Harry Styles playing Harry Styles was always going to be a big role. He breaks hearts. He's worshipped by an ever-fervent fandom that grows larger and more frenzied by the year. And he's actually talented (fancy that): Rolling Stone enrolled his second studio album into its Best Of 2019 class, while The New York Times deemed it a "tour-de-force", much like every other single record that is Quite Good.
But the ascendance can't be reasoned by talent alone (as depressing as that sounds). In this day of image building and mirrors and lots and lots of smoke, Styles hasn't leaned on the tropes of leading man material. He doesn't wear Oxford shirts. He doesn't play it safe. In fact, the 26-year-old is doing exactly as he likes. Which, coincidentally, isn't at all like the stuff of his predecessors.
Take his latest outing. Mobbed by photographers and autograph hunters that really should be at work, Styles's outfit isn't a natural fit. There are stripes. These aren't always best-placed alongside big graphic embroidery. Nor are they complimentary to cords (and flares), and beaded necklaces, and a lick of red nail polish. And yet, it does work, because Styles has published his own rulebook by breaking the rules.
Because such things can work in tandem. As designer Dries Van Noten and Gucci have long proved, they work well, especially when combined with the showmanship of Mick Jagger headlining a Vegas residency that never came to fruition. What's more, by dressing to the beat of his own drum, Styles pulls it off. There's no trying to be someone else. There's no real comparisons in this decade, either.
So, the next time your own smorgasbord of menswear pieces raises a brow, shine on, brother. The glowing New York Times review will come soon enough.
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