The 26-year-old singer chose to model a Gucci dress for the photoshoot and he discussed his bold choice with the magazine, saying that he doesn’t feel confined to strict gender norms when it comes to fashion and life.
“I like playing dress-up in general,” Styles explained.
The former One Direction member said he sees fashion as something “to have fun with and experiment with and play with” and rejected the idea that certain clothes should only exist for men or women. For Styles, it’s all about finding “something that you feel amazing in.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
While some trolls criticized Styles’ style (unfortunate nature of the internet), the overall response online was overwhelmingly positive, with thousands expressing their admiration for the British singer’s willingness to wear what he wants rather than conforming to what’s considered ‘acceptable.’
harry styles wearing a dress makes me the happiest person in the world i wish men were more comfortable with their feminine side i think it’s so sexy pic.twitter.com/8Y6nDdYlLs
— d lyn (@dlitttled) November 13, 2020
“I think we can all agree that harry styles is the only man,” read one tweet that received more than 6,000 likes.
The way the internet is reacting to Harry Styles in a gown really tells you that confining to heteronormative gender stereotypes does NOT make you more attractive than someone who doesn’t so let’s abolish them altogether & everyone can dress how the fuck they want !!!
— Bella (@bell_lati) November 13, 2020
I am such a huge fan of Harry Styles acting and music career. As a bi-female it is good to see gender and dress don’t need to be just one thing. Fabulous pictures. Maybe Billy Porter next please.
— Ramos Fizzy (@cynopterus_s) November 13, 2020
thinking abt how little boys r gonna see harry styles on the cover of vogue and are gonna go “mum he’s wearing a dress can I wear one too” & they’re going to look up to him who said fuck gender stereotypes & fuck toxic masculinity and theyre going to feel safe& be themselves🥺
— G🌻 (@goldenangelwt) November 13, 2020
“Harry Styles is walking the path that was paved before him by Bowie, Elton, Freddie, Prince and more,” tweeted @finelinetimmy. “He is breaking down barriers of toxic masculinity for OUR generation much like those before him did. Gender knows no boundaries. I am SO PROUD to be a fan of his.”
Styles’ sister Gemma also appeared in the photoshoot and shared some sibling love online, tweeting to her brother that she was “so proud of who you are.”
— Gemma Styles (@GemmaAnneStyles) November 13, 2020
The interview with Styles did not only feature him talking about fashion, as he also discussed relationships, his family and how he has no regrets about his time with One Direction.
“I think the typical thing is to come out of a band like that and almost feel like you have to apologize for being in it,” says Styles. “But I loved my time in it. It was all new to me, and I was trying to learn as much as I could.”
The iconic boy band took a hiatus in 2015 and all five have since released their own solo projects, including Styles. Styles said that it was difficult to find his own voice after One Direction and admitted that he did not feel totally comfortable expressing his full self until Fine Line, his second album that was released at the end of 2019.
“I was very much finding out what my sound was as a solo artist,” Styles said. “I can see all the places where it almost felt like I was bowling with the bumpers up. I think with the second album I let go of the fear of getting it wrong and…it was really joyous and really free.”
Styles’ Vogue cover seems to show that he has continued to let go of his fear and really explore his joy and freedom. And it’s clear that people are fully on board for Styles’ growth as an artist and a human.
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