From floppy-haired One Directioner to suave solo artist with moves like Jagger, Harry’s at the very top of his game
When I tweeted, “What’s your favourite thing about Harry Styles? Serious question. No time-wasters please,” these are the select answers I got from many, many men and women, mostly in their early to late 30s: “He isn’t afraid of a bold print.” “Wears Chelsea boots well.” “Sartorial style plus nonchalant vibes.” “He seems to have genuinely good taste in other people’s music.” “The evolution of his Instagram profile.” “Excellent hair.” “If he were famous in the early noughties he would have been hailed as unashamedly metrosexual.” “The way he wears his shirts with one more button open than is necessary.” “He just seems like a lovely young fella.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Harry Styles’s most redeeming qualities/possessions – his hair, his charm and his boots – all come down to style. From the floppy-haired cutie in One Direction to the tailored suit-wearing, Mick Jagger-lookin’ performer he is today, Styles has honed his style into something very suave, and his metrosexuality would put David Beckham’s sarong from 1998 to shame. There’s something incredibly endearing about Harry Edward Styles and that makes him the ideal VBF and everyone on Twitter’s number-one crush, apparently. If Smash Hits magazine still existed today, Styles would win the Most Fanciable Male at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party every year without fail.
The very ecosystem of a boyband is a fragile yet fascinating thing. They are usually made up of five young men, of which only a couple can actually sing and. The others are used as backing dancers or to fit the mould of men that are fanciable to young girls, gay men and the adults who are still scarred by Take That splitting up in 1996 (a day so difficult that the Samaritans set up a special helpline). Those moulds are The Cute One, The Heartbreaker, The Bad Boy – complete with shaved and/or pierced eyebrow, The Moody One and The Quiet One. Throughout Styles’s One Direction career, he flirted with all of these roles, only losing out to Zayn Malik, who took on the role of The Moody One so beautifully.
When a boyband goes on hiatus, the darkened truth that they will never perform together again lurks, but you distract yourself from the truth by guessing which one will be the Robbie Williams or the Justin Timberlake. One Direction pulled the hiatus line in January 2016, and they’ve since blown the pattern that only one boyband member can obtain solo success because three of them – Styles, Malik and Niall Horan – are doing exceptionally well with this solo lark, and The Other Two are doing okay. Unlike Abz from 5ive or Paul from S Club 7, let’s just say that they won’t be selling their Brit Awards on eBay anytime soon.
Styles’s debut solo single, Sign of the Times, and his self-titled debut album unveiled a more serious pop star, but instead of turning his back on his fanbase of teenage girls, he defends them in the most Instagrammable quote of all time, making him even more fanciable: “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goalposts. Young girls like The Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it?” Swoon.
Styles’s charm has caught the eyes of an even wider audience, so when he comes to Dublin’s 3Arena on Monday night, if you were born before 1990, make sure you step back and give the younger fans the best view because they were there first.