Curious what Harry Styles’ tattoos mean? We journey through his extensive ink work and explain the stories behind each of them.
Harry Styles is an English singer who started his career on the X-factor, a popular TV show in the UK.
He entered the competition as a solo singer, but the judges instead decided to use him and others to form a band.
They created One Direction with Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne.
Although they didn’t win the show, the group became popular worldwide and after widespread success, the band eventually split.
Harry is a huge body art fan, starting his ink journey at the age of 18.
Some fans are so obsessed with his tattoos, they purchase hoodies and t-shirts featuring his ink work.
So, let’s find out the stories behind those popular Harry Styles tattoos!
Two Swallows Tattoo
Tattoo: Out of all of the Harry Styles tattoos this is the most famous, the two swallows.
Interpretation: Inked in 2012 in LA, these Harry Styles bird tattoos represent traveling. In an interview with US Weekly he said:
“I like that kind of style of tattoos, like the old sailor kind of tattoos. They symbolize traveling and we travel a lot!”
Skeleton in a Suit Tattoo
Tattoo: A skeleton in a suit can be seen on his upper left arm.
Interpretation: In 2013, just before Halloween, Harry Styles began sporting this tattoo of a skeleton in a suit. It was first spotted by fans on his tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Tattoo: Next to his left elbow is an image of a rose.
Interpretation: For this ink Harry Styles ghosted from his friend and long-term tattooist Freddy Negrete.
Roses are a symbol of love and life, which lead many fans to believe this could be a symbol relating to ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift.
Recommended: Don’t miss our Angelina Jolie tattoo guide next.
Tattoo: His left upper arm features a handshake.
Interpretation: It is believed two hands shaking represent equality. It was inked on January 21st 2013 and shortly after people discovered the meaning behind the ink, rumors began circulating about his sexuality.
Tattoo: A half-naked mermaid sits on his left forearm.
Interpretation: The Harry Styles mermaid tattoo was inked in 2014. When asked by The Today Show for the meaning, he replied, “because I am a mermaid”. It was inked by Liam Sparkes from Shangri La Tattoo Shop in the UK.
Tattoo: An Eagle sits on his right forearm.
Interpretation: This eagle represents the logo of the rock band Eagles. Harry is a huge fan and once took Kendall Jenner to their concert in 2014 whilst they were briefly dating.
Recommended: Curious about Conor Macgregor’s tattoo history?
Three Nails Tattoo
Tattoo: Three nails sit on his bicep.
Interpretation: This tattoo appeared in 2013 with zero explanation. Many fans have tried to understand what it could mean but so far… nothing.
Coat Hanger Tattoo
Tattoo: A coat hanger is featured on near his left arm pit.
Interpretation: With zero explanation offered on this tattoo, it only led to further speculation over Harry’s sexuality, as many feel it represents being ‘in the closet’. The coat hanger often symbolizes pro-choice.
Tattoo: A bold star sits on his inner left arm.
Interpretation: This was Harry’s first tattoo, inked on his 18th birthday. It rests near the three nails and the coat hanger.
Zayn Malik, Harry’s hairstylist, and his friend Lou Teasdale also have the same tattoo, so it could stand for their friendship.
Green Bay Packers Logo Tattoo
Tattoo: Above his elbow on the inside of his arm is the Green Bay Packer’s logo.
Interpretation: Harry Styles is a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, he even brought out their flag on stage whilst performing in Milwaukee in 2015.
He did a bet with his friend that if the Green Bay Packer’s won, he would get the logo inked. Before the game Harry got the logo and was certain his team would win… but they didn’t!
Tattoo: This small inking sits below his thumb on his left hand.
Interpretation: This Harry Styles hand tattoo is his only one and is noticeably smaller than the rest. The cross is symbolic of one’s faith. Many say the tattoo closely resembles Justin Bieber’s cross.
Tattoo: His left wrist shows off a naval anchor.
Interpretation: Just like the swallows these tattoos represent the sailor lifestyle. The naval anchor was inked to cover a previous tattoo of the words, ‘I can’t change’.
‘Late Late’ Tattoo
Tattoo: ‘Late Late’ is inked to his left arm.
Interpretation: The Harry Styles Late Late tattoo is the name of the show hosted by James Corden. The band were playing a game selecting random boxes.
Styles ended up picking the tattoo box which meant he had to get the logo of the show inked to his skin.
