Belgian Hair Styles

Figure 1.--This Belgian boy in a pair of knit rompetrs has a "choupette" haur do which featured a large curl on the top of the boys haed. We haved noted this style in both Belgium and France from the 1930s through the mid-1950s.

HBC has not yet acquired extensive details on the hair styles worn by Belgian boys. We believe they were largely similar to French styles, but there may be some differences between trends in Walonia and Flanders. We have noted that short hair styles have predominated since the late 19th century. Long often shoulder-length, but generally uncurled hair was a popular fashion for younger boys in the late 19th-century. By the 1910s, shoulder-length long hair had become less common, but fashionable boys might still wear their hair over their ears. HBC has noted Belgian boys in the 1930s-50s wearing the the "choupette" curled hair style that was also popular in in France.


Both Dutch and German hair styles have influenced Belgian styles. Probably the French styles have been the most important influence. French styles certainly have affected the hair styles worn by French speaking Waloon boys, we are less sure how important they were in Dutch spraking Flanders.

French styles

Many French boys in the 19th century wore long hair. HBC is unsure about the chronology. Boys in the eraly 19th century wore short hair. I'm not sure when long hair became more common. After the turn of the 20th century, long hair declined in popularity. Especially after World War I (1914-18), most boys wore short hair. Only younger boy, usually pre-school boys wore longer hair styles by the 1920s. Mothers that choose longer hair styles for their younger boys, tended to wear it at lengths well above the shoulder. Even into the early 1950s mothers would take great care with the hair styling for their younger boys. A French reader confirms that "Long Hair in the 1950s was not very common for boys after after 2 years of age." As in the rest of Europe, longer hair styles became increasingly popular for boys in the 1970s. This lasted until the 1980s when shorter hair returned, although there tended to be general acceptance for the few boys who wanted to wear their hair longs.

Dutch styles

HBC has little information on the hair styles worn by Dutch boys. At this time it is believed that they were rather similar to the hair styles worn by German boys. A number of Dutch boys in early photographs appear to have short cropped hair, almost shaved. One well known style are Dutch boy bangs. HBC is unsure, however, what the origin of this hair style and just what the association with the Netherlands, if any, is. HBC has noted modern Dutch boys wearing bangs, but they do not seem to be especially popular. Most available images show Dutch boys wearing a variety of other styles. In the early-20th century the style was more common, although the term "Dutch boy bangs" is an American or English term--unknown in the Netherlands.


HBC has at this time only limited information on Belgian hair styles. we are just beginning at this time to collect information on Belgian hair styles. We do not know of any specifically Belgian styles, but rather Belgian boys appear to have had largely the same styles worn by French and to a lesser extent, Dutch boys. We do not, however know many of the French or Dutch names for the various hair styles that we have noted. Hopefully our Belgian readers will provide information to help identify the various styles.


HBC is uncertain at this point about conventions for hair parts (raie dans les cheveux) in Belgium. One French reader tells us that with the short hair that was common for boys in the 20th century, especilly after World War II, that the boys in France usually parted their hair on the left and the girls on the right. There was no definitive rule on this and boys could be seen with both left and right parts. The left part for boys, however, was much more common. This convention not as strictly observed for the boys from affluent family and with especially attentive mother. One could thus see boys with part on both the left or right. Today in France this convention is completely lost. Anymore a boy could have a left part one day and a right part the next. HBC is unsure if this French convention was followed in Belgium. It is likely that it was among French-speaking boys. We do not yet know if the same was true among Dutch-speaking Flemish boys.


We are just beginning to assess what hair styles were worn by Belgian boys with which types of clothes. This is in part a moving target as both clothing fashions and hair styles change over time. There may also be differences within the French and Dutch speaking communities. So far we have only begun to assess the hair styles worn with sailor suits.


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Created: October 21, 2001
Last updated: 9:17 AM 10/25/2017