United States Boys' Cap Styles: Fez

Figure 1.--The children here are from Montpellierb, Vermont. The portrait is undated, but was probably taken in the 1890s. Both boys wear fezes, a headwear style that was not very common in America.

The fez was a kind of truncated conical brimless headwear. It was widely worn in the Ottoman Middle East and to a lesser extent the Balkans. It was a popular Ottoman style, but worn somewhat in the early-20th century after the demise of the Ottoman Empire. It was not commonly worn in America. We do note boys in the late-19th century wearing a wide range of headwear. We suspect this was a reflection of many mothers who benefitted from the tremendous growth of the economy in the late 19th century and significat increases in prosperity. Thus many mothers they had the money to dress stylishly and also dressed their children stylishly. They cearly experimented with different styles, including foreign-looking garments. Conventiuons somewhat restrained their own expoerimentation. But there were few constraints where boys were involved. While rare, we notice a few boys in the late-19th century wearing fezes. The fez was commonly red. The black and white photograophy of the day do nt confirm his, but we think they were mostly red. We think thgat most of the boyswearing fezes were boys dressed in fancy outfits like Fauntleroy suits. In particult younger boys that had nothing to say about how they were dresses. We note an unidentified American boy wearing a fez with a Fauntleroy suit. It seems that mothers choosing sailor suits tried just bout every cinceiveable type of headwear on their boys. It is no accident that most of the fezes we see are from the late-19th century. This is basically the time frame of the Fauntleroy Craze. Another example is a little older boy. We note fewer boy wearing regular outfit like the older boy here (figure 1).


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Created: 4:57 AM 12/1/2007
Last updated: 6:05 PM 12/6/2018