Figure 1.--This cabinet card portrait shows two unidentified brothers who look to be about 5-10 years of age. The younger boy wears a summer Faunteleoy suit with a cut-away jacket and fancy ruffled blouse and floppy bow. His hair is done with front bangs and ringlets. His older wears a double-breasted knee pants suit with a modest bow. The ultra-short hair was not very common im america at the time. The cabinet portrait is undated, but the clothes, natural-color whicker chair, and mount style suggest the late-19th century. The studio was Griffeth & Nichoson in Toledo, Ohio.

U.S. Boys' Ringlet Curls: Family Trends

One interestng question concerning ringlet curls is what the rest of the family is wearing. Family images provide insights in all kinds of fashion topics and hair styling is one of them. And as the style was most common after the invention of photography, we have an ampel photographic record to assess family trends. Generally speaking if a boy's hair was done in ringlets, than his sisters had different hair styles. Brothers of the same or similar ages might have ringlets, but rarely brothers and sisters. We have seen some brothers and sisters with matching ringlets, but it was not very common. Generally only the boys had hair done in ringlets, unless the boys in the family were older boys, than the girls might have ringlets. We generally note the older brothers with short hair, but long enough to comb. In a few instances we see close croped hair, especially duing the 1890s, but mostly we see hair styles long enough to comb. This was affected primarily by the fashionable trends of the day. Mother's styles also varies, but after the mid-19th century we see fewer adult women wearing ringlets, it became more of a children's or youth style -- at least for girls.

Sisters


Brothers and Sisters

Generally speaking if a boy's hair was done in ringlets, than his sisters had different hair styles. The photographic record is immense. And we have some instances of mothers doing brothers and sisters both in ringlet curls. This was not, however, the general convention. For whatever reason, most mothers did not want to do their girls' hir in ringlets if they were doing their boys' hair in ringlets. Brothers of the same or similar ages might have ringlets, but brothers and sisters much less commonly. We might say rarely, but tht might be a bit too strong. We have seen some brothers and sisters with matching ringlets, but not very common. Generally only the boys had hair done in ringlets, unless the boys in the family were older boys no longer with ringlets, than the girls might have ringlets. There were many other ways the girls' hair could be done, including many fancy styles. we are not sure why mothers did not do both brothers and sisters with ringlets. We suspect that mothers may not wanted give their son's the idea that ringlets were for girls. Boys did not have a lot of say as to how they were dressed at the time, at least compared to modern times. But most boys as they got near school age did not like the idea of being dressed like girls. Perhaps there were other reasons, but we are not sure why they might be. Something we are not at all sure about. We suspect that some of the girls were alittle jealous about not being able to have ringlets themselves. Boys may not have been wild about ringlets, but girls tend to be a little nore mature than boys nd much more interested in fashion. We have never noticed anything in writing on this, but think it is a destinct possibility.

Brothers

We see many exmoles of brothers close in age with their hair both done in ringlets. Once the boys were of school age this was no longer common. This actually limited the number of boys. Really young boys did not have enough hair for ringlets. And school age boys unless scgooled at home would not wear them. So the number of brothers of suitble age was very limited. And once the older brother's curls were cut, the younger brother often began demanding the same. This is in the nature of siblings. We generally note the older brothers with short hair, but long enough to comb. The very short hair seen here was not very common (figure 1). In a few instances we see close croped hair, especially duing the 1890s, but most we see hair styles long enough to comb. This was affