An avid fan of Saint Laurent and Gucci who never met a tropical print button-down or crème blouse he didn’t want to make tender love to, Harry Styles has become something of an unlikely fashion golden boy in mainstream lifestyle and fashion publications of late. Much of the media surrounding his ascent to this position takes the form of evolutionary stories: Glamour’s title was “Harry Styles' style: From 1D to dreamy” while W went with the bigger mouthful “How Harry Styles Transformed His Wardrobe From Average Teenager to Risk-Taking Solo Artist And Leading Man.” Plenty have remarked on his fashion influences, including one MTV.com article that posited Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Keith Richards, and then several different incarnations of Mick Jagger as his influences.
All of these stories are false. The first set because Harry Styles was never some sloppily clad goober from Mincepie-Upon-Sandwich in the north. He even won the British Style Award in 2013. The second set of stories are false because there has been no greater influence on Harry Styles’ fashion choices than yours truly. Me. Alana Massey, little more than a humble farmer, an eternal Directioner, and the bereaved mother of countless looks snatched away by Harry Styles to claim as his own (with occasional thanks to Mick for blouses and things).
The story begins long ago, in 2008, before Harry Styles was even born. I bought a high-collared lace shirt that was very Salem Chic during a fall road trip stop at a thrift store in South Dakota. I have worn the thing threadbare but keep it around as a keepsake worn on special occasions worth photographing like blood oaths under full moons. I consider the occasion worthy when Harry Styles appeared wearing a strikingly similar shirt in Rolling Stone in the year of our Lord 2017. Behold, Exhibit A:
I gazed upon our graven images and felt a twinge of familiarity, and not just because we share many traits in common. Strong jaw bones, button noses, charisma that has won us millions of fans all over the planet Earth and even in the galaxies beyond, yes, but something more. I had a sense that this was not the first time Harry coincidentally wore the same garments as me. I dug further for answers.
The extensive photo shoot for Styles’ Another Man cover story in fall 2016 was the last good thing to befall this rotting, precious orb called Earth before the apocalyptic mass disorientation and the end of truth arrived. But in my first read through the issue, I felt that sense of familiarity in my gut and loins, a pain and pleasure I could not place. But rereading the issue, it is clear that my ailment was at the grim realization that my sartorial ethos had been ripped from beneath me, uncredited, and taken to Australia to be reconfigured for Styles. Here is a first offense:
When my photo on the left was taken, I was doing as I often do: puttering around the house pretending to be a sex-starved French noblewoman wearing the tapestry coat my mother and sister made for me in 2005 when I was an undergraduate at NYU and making all my sexual roleplays set at the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Harry Styles was, if my math is correct (it always is), in his second trimester of fetal gestation in 2005. How he knew that I’ve been traipsing about in this medieval wall hanging masquerading as clothes all these years, I know not. I don’t know how on God’s green earth he saw that I paired it with an entirely reasonable pair of Isabel Marant corduroys but ultimately chose to steal the striped pants from a hapless member of an impoverished barber shop quartet to pair with his. I would ask Mr. Styles himself, but as his thieving actions indicate, he evidently feels he answers to no one.
You might have noticed that my nipples nearly made a cameo in the last image. This will be a sub-theme in this expose. Log off if you’re afraid. As those who follow his ascent to fashion icon, it is clear that Harry Styles has never met a blouse he didn’t want to tear the top button from and then drape easily around his figure, letting the silks and chiffons contribute to the general ease of his renowned swagger. I have no quarrel with this predilection. But blatantly taking a sheer-body-with-rose-appliques-print that our Lord God clearly intended to exist as a slutty bodysuit and slapping it on a blouse is an affront to the Created Order. To say nothing of how defanged a nipple slip is on a man instead of on a courageous, histrionic lady such as myself.
YSL stands for Yves Saint Laurent (the design house behind my pictured jacket) but it could also stand for, “YOU’RE SO LAZY!” which is what I would scream at Harry Styles if I ever saw him on the streets sporting yet another one of my looks, as he did in the navy outerwear documented here.
Trench coats are notoriously British garments so you might think Styles would have me beat in this department. You’d be as wrong as the way the British pronounce “vitamin” though! I gathered my pennies and sold a redundant tooth to buy this forest green one at Zara in the fall of 2013 only to live to see that Styles debuted one from Burberry in February of 2014, his still nouveau-riche airs seeping from every pore as he gallivanted his superiorly crafted but no less stolen statement coat at Fashion Week.
Riddle me this: who seems more naturally inclined to make a Slavic-inspired military jacket their defining garment: a baritone baker from Redditch named Harry residing between London and Los Angeles or a witch-impersonating auteur named Alana who lives on a farmhouse in the forest? Honestly, it is a toss up. But the facts are the facts: I ordered this Vilshenko cape in February of 2016 and Harry wore his in…2014. Fortunately for the case I am building, time is a construct that does not actually exist. Carrying on.
