Boys' Clothes Worn with Hair Bows: Fauntleroy Suits

Figure 1.--This Philadelphia boy looks to be about 5-6 years old. The wears a karge collar bow as well as a hair bow with his Fauntleroy suit. The image is undated but HBC estimates that it was taken in the 1880s.

Bows in Fauntleroy suits sometimes wore hairbows. This is in part because long ringlet curls became an important part of the Fauntleroy look preferred by many mothers. Boys in short hair could not wear hair bows. Thus boys in Fauntleroy suits often had the needed curls. In addition, a hair bow does not seem to be an unsual addition to a boy in a velvet Fauntleroy suit, lace collar, and ringlet curls. A good example is an unidentified boy wearing ringlet curls with a Fauntleroy suit at the turn of the century in the early-1900s. It is difficult to quantify how common this was. Probably the proprtion of boys wearing hairbows in surviving portraits are a reasonable reflection of how common it was for boys in Fauntleroy suits to wear hairbows. Only some of the boys wearing Fauntleroy suits wore ringlets and a very small proportion of those boys had hairbows. HBC does not have a good idea as to whether these hairbows were just added for the portraits and special occasions or if the boys photographed with hair bows commonly wore them. Most but not all such boys appear to be pre-school boys. The Fauntleroy suit was most popular in America and HBC considers it unlikely that an American boy would have worn hair bows to school or much beyond the age that he would have begun school. Boys schooled at home, however, might have worn Fauntleroy suits, ringlets, and hair bows to an older age.


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Created: January 20, 2002
Last updated: 3:02 PM 7/1/2017