Updated: Dec 18, 2020
By Natasha Santana
From 2010 to 2020, in the span of 10 years, a single man has continued the legacy of normalizing feminine men. Now of course he has not been the only one to do so. Thanks to men like Prince, David Bowie, and Freddie Mercury, we have seen the vicious cycle of toxic masculinity be thrown out the window. In such a hectic era for fashion, social media, and social norms, our generation has one icon that has inspired people all over the world. Enter the kindness advocate, Harry Edward Styles.
Styles started his journey on the X-factor as a solo audition but later on was added to one of the most well known British boy bands in history: One Direction. Becoming a heartthrob to many, and singing our cherished heart-break anthems, we watched a man blossom from a teenage curly-haired boy into a rock star.
Nobody expected such an open-minded and goofy kid to have an entire generation of music lovers wrapped around his fingers (literally). I mean, I didn’t expect it at all. Recalling my days in late middle school, how many girls came into school with bandanas around their foreheads, Chelsea boots, and doing the peace sign the way Harry did was astronomical. Between the years of 2014-2016 how Tumblr was a hot spot for entire pages dedicated to what this young man wore. When Polyvore was still a thing, many young boys and girls cultivated their own versions of Styles’ outfits to go according to their own styles. This Harry wave became intense, and it showed girls at a young age that fashion is inclusive. That we can wear certain pieces of clothing and it doesn’t matter if it is more on the masculine side.
Obviously, the first time we saw Harry venture out of the usual 1D black t-shirt, black skinny jeans, and Chelseas was when he wore the iconic floral flare suit to the American Music Awards. This was his long-haired Harry phase when all teenagers fell more in love with what Harry can bring to the table. When he wore this floral suit, the internet did not know what to do, like at all. Little did we know, this would be the first of many bold looks from Harry.
Throughout One direction Harry carried his massive group of supporters alongside the rest of the boys. On the day 1D declared their hiatus (breakup) we saw the demographics for Harry increase drastically. We saw this fan-base grow after the release of his first solo hit ‘Sign of The Times’ where he graciously flies around a pink lit sky. Soon outfits and song covers were infiltrating the internet and once again Harry broke the internet.
When this single came out, we began to see more of Harry’s flamboyant nature through his upcoming appearances in talk-shows, and in his upcoming self-titled album. We began hearing a new person, a new version of someone we had gotten so accustomed to seeing in a certain way. Harry’s self-entitled album was sullen and vulnerable. A vulnerability that began the conversation of who was this young boy who was just on the X-factor.
This young boy who became the petal to the stems of many has brought back the Jagger aesthetic and nobody, when I say nobody, I emphasize that nobody is complaining. For his first solo tour for his debut album, we can answer a part of the question of what can this man do? This man can DRESS. Throughout the tour, wearing either Gucci head-to-toe, or a simple fashionable photoshoot where he challenged masculinity he became the Mick Jagger of our era. The suede suits, sparkly button-ups, or monochrome outfit - we received the complete creative expression from him.
“FINE LINE ERA”
Through Instagram feeds, and viral TikToks we see the daily creations that have vomited all over the internet. When he wore a simple J.W. cardigan on a morning show, the original designer ended up releasing the knitting pattern for fans to replicate the exact sweater he wore. This trend began when a teenage girl created a video showing how she recreated the cardigan from just her pre-existing knowledge of knitting and looking at the pictures. After that, we have seen Etsy shops create the healthy T-shirts worn here, the pearl necklace becoming a staple in so many closets, and the cardigan becoming a Harry Styles fashion classic.
Soon after, his second album, “Fine Line,” came out with the release of “Lights Up”, where we see Harry sandwiched between men and women of all shapes, colors, and sizes...needless to say, the internet braced itself for another online breakdown from the Harries (Harry Styles’ fans). We were again, the growing stem watching the petal of a man become a full-blown sunflower within his own talent and skills.
As he began to showcase more of himself, we saw the fanbase become freer of their own restrictions. In a way, it was this chain reaction of positivity and love throughout the Harry world that exploded online. Starting this generational narrative that began with such icons as Elton John and Prince who paved the way for our current kindness king Harry. This exploration of softer men has started throughout Harry’s luxurious photoshoots of him wearing dresses, heels, and makeup. This is very much not a thing that in the political climate the world is in was previously talked a lot about, but seeing the continuous efforts by these men in the industry has created a comfortable space within this generation.
Harry has created a space the way Prince has, Elton has, and David Bowie has where there is a fluidity between fashion and gender. He’s showed that being who you are is what is the most important, that the most genuine and raw version of yourself is okay. That wearing a bit of makeup is okay, wearing a more “feminine” color is okay, and that this world is not for you to live in but for the world to live for you and be your daily runway. From outfits to hair, and even to his iconic nails; just live happily.
So, treat people with kindness as Harry would say, and never stop shining. Sun salutations!
Written by writer Natasha Santana