Girls Hair Styles

Figure 1.--HBC has no nformation as to the provinance of this photograph. Based on the women's dresses, we would date it to about 1910. The girl's short hair shows that you can not assum that all children with short hair are boys. Click on the image for a fuller discussion.

Just as you can not assume that children with long hair are girls, it is also true that you can not assume that children with short hair are boys. What we want to do here is to assess stylistic and chronolgical trends associated with girls' hair styles. We want to assess styles like bangs, curls, parts, and other hair styles. Girls have generally worn their hair long, in some cases very long. We have, however, seen many short cuts as well. This of course has varied very widely over time and among vountries. In general. girls have had much more flexibikity than boys as to how they wore thei hair. We see long, medium, and short hair done in many different styles.

Gender Connotations

The children's hair styles are an important issue in assessing many old photographs whih are often unidentified. The gendr of the children is often obvioyus, but a boys in the 19th and early 20th century not uncommonly wore dresses, assessing the hair style become important in assessing gender. One factor is the hair part. Many boys wore bangs or other styles without disernable parts. When parts are discernable, left parts seem the most common. We notice that many girls seem to have center or right parts. This is our initial assessment and it needs to be confirmed. Here there are differences over time and among counties. Here we need to develop more information on these trends. We note numerous photographs of boys with long hair during the lte 19th and early 20th cebtury. Thus hair can be very confusing when assessing gender. One useful guideline is that in school potraits we believe that virtually all of the children with long hair are girls. What we often are confused about is all the girls with short hair. This became even more common after World War I in the 1920s when girls bgan bobbing their hair (1914-18)


Women's hair styles are commonly more elaborate and more complicated than men's styles. we theorize that the success and safety of women was more dependent on their beauty allure than that of men where physical prowess was important. This commonly often meant long hair while boys had short hair. This has been the case throughout the ages. You can see it in the art even of ancient socities--not all, but most. Of course our interest is children's hair styling. But the same ynmic seems to be the case. Mother's generally give more attention to styling the hair of theirvdauhters than their sons. And girls seem nore interested in fashion and hair styling. this difference seems to appear at a very young age. This is a helpful clue when attempting to establish the gender of unidentified photographs. Most of the photigraphic images we have archived are not identified. Thus we have to attempt to assess gender and ages and sometimes even countries. This was while a general rule, however, not always the case. We see many boys with long, elaborate ringlet curls and many girls with short hair simple hair styles. we know that bobbed hair became popular for girls in the 1920s, but even in the 19th century we see many girls with short hair. Oddly, mothers o chose Fauntleroy ringlet curls for their boys ofren chose plainer styles for boys. We are not sure if this tells us anything about the children involved such as were they less fashion concious. One especially important style for girls hair is hairbows, but here again they were also worn by boys.


Long hair was a standard for beauty and styling for young women during the 19th century. Even so, we note many girls with short hair as well. This was the case throughout the 19th century. A good example is a young New York City girl in the mid 19th century. A major change occurred after World War I when bobbed hair for girls became stylish in the 1920s.


Some schools had regulations about both girls and boys hair styles. For some reason the schools seem to have given more attention to boys' hair, but this may be because we know less about girls' hair styles. The hair styles as well as the regulations have varied over time. There are also differences among countries. This is an interesting topic that we have not yet developed in detail. We do have a page on Russia.


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Created: September 10, 2001
Last updated: 2:27 PM 12/12/2015