It was inevitable – a post on One Direction’s fashion sense. It was beckoning selection from its autotuned box, ever since the chart-topping boyband stepped onto the X Factor stage. In truth, these guys have developed a sensibility of style which is beyond their years, but they are still struggling to be accepted as serious fashion players – forever trapped by the initial preconception that this Cowell created five-piece are the latest addition to a regurgitated popscene. While this may, or may not be true (depending on who you’re talking to), I’m going to free One Direction from the image established by talent show clichés. Enter Harry Styles.
Okay, let’s clear a few things up. Yes, Harry Styles is in a boyband. An X Factor boyband at that, and while One Direction are taking the world by storm, their style credentials will always be hindered by their origins. Comments such as ‘commercialised, highly stylised and lacking in originality’ will be used to describe their whole existence as a band – from their music right down to their fashion sense. However, if we can overcome the snobbery of the fashion industry and leave our cynicism in a box, to be untouched until we’re middle-aged, then we might be able to consider the band in terms of their style evolution – from hi-top and chino wearing lads next door, to snappy and maturely dressed young men.
With a little help from stylist extraordinaire Caroline Watson, these boys have upgraded their style tenfold, turning to the likes of Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana instead of donning the latest Adidas sweatpants. While each member still retains elements of their initial look, with Louis sticking to his striped tees and Zayn still championing vintage trainers, it is arguably Harry – the lead singer (and possible love child of Mick Jagger?) who is the band’s most stylish member. Harry always had the best apparel in the band, even from their early days – he was in All Saints scoop necks and quirky printed t-shirts when the others still thought it was cool to flick your collar up.
However, since the band hit the big time – breaking America and scooping awards, left, right and centre, Harry has taken to establishing himself as the band’s foremost fashion impresario. Harry’s stylish friends have been gradually introducing him to the trendy Primrose Hill crew and along with front-row fashion seats and innumerable amounts of designers tripping over their well-heeled shoes to dress him; Harry has ensured that he is considered the band’s best dressed singer.
Harry’s look is very basic, but that is why it works so well. The slim-fit jeans, the scoop neck t-shirt, the all-important blazer and a pair of Converse or desert boots, depending on the occasion. When he’s relaxing, he’ll don aviators, jeans and a rock-print t-shirt in a look that seems so obviously commonplace, but is actually very distinctive to Styles himself. His penchant for bow-ties and handkerchiefs is not nearly as commented on as his penchant for older ladies, but it is as equally impressive as picking up Caroline Flack. He is an 18-year-old, dressing with the sensibility of a guy ten years older, but with the cutting-edge touch that makes it the perfect combination of classic tailoring and youthful individuality.
The “One Direction Look” will probably always be pigeon-holed into the stagnant, repetitive regalia of stone coloured chinos, a Topman tee and Toms, and while that look will certainly appear from time to time (ahem, Louis Tomlinson), the overall get
up of the band has been transformed from its days in the X Factor styling room. Harry, the youngest member of the band has a maturity beyond his years and it reflects in his style. He is probably the member who refuses to wear what the stylist gives him, favouring his own instincts over those of industry experts. He is the guy wearing an Alexander McQueen tuxedo with white Converse and most likely it’s out of his own volition.
Fashion loves a rebel and it’s quickly beginning to recognise its new, albeit unexpected gang leader.