Style evolution: One Direction
By Sarah Kershaw, 29 August 2015
With this weekend’s news that everyone’s favourite well-dressed boy band may be no more after their ‘hiatus’ next year (devo’d) and the new series of The X Factor on the horizon, it seems a good time to take stock of the ITV behemoth’s most successful act’s fashion files. From rumple-haired boys to designer-clad men, they’ve tried most of the trends out there to find their stylish sweet spot – here’s the style history of 1D, 2010-2015.
Bounding into The X Factor 2010 as five separate wannabe singers, no one (except maybe the £££ signs in Simon Cowell’s eyes) could have known that One Direction would become quite so universally famous. Maybe that was because their early outfits, pre stylists or live show makeovers, were a little lacklustre, in neutral, sludgy tones. But, even then, the lads gave away a few early clues to their future style icon statuses, with Harry already working his trademark skinny scarf and Zayn going for a widened neckline.
Once launched onto the UK music scene, the boys had obviously acquired a branding team by 2011, who seemed to like dressing them in matching outfits like overgrown quintuplets. The matching chinos, Niall’s sloppy hoodie and Louis’ curious penchant for braces were all fashion misfires – and you can see how happy Zayn (even then, the best dressed) looks about it.
The summer of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee brought about a sort of throwback Britishness in the boys, who suddenly looked like they spent their weekends playing croquet on the lawns of tumbledown country houses in the 20s. The matching trousers are still there, but this time they’re paler, while Louis braces have gone all nautical and Harry looks like he practically lives at Henley regatta. However, signature hairstyles and Zayn’s blue-steel stare have started to become regular style fixtures.
With the release of a second album and a sell out 100-date tour, 2013 was the year the boys were really cemented as more than a flash-in-the-pan hit. Keeping step, their look also improved dramatically and they seemed to grow up overnight. This monochrome red carpet vibe really works and Zayn’s daring ribbon tie (there’s that smoulder again), and Harry’s patterned shirt, air tie and lapel pin are particularly good.
Last year, 1D seemed to break away from whichever stylist liked dressing them the same and started branching out on their own – with varied results. Louis’ jacket here is a bit too on the nose on for an erstwhile wannabe footballer, but by now he’s generally dressing well in a uniform of skinnies and great tees. Harry’s nailed his 70s pseudo-Mick Jagger look, while Niall’s wearable everyman staples are consistently stylish. However, maybe dressing differently was a catalyst for the fivesome’s demise and the cracks started to appear – even Zayn’s excellent knitwear, boots and facial fuzz here weren’t enough to keep him happy.
And there it is, he’s gone – our most consistently stylish, fashion forward and pouty Directioner. And now it remains to be seen what will happen to the rest of 1D, both in their careers and wardrobes. But with Louis’ laddy styles, Liam’s fondness for headwear, Niall’s love of a short-sleeved shirt and Harry’s increasingly retro choices continuing to inspire, we’ve a feeling nobody can drag them down for long…