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The styles of Harry Styles

Verena Greb
February 5, 2023

British singer-songwriter Harry Styles, who won the Album of the Year Grammy, is a fashion icon. But he has also been accused of queerbaiting.

Harry Styles wearing a silver outfit, performing at the 2023 Grammy Awards with band.
Stylish: Harry Styles performing at the 2023 Grammy AwardsImage: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Photo/picture alliance

Harry Styles, 29, is extremely successful. On Sunday, the British singer-songwriter won two Grammy awards — best album of the year and best pop vocal album — for "Harry's House."

With three singles from the 2022 "Harry's House" and a fourth song, he is the first British solo artist to have four top 10 hits in the US charts, a feat last accomplished by The Beatles in 1964, according to German magazine Musikexpress .

The former One Direction band member is also known for his eye-catching outfits. He doesn't shy away from the occasional feather boa, glittery belt or shiny pink pants on stage either.

Harry Styles wearing a glittery colorful trousers.
Styles arriviving at the 2023 Grammy AwardsImage: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photo/picture alliance

A gender-fluid style

Still, Harry Styles, known for his gender-fluid outfits, has been accused by some critics of queerbaiting — when one benefits from appearing as queer without openly claiming an LGBTQ identity. Styles insists that his sexual orientation is nobody's business.

He is not the first male pop superstar to wear bright colors, feathers, rhinestones and painted nails;  Elton John, Marc Bolan, David Bowie and Mick Jagger are also music icons who popularized the style.

On his Instagram account, Styles has posted photos of himself in colorful pearl necklaces, tight-fitting retro underwear, a black feather coat and in a pin-up pose on a motorcycle.

First man on US Vogue cover

Harry Styles was the first man to appear on the cover of Vogue's US edition in its nearly 130-year history. He wore an elegant light gray Gucci dress, with a black jacket. Between his fingers, which are adorned with rings bearing his initials "S" and "H," he held a baby blue balloon that could also be bubble gum.

"When you take away 'There's clothes for men and there's clothes for women,' once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I'll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women's clothes thinking they're amazing. It's like anything — anytime you're putting barriers up in your own life, you're just limiting yourself," he told Vogue.

Vogue Cover showing Hary Styles
Styles was the first man to grace the cover of VogueImage: Vogue

A controversial fashion campaign

Harry Styles is friends with Gucci's former creative director Alessandro Michele. Just before Michele left Gucci in November 2022, they presented a collection entitled "Gucci HA HA HA."

The timing was not great. Gucci collaborated with the Balenciaga luxury fashion brand, which faced an extremely unfortunate advertising campaign at almost the same time "Gucci HA HA HA" launched — ads showing children with teddy bears in bondage gear. The Balenciaga campaign sparked disgust and outrage worldwide. And Harry Styles got caught up in the controversy when he presented himself on Instagram wearing Gucci.

From Louis Vuitton to Yves Saint Laurent, designer labels are Harry Styles' passion. Daring cuts, a wild mix of patterns, frills, glitter and a feather boa, orange or pink, queer or not — Harry Styles' style certainly muddies the boundaries between male and female fashion.

This article was originally written in German.

Update: This piece, written ahead of the Grammy Awards, was updated on February 6 to reflect Harry Styles' Grammy wins.