“Bliss was it in that shirt to be alive”: Connecting Romanticism and New Romanticism through Dress
The New Romantics of Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s became a collection of pop stars who profoundly affected popular culture. This label applied to Boy George, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, and Adam Ant among others. Like the original Romantics, the New Romantics didn’t choose their own name and were a disparate group crowded under a unifying label. Yet at the same time they also shared with their namesakes an acknowledgement and exploration of the created nature of the self, a sense that they were struggling with and against repressive hegemonies, and a renewed focus on the place of the individual, themes examined here through similarities of dress. Taking a historicist and cultural studies approach, this chapter explores the ways in which the New Romantics connected to the Romantic movement.