It is a fact well-known that Harry Styles began his life not as a boy but as a jubilant Christmas carol who got enchanted by one of Saint Nick’s elves, making him a sentient creature instead of a song of good tidings of comfort and joy. For that reason, I have forgiven this case of attempted fashion forgery when he wore a red cotton sweatshirt emblazoned with a Christmas tree decal in an attempt to mimic the style of my Christmas sweater naturally adorned with a message from Kid Rock (Senator from Scottsdale) about chillin’ the most, even at Christmastide.
As much as tabloids want you to think he’s a young man playing the field, the more boring but sweet reality is that Harry Styles has been in a loving, committed relationship with a crème blouse missing its top button for several years now. What I fear, as evidenced by these photographs, is that Styles is in the market for a crème blouse upgrade and he’s eyeing mine as a possible replacement. Men are savages.
On the left: Alana Massey in January, 2015 sporting a color block sweater from American Apparel, smirking because I have made peace with most of my demons and wearing bright colors makes me feel mischievous.
On the right: Harry Styles some time in the summer of 2016 sporting a color block sweater for his Another Man cover story, gazing into the void because he has nothing to wear if he doesn’t rip it directly off of my Instagram evidently.
My apologies, this photo doesn’t belong in this collection: it was taken several years in the future, when worldwide communism has taken hold at last. All comrades are issued brown sweaters (ribbed for her pleasure, plain for his) to be worn in the harvest months that we once called “fall”, a word now illegal because this society is going nowhere but up: is the meaning made clear?
Returning to the allegations here present and the forensics before us. Harry Styles (he’s on the right) parted ways with his beloved tresses on or around the 6th of May in 2016 and emerged soon after in this fan photo after likely loitering in a taco shop or something. He sports a bold blue pattern inspired by both earth and whimsy, not too far out of the ordinary for the tropical shirt fetishist and once-in-a-generation talent. Then there’s me on the left, wearing the devil out my Romance Was Born Devotion Tie Dress that I pre-ordered on Moda Operandi on March 14th of that year. I know the date because I just looked at the receipt and wept gently at how many gold coins I surrendered to make it mine, only to realize when it was too late that it was a loud statement dress with EYES in the pattern. I already clearly have surveillance goons hired by Harry Styles watching my every online purchase, another set of eyes on me was decadent in its cruelty.
Alright, ALRIGHT! Nothing to see here except two suspicious looking brunettes wearing tropical floral blouses with remarkably similar palettes characterizing the printed flora. On most occasions, both of us can control our hair and forehead shine better than this photo suggests, but the bad news about the Arctic that day had us fretting and sweating. I don’t have a timeline proving myself the initiator on this style, which proves little more than how quick a study young Styles is in disappearing into new identities he covets like the Terminators or Leo’s rapscallion teen fraud in Catch Me If You Can. Anyway, go on, there’s some fantastically big reaches ahead! Come along, and reach with me!
Though every claim I have made up to now is provable using the scientific method in any number of double blind studies, we must shift gears a moment so that I may implore you to trust me. Those shots of two backs are indeed, myself and Harry Styles. My otherworldly butt and the hint of my pouty, inviting mouth are a tip-off that I am present in this photo taken April 15, 2016, as evidenced by this Instagram of it on my account. But Harry, since you can’t see his chiseled yet cherubim face, just looks like the back of a film studies grad student in a bootleg beige rainbow jacket in this photo taken May 12, 2017, over a full year after mine. My bomber jacket by Kenneth Anger says LUCIFER with a rainbow coming out of it because I want to open mouth kiss with The Prince Of Darkness and am a little bit gay, usually just after it rains. His doesn’t say anything and is beige, two elements that are obviously a result of cowardice rather than mere differences in taste! What are you, scared of he that reigns over the pit of fire? Satan? The Fallen One? We have two options, Styles: serve in Heaven or reign in Hell. Your jacket says you just want to sit in the beige dirt between the two true kingdoms. You’re a rock star, sir, and this is uncouth.
Millennial pink! I can’t take credit for its existence (though I am the millennial who ultimately put the nail in the coffin of cloth napkins and home ownership: these are my confessions). Two days prior to putting on the abomination of a bomber jacket, Styles wowed the crowd at the Today show by donning a bespoke millennial pink suit by famed British tailor Edward Sexton. Harry looked sharp, he sounded great, and he feigned ignorance about how overwhelming my influence was on him. The millennial pink choice made me wonder: how is it that this occasionally gender-fluid fashion experimenter and icon-to-be, Harry Styles of all people, had yet to dapple in millennial pink until that day in May? Perhaps it was because the woman he won’t put on so much as a sock without checking her style (me) had yet to give he blessing to the playful hue. That is until I spied an Alexander Wang cutout dress on consignment online and ordered in March 28. Fast forward to May 10: Harry emerges boisterously in his one-of-a-kind candy-hued party suit, setting in motion a series of gushing headlines about his boundary-pushing style choices. Fast forward a fortnight or two, dead of night in my woodland abode: I find Edward Sexton’s website where, among many fun new facts about tailoring, I learn that a suit from him takes 6-8 weeks from initial consultation to fitting. For those not as good at math as me: that is just a hair over six weeks from when I jumped on the millennial pink bandwagon to when his suit made its television debut. Do with these facts what you will, dear readers.
This blistering exposé is nowhere near complete but I can tell when I’ve exacerbated a point, so I close soon with just the examples of his conquests of my red garments. But this sliver multiplies at every rung on the rainbow, into every crevice of my dresser and corner of my closet. It may at first seem like the two outfits below are slightly dissimilar, what with one being a robe from the Burlington Coat Factory lingerie and pajama clearance section and the other being a rather spiffy tailored suit from Gucci. Whose is whose, I’ll never tell. I appreciate the tailored reimagining of my piece, informally labeled The Robe Of The Scornful Ex-Wife Red With The Blood Of Her Enemies, Overgrown With The Fruits Of Her Labor. It was cute! You know, like when Fraulein Maria made summer clothes for the the von Trapp children with the festering drapes she found in that Nazi’s house. His look made a statement, my look made me an icon.
Though my nudes are legend the world over, they are less iconic for their lack of distribution as other images of me in signature looks. So you can imagine my alarm when this image surfaced of Styles clearly attempting not only to replicate my casual red plaid farmer’s daughter vibes, but also her inclination to be kind of a slutty exhibitionist with her phone. You cannot simply mimic a slut’s motions and be imbued with her lusty joie de vivre. You must nurture the slut underneath the plaid first, figure out what kind of slut it is and how slutting is going to work on their terms. Only then should nipple flashes followed by camera flashes ensue.
I know as an American in our present political catastrophe, making fun of another country’s defeats centuries ago is ill-advised but I am also an American and decorum and perspective have long been written out of my DNA. Because for real, jokes about THE REDCOATS and THE LOBSTERBACKS write themselves when faced with the bountiful evidence that Styles is searching high and low for the perfect red coat. But in the tradition of Bono of U2, still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Behold the four quadrant collage below.
It is evident by the plushness of the first coat he features in that he seeks a soft texture but shape is clearly a must in the second, and of course, the third shows that he’s Harry Styles, he’s gotta have a little flare. But what he wants he shall never have, because it is clearly the cashmere Oscar de la Renta jacket I am wearing in the same line of photos that I paid less for than a weakly constructed cardigan on sale at J. Crew one year because the only thing I can find more easily than Harry Styles stealing my looks is a fresh fashion deal. Anyway, this cashmere jacket has the warmth of its material, strong construction that gives it shape without stiffness, and a subtle but intricate embroidered edge so that I don’t look like I’m going to join one of the extreme types of drum team.
Reader, I grow tired. There are too many more instances to recount and so I have made you this gallery of several to indicate the extent of his forged fashions:
So, what’s to be done? As tempted as I have been to make my way into his spaces to declare, “Harry Styles: j’accuse!” in the mournful, half-mad cry of a first wife scorned too deep and too long, I refrain. Some have suggested cease and desist orders, lawsuits, and hiring the Bling Ring to go to his home on a reconnaissance mission. But what justice is there in all that, pray tell?
The most constructive rerouting of these circumstances is simple: use it to destroy fascism, silly! Harry’s spies are surely patrolling my every move to bring him back his next bag of sartorial loot. I’ll start by wearing hollow feminist slogans that won’t set off alarm bells, transition to Black Lives Matter messaged garments by the end of next week, and by the start of the Christmas season, we’ll have Harry Styles clad head to toe in antifa signifiers. He’d look darling in a balaclava, surely. The girl fans, oh yes these blessed girls will have taken their cues from this beloved man: they will have activated, mobilized, and begun to divide the process of doxing every bigoted American and rendering them unemployable and the process of symbolically replacing high-ranking officials with portly cats wearing faux ermine cloaks and jaunty crowns. We will do the sexy work of dismantling the whole rotten core of capitalism with cats and giddy teen girls as our guiding lights. And on the day the state-issued tan sweaters arrive, Harry Styles and I will make brief eye contact with each other across the collectively owned vegetable garden and we’ll smile in the comforting thought that we will never again have to wonder if what we are wearing is cool.