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In the 1980s, the most iconic pop stars, such as Boy George, David Bowie and Spandau Ballet, were embracing a new style, known as New Romantic fashion. Eccentric makeup, empowering silhouettes, lace and velvet jackets, and sharp suits were only some of the pieces of clothing which inspired the original movement.

Over the decades, the New Romantic movement has met new subcultures (such as electronic rock and prog rock), creating different styles and new inspirations. Nevertheless, there are still certain elements of this fashion that can be found in today’s trends.

If you dream of fetish and leather influences, then you are ready to embrace the New Romantic fashion for men. Here you will find anything you need to become the perfect New Romantic icon!


Get the Androgynous Look

The Culture Club’s first performance on British television was shocking and immediately changed the history of New Romantic fashion. With his androgynous look, Boy George caused a furor in the press, but inspired many people and still stimulates contemporary designers’ collections.

However, you don’t need to emulate his look completely to dress like a perfect New Romantic. In fact, you can steal just a few details from his best outfits to accentuate your look.

For example, you can rock some black nail polish, and a golden ring to highlight your hands. Or, if you prefer, you can wear satin jackets and oversize shirts with very tight trousers, to design your unique, powerful silhouette.

Still looking for more inspiration? Don’t worry: we have an entire lookbook, with plenty of information and styles from the best designers.

The Ultimate New Romantic Men’s Fashion Lookbook

Get the Pirate Look

Ever dreamed of becoming a pirate? Now you can! No, you don’t need a Halloween costume to embrace the swashbuckling style of romantic, glamorous pirates. An oversize shirt paired with a velvet or hussar style jacket will play the trick.

Photo by Sankuanz Men’s Fall 2019 Collection

Expose Your True Style

If you are feeling bold and adventurous enough, you can pick your favorite satin or pinstripe suit up and just wear it. Cannot choose the right shirt? That’s not a problem, as you can leave it at home, if you are looking for a provocative and glamorous outfit.

Photo by Sankuanz Men’s Fall 2019 Collection

The Return of Lace

Lace collars and lace shirts became a huge trend after being worn by Diana, Princess of Wales. Menswear was influenced by this style, especially after the clothes that Diana and Charles, Prince of Wales, wore at their wedding. You can revive that vibe with the right shirt and a pair of tight trousers.

Picture by Moonaro (Luxury Men Lace Shirt)

Don’t Be Afraid to Express Yourself

In the 80s, occasion wear got a new twist, with flared basque jackets, shoulder pads, and eccentric fabrics. Being bold was almost an imperative, and this is still the perfect rule to choose your outfit. Don’t be afraid to rock your favorite satin or velvet blazer, and always prefer bright colors.

Photo by Fanfreakz (Sharp Print Multi Colour Floral Pattern Men Blazer)

Highlight Your Silhouette

One of the ideas behind the androgynous look was to empower people’s bodies. Men wore lace clothing, big-shouldered blazers and high-necked blouses. These are only some of the details which will make you look fabulous and completely change the shape of your silhouette.

Photo by Boohoo Man (Regular Fit Roll Neck Jumper)


Subcultures of the 1980s That Inspired Men’s Fashion

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Add a Pinch of Contemporaneity

Denim jeans aren’t usually linked with New Romantic menswear. Nevertheless, you can still wear them with pride, especially if they feature eccentric and bright details. Pair your jeans with a simple t-shirt and no accessories, so they can have all the attention they deserve.

Photo by Wrangler (Men’s Relaxed Fit Jeans with Flex, “Marine”)

The Return of Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads are maybe of the most iconic fashion items from the 80s. It does thus not surprise that they soon inspired the New Romantic fashion, and are still loved by several designers. The best way to rock them? With a bright outfit and your loveliest smile!

Photo by Marc Jacobs Fall-Winter 2018 Collection (Getty Images)

Elegance and Style

David Bowie was an eclectic fashionista. He knew how to style a unique Pierrot blue clown costume, but he was also a master of elegance. In fact, he was often seen wearing a pinstripe suit, which blended perfectly with a simple, white shirt.

Photo by Dobell (Avail London Navy Stripe Skinny Fit Linen Suit)

Luxurious Fabrics

New Romantic fashion was all about feeling glamorous. There’s no best way to achieve that than wearing luxurious fabrics, like velvet. For example, velvet shirts are versatile and can be worn as a formal or more casual look. If you have an oversize shirt, you can even wear it as a blazer.

Photo by Homme Boy Co. (Paisley / Velvet Button-Up)

Leather Is Always the Answer

Leather is the perfect fabric to highlight your silhouette. Most importantly, it can be styled with any outfit. A pair of leather pants and a black t-shirt will make you look masculine, but they’ll also give you all the best New Romantic vibes.

Photo by Eimee (Full Grain Leather Men’s Curved Jeans Trousers)

Don’t Forget Your Hat

Bold accessories are a must to achieve the perfect New Romantic look. You can completely change your outfit just with the right hat. Fedora and wide brim hat are perfect, as they will move the focus on your silhouette and make everything look more balanced.

Photo by Asos (Asos Design Wide Brim Pork Pie Hat in Black)

Experiment with Different Fabrics and Patterns

Vivienne Westwood is one of the designers who has embraced the perfect New Romantic fashion vibe. You can steal some ideas from high-end men’s fashion and experiment with different fabrics, patterns and colors to create your ultimate statement look.

Photo by Vivienne Westwood Fall-Winter 2014 Men’s Collection

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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