the rest of his bandmates', he always made a point to subtly stand out. Whether that was through a ruffled shirt or a printed suit, Harry Styles was never one to blend into the crowd. Through this connection to clothing, Harry has now been able to push himself past teenage heartthrob into serious artist territory - and the fashion world is taking a closer look.
He Never Goes Out of Style
There's something different about Harry Styles' ascent to fashion fame. While he hasn't totally forgone the route of many former boy band stars turned solo artists, he has managed to work outside of the box with his personal style yet maintain commercial appeal. It's not every star that can pull off a suit embroidered with dragons. As James Corden pointed out in a recent "Carpool Karaoke", Harry can pull off anything - and that's part of what makes him the star that he is.
The genius part of Harry Styles' style (ha!) is that it has become not just a part of his brand, but the brand itself. While many celebrities simply search for any suit to wear to an event, it is expected that Harry will wear something that shows his sense of style. Although men's fashion trends tend to stay safe, Harry's choices continue to lean toward the editorial side of fashion. You won't see him on a red carpet in a classic plain tuxedo anytime soon.
New Sound, New Clothes
When it comes to the music industry, fashion plays a particularly important role. Because of this, it makes sense that Harry chose this moment to put his penchant for clothing on display. As he has pivoted in his musical style, he has also defined his personal style. His new self-titled album is rock-influenced. Ballads like "Sign of the Times" and "Kiwi" mix with softer tunes like "Sweet Creature". Interestingly, his new sound is mimicked almost exactly in his clothing choices.
Harry is known for having an affinity for vintage pieces. He wears Gucci often, prompting my favorite fashion site to launch a hashtag for him to get a campaign with the brand (#Harry4Gucci). Other favorites include Calvin Klein, Charles Jeffrey and Edward Sexton. Harry Styles has individualized himself and drawn comparisons to fashion icons Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Essentially, by dressing in clothing reminiscent of rock legends, he is inserting himself into the conversation. Will he live up to the legacy of his sartorial role models? Only time will tell.
Harry Styles is not the only artist who has had this transformation. Think back to Justin Timberlake's transition into a solo phenomenon. The *NSYNC member ditched the bleached curls and 90's streetwear for a short crop and swanky suits. Suddenly, Timberlake was a pop/R&B superstar instead of a former boy bander. Miley Cyrus pulled off the same feat, moving from country sweetheart to wild child to her most recent "chill" vibe. Miley has switched her look with every phase of her music so far. Madonna, Taylor Swift and even Michael Jackson have made the same move.
So, how will this assertion of fashion sense affect Harry Styles?
First, as mentioned above, it will help him brand himself as a rock-inspired artist instead of a pop star. By emulating the vintage style of 70's and 80's artists, Harry conveys the message that his music is reminiscent of that time. Through his clothing, he is telling his fans that he has grown up and that his music has too.
Secondly, it will help him to become accepted by the fashion industry. It isn't too often that a male celebrity gives Vogue or InStyle something to talk about, and Harry Styles is doing just that. Look for him in upcoming street style features, and in the front rows at the Spring 2018 shows. Although he has already covered magazines like Rolling Stone and Another Man, he'll soon front Vogue. I have a feeling. You'll also catch him in campaigns for major fashion houses. I'm still crossing my fingers for Gucci!
Third, it gives him more draw as an actor. His first film, Dunkirk, will premiere in July 2017. If Harry continues to draw press from his red carpet appearances, he'll only book more gigs. Every filmmaker is looking for a big name to put butts in seats and Harry could be the answer to their prayers. Think of the press tour wardrobe opportunities!
Finally, having a signature look cements Harry Styles as his own celebrity. Every time that he steps out in the latest Gucci or Valentino, he makes an impact on his image. With every outfit, he pulls further away from his One Direction past and into a rockstar Styles future. That's a future I want to be a part of.
We've all heard it before: "What you're wearing makes a statement before you introduce yourself." This is just as true for musical artists and other celebrities. After all, what says "I'm Harry Styles" more than a printed suit and a pink pussy bow blouse?