There are many ways for stans (particularly obsessive fans of a celebrity) to express fondness for their favorite stars, from streaming their music and watching their shows to interacting with their social media accounts and buying their official merchandise. For some stans, like those of Harry Styles and Matthew Gray Gubler, this fondness manifests itself in their style.
After One Direction broke up in 2015, Styles was afforded far more freedom to experiment with fashion. He has since become somewhat of a fashion icon and is known for defying gender roles through his clothing. In fact, the androgynous nature of his style allows it to appeal across genders, despite his largely female fanbase.
From the outfits he sports to the accessories and nail polish colors he pairs them with, fans are always quick to recreate his most recent look or, at the very least, create looks inspired by Styles. After he was spotted wearing a t-shirt with a lip graphic that reads “Save The Drama For Your Mama” on October 19, for example, fans flocked to various shops and websites like Etsy to find the shirt. Fashion and pop culture TikToker Soleil Golden (@toxicthotsyndrome), said she “immediately ran to eBay and typed it in and they had a bunch of things already that you could buy.”
However, due to financial limitations, fans often recreate items Styles has worn rather than purchase the exact pieces. (Styles is a millionaire, after all.) One example of this is the JW Anderson cardigan Styles’ sported on The Today Show earlier in the year that many fans, due to its hefty price tag, decided to crochet at home, rather than purchase from the designer. In fact, so many fans tried to recreate it that JW Anderson eventually released its crochet pattern to the public.
Golden was amazed at the dedication so many friends and fellow TikTokers showed by taking on the project. “It's not cheap to do that. But that just shows how much love and adoration people have for him because one, they're willing to make it, and two, they're willing to pay for it,” she said.
After the release of Styles’ “Golden” music video on October 26, fans once again flocked to TikTok and other social media platforms to discuss where to buy or how to recreate the beaded necklaces Styles wore in the video.
Similarly, after actor Matthew Gray Gubler was spotted wearing several necklaces from Elita Harkov’s store, fans took to TikTok. Katie Wilke (@wheelsupsluht), whose account centers on Gubler, says that the TikTok hype around the necklaces has made them difficult to grab.
“For three months, I tried every time [Elita Harkov] restocked the gold switchblade necklace, which is one of the ones that Matthew wears the most often. And every time it would be sold out within minutes, which is insane,” said Wilke.
Like fans of Styles, Gubler’s fans not only buy items the actor has worn, but also take general style inspiration from both him and his character on Criminal Minds, Spencer Reid. Gubler’s style can best be described as that of an overgrown child: Converse sneakers, Disney brand clothing and mismatching socks. Reid’s style features the same shoes, but paired with a more toned-down wardrobe of sweater vests and preppy cardigans.
Wilke, who has been on Criminal Minds TikTok, the side of TikTok that obsesses over all things relating to the show and its cast members, for six months, has seen a style evolution of sorts occur. “In the beginning, people weren't as dedicated to dressing like Spencer Reid, or Matthew, or honestly anyone else in Criminal Minds. But over the past six months, people have really evolved with their style,” said the TikToker.
Golden, for instance, has noticed a huge difference in her style since quarantine began and she became a fan of Gubler and a bigger fan of Styles. “I developed an obsession with the sort of dark academia aesthetic — that whole Spencer Reid sweater vest, glasses, kind of business vibe. And so I started doing a lot more thrifting in the men's section in particular. And with that, I also noticed that I was picking up on other influences, for example, from Harry. He wears a lot of trousers and sweater vests and button ups underneath.”
Golden said that she never envisioned herself in a pair of corduroys before she saw Harry wearing them, but they have since become a staple in her closet. And while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, to Golden, the fashion inspiration she takes from her favorite celebrities means much more. Seeing Styles and Gubler be so unapologetically themselves empowers her and other stans to do the same. She said that “gives people that look up to them, like their fans, a new confidence.”