An Ode To Harry Styles’ Sweater Style

In February, for a performance on the TODAY show, Harry Styles wore a patchwork cardigan by British brand JW Anderson. Slouchy, oversized, and the embodiment of the type of cottagecore fashion that currently dominates the internet, it looked like the perfect sweater in which to wrap oneself during colder months — while baking an apple crumb pie and improving your knitting loops, naturally. I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Following Styles’ TV appearance, TikTok went into a crocheting frenzy, concocting a DIY version of the almost-$2,000 sweater. The challenge went so viral — currently, #harrystylescardigan has 28.5M views and counting on TikTok — that designer Jonathan Anderson released its official pattern as a thank you to fans for embracing the design with such passion.

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And while the JW Anderson patchwork cardigan will go down in history as one of Styles’ most iconic (or, at least, TikTok’ed) looks, it’s not the only knitwear that Styles has donned to great sartorial acclaim. As ubiquitous as Harry Styles’ pearl necklaces are, his grandpa-approved wool vests are also emblematic of his look — as are the snarky sweaters, with phrases like “Stay Away From Toxic People” and “My Life Is Crap” featured alongside cutesy graphics, that might look ridiculous on anyone who doesn’t have the musician’s ultra-high levels of fashion confidence. And, from the looks of his ‘fits over the last year, Styles’ arsenal of cold-weather essentials is enough to make up an entire knit capsule-collection for his go-to fashion brand, Gucci.

If you were previously unaware of Styles’ status as fall weather fashion king, let me enlighten you: He reigns supreme when it comes to styling sweaters. His scalloped blouse-crewneck sweater combo? Very good — especially when paired with child-like Mary-Janes (!). His printed vest-wide pants look? Unparalleled for its ability to appear somehow both retro and modern. And his graphic sweatshirts paired with pearl necklaces? Enticing to the point of maybe considering spending $700 on an acid green sweater featuring a psychedelic puppy. (Prior to the pandemic, that money may have been better spent to see Styles perform live a few times… or once, right up by the stage.)

Styles has long been a red carpet innovator, redefining what it is considered appropriate for a male celebrity to wear to an award show or a televised appearance by appearing in pearls and sheer blouses with oversized bows and ruffles. Still, there is something unexpected about how often Styles turns to sweaters — the literal opposite of an item you would expect to find in the wardrobe or music video of a pop star of his fashion caliber. (He is not alone: Taylor Swift has also recently entered cardigan territory with Folklore.)

In an attempt to uncover how one Harry Styles turns seemingly ordinary sweaters into fall’s most exciting look, I recently spent some time (the length of which I will not disclose) in an internet rabbit hole of his best sweater getups. Turns out, there is a formula to how he styles his vests and monochromatic knits. Ahead, Styles-approved sweater styling inspiration to borrow (or just swoon over) for fall.

Long-Sleeved Sweater Over Collared Shirt

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Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.
Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage.

The same month as the TODAY show performance, the Fine Line singer wore a brown double-breasted Gucci suit for the 2020 BRIT Awards. Over a delightful poplin-collared white shirt, Styles wore a lilac sweater. While it was all very good, what made the outfit stand out the most was the pair of Mary-Jane-esque shoes reminiscent of what I used to wear to elementary school. A month later, for a SiriusXM Studios visit, Styles recreated the style formula by pairing a navy blue sweater with a shirt with a scalloped collar and bright green pants, again courtesy of Gucci. Whichever look you’re thinking of copying, don’t forget Styles’ signature pearls.

Printed Sweater Vest Over Dress Shirt

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
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Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images.

In November of last year, Styles stepped out in what might be his best sweater look — a sheep-emblazoned Lanvin vest that many compared to the sweater Princess Diana wore to a polo match in the ‘80s. Adding to the retro vibe were his ‘70s-esque flared slacks and a striped collared shirt. Fast-forward to a few months later, and Styles recreated the look while performing with Lizzo during Super Bowl Week, wearing a fitted, cropped striped vest over an oversized, untucked shirt and a pair of similarly wide-legged trousers in brown. In February, for a SiriusXM x Pandora performance, Styles opted for yet another can’t miss vest — this time, in yellow and featuring blue polka dots — over a collared shirt, which he styled once again with navy striped pants.

The lesson? To make a sweater vest appear more in tune with today’s fashion, opt for a style in a bold, quirky print or a modern fit.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.

Graphic Sweater

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Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/Getty Images.

For an appearance on Saturday Night Live in November, Styles — who played Aidy Bryant’s character’s love interest dog — donned matching Dusen Dusen sweaters with a 12-lb chihuahua. IRL, Styles, too, has a preference for graphic sweaters. In December, he wore not one but two cheeky Marc Jacobs sweaters, created in collaboration with artist Magda Archer. For an episode for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Styles wore the lime green intarsia knit pullover with the “Stay Away From Toxic People” signage; while supporting his Fine Line album, Styles appeared in an ironic “My Life Is Crap” sweatshirt. Similarly, in March, for NPR’s Tiny Desk concert, Styles wore a baby blue Gucci mohair sweater featuring a chick. How does he style them? By pairing with equally weather-appropriate corduroys (we love the lavender pair he wore with the MJ sweatshirt) and letting the sweaters take centerstage.

If all these sweater looks are any indication for the looks to come in fall, we’ll be patiently awaiting our knit king’s fashion orders.

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