Giant Heart Tattoo
Tattoo: This very noticeable tattoo of an anatomical heart, sits on his left arm.
Interpretation: Harry Styles is thought to of had a huge crush on Miley Cyrus. It is believed he took inspiration from her anatomical heart and got his own, just much bigger.
‘YOU BOOZE, YOU LOSE’ and a Liquor Bottle Tattoo
Tattoo: His left arm shows a liquor bottle with the words ‘You Booze You Lose’.
Interpretation: Harry Styles is trying to relay an important message here. If you drink too much alcohol regularly, you will lose in life. The Holy Bible sits below this ink.
The Holy Bible Tattoo
Tattoo: The bible can be seen on his left forearm.
Interpretation: A second tribute tattoo to his faith, and much bigger than the small cross. Although Harry isn’t openly religious, he definitely feels connected to his faith.
Recommended: We take you through Wiz Khalifa’s tattoo journey in our latest guide.
Tattoo: A small inking of the letter ‘A’ sits on his left arm.
Interpretation: This tattoo is a tribute to his mother, Anne Twist. It was inked in July 2012 by fellow bandmate Zayn Malik.
Tattoo: The word ‘HI’ is inked next to his black star.
Interpretation: This tattoo is relatively simple. It is thought to be a tribute to Louis Tomlinson, as that is the first word Louis said to him when meeting at the X factor. Louis also got the word ‘Oops’ inked in a similar format.
Iced Gem Cookie Tattoo
Tattoo: An iced gem cookie sits on his left upper arm.
Interpretation: This ink is another tribute to his sister Gemma. Iced gem cookies are a highly popular snack in the UK, especially amongst children. It was first spotted at the Met Gala in 2019.
‘Can I stay’ Tattoo
Tattoo: Just below his left shoulder is the words, ‘Can I Stay?’
Interpretation: This tattoo is similar to his others such as ‘Things I can’ and ‘Things I can’t’. Although he opted to get the other two covered up, this one stayed.
‘NY, LA, and Lon’ Tattoo
Tattoo: His left shoulder features NY, LA, and LON.
Interpretation: This is a tribute tattoo for his favorite cities New York, Los Angeles, and London. Even though Harry grew up in London, he has become deeply attached to America.
Tattoo: The butterfly has been inked across his abs.
Interpretation: This Harry Styles butterfly tattoo symbolizes the transformation in his life from the early X-factor days to making it big in America. The difference in his life is dramatic.
Tattoo: On the left side of his ribs a birdcage can be found.
Interpretation: An empty birdcage often signifies desolation with the feeling of emptiness inside. As the singer never gave an explanation of why he got this tattoo, we can only assume.
Two Theater Masks and ‘SMCL’ Tattoo
Tattoo: His left ribcage sports two theatre masks and ‘SMCL’.
Interpretation: The Comedy and Tragedy masks date back to Ancient Greece and are the main symbol for Drama. SMCL is believed to stand for Smile Now Cry Later.
Tattoo: This Harry Styles tattoo is the outline of a guitar.
Interpretation: It is no surprise that Harry decided to get a tribute for his love of music. After all, it is a career he is still involved with to this day, nearly a decade from when he first turned up on the X factor.
Pirate Ship Tattoo
Tattoo: His left upper arm features a detailed pirate ship.
Interpretation: Harry Styles loves the sailor era and has several tattoos representing his love for the naval lifestyle.
This intricate design was inked by Freddy Negrete at the LA parlor Shamrock Social Club, he is a highly popular tattooist amongst celebrities.
Gemma Written in Hebrew Tattoo
Tattoo: In Hebrew, the name Gemma is inked to his left shoulder.
Interpretation: Another tattoo completed at the LA parlor, this time by Freddy Negrete’s son Isaiah. The ink stands for Gemma, the singer’s sister.
Tattoo: On his left arm above the rose is the name ‘Jackson’.
Interpretation: In Spring 2017, Harry revealed this new inking at a hockey game in New York. On the Graham Norton show he explained the ink was dedicated to his Godson. The child is the son of Cal Aurand, a previous photographer for One Direction.
‘SILVER SPOON’ Tattoo
Tattoo: This tattoo near his left elbow says SILVER SPOON, inked to look like handwriting.
Interpretation: The word silver spoon represents somebody who has been wealthy since birth. It is a way for Harry to remind himself of the great successes and wealth he has had ever since his life began.
‘Arlo’ and ‘R’ Tattoo
Tattoo: Arlo and R sit on the back of his left arm.
Interpretation: The R stands for Robin Twist, Harry’s stepfather. Arlo is inked with the same font as his other tattoo Jackson. As Harry hasn’t publicly stated the meaning behind the inking, we will never know.
Tattoo: Harry’s left wrist features a small key.
Interpretation: Harry has several small tattoos inked to his wrist. This one is a key and bandmate Louis Tomlinson also has the same on his ankle.
Tattoo: His left wrist shows off a padlock.
Interpretation: Ed Sheeran was responsible for this piece, inking Harry himself, although some said it resembles a handbag instead.
Tattoo: You can also see a shamrock in his left wrist area.
Interpretation: Harry got this inking as a tribute for the LA Shamrock Social Club, a tattoo shop responsible for over 40 of his body art pieces.
Tattoo: The Aquarian sign is also inked in the same place.
Interpretation: Harry Styles is born on the 1st February making his star sign Aquarius. This tattoo work is a tribute to his astrological sign.
Tattoo: Next to all his other small tattoos is ‘99p’.
Interpretation: 99p is commonly seen in Britain, it is a penny away from £1. Harry hasn’t given a reason why he got this tattoo, but maybe some of his favorite things come at this price.
‘NEVER GONNA DANCE AGAIN’ Tattoo
Tattoo: Both his feet show the words ‘Never Gonna Dance Again’
Interpretation: ‘Never Gonna Dance Again’ are lyrics from the late singer George Michael’s 1984 track Careless Whisper.
Tattoo: The ‘G’ sits towards his right shoulder.
Interpretation: The second ‘G’ within his body art collection. This ink is another tribute to his sister Gemma.
Tattoo: Towards his left shoulder is ’17Black’.
Interpretation: Like many others, Harry Styles is a huge James Bond fan. As a tribute to one of his favorite film characters he got the famous bet inked to his skin.
Cross with ‘B’ Tattoo
Tattoo: Near the ‘G’ on his right shoulder is a cross with a B.
Interpretation: Supposedly this tattoo is a tribute to a family member. It could stand for his grandmother Beryl German or Grandfather Brian Selley, or possibly both!
Two Fern Leaves Tattoo
Tattoo: Two fern leaves have been inked on both sides of his abdomen.
Interpretation: In Spring 2014 Harry showed off his new tattoos whilst performing in Colombia. The fern is a plant that can grow in harsh conditions and represents strength and pulling through challenges in life.
Tattoo: Harry’s left thigh shows the name of the country ‘Brasil’.
Interpretation: Harry Styles has toured most of the world and whilst on a trip to Rio De Janeiro he decided to get the name of the country inked to his skin.
Tattoo: A large tiger’s head can be seen on his left thigh.
Interpretation: Tigers are a popular tattoo with those interested in body art. They represent strength, power, and courage. In an interview with the BBC when asked about the new inking he simply replied, “Roarrr”.
Two Crosses Tattoo
Tattoo: Underneath ’17Black’ are two small crosses.
Interpretation: Both crosses feature the initials K and M which represent his Grandfather Keith Styles and Grandmother Mary Smith.
Tattoo: ‘PINGU’ is inked on his left arm.
Interpretation: Both Ed Sheeran and Harry marked their friendship with these tattoos dedicated to PINGU a penguin character from the popular BBC children series.
‘Little Things’ Tattoo
Tattoo: Harry Styles got ‘Little Things’ inked on his skin.
Interpretation: This tattoo revealed in Spring 2013, is a tribute to the song ‘Little Things’ by his band One Direction, released under the album Take Me Home.
Tattoo: A small X sits on his right ankle.
Interpretation: Harry hasn’t offered any explanation for this tiny tattoo and fans are struggling to find a potential meaning behind it.
Two Screws Tattoo
Tattoo: Two screws can be seen on his right foot.
Interpretation: Both Harry and Zayn Malik got these tattoos first, followed by the rest of the One Direction band members. Back in October 2012, Louis Tomlinson tweeted,
“So me and Liam joined the crew yesterday and got two screw tattoos on our ankles, now we all have it except Niall.”
What’s your favorite tattoo on show here? Let us know down in the comments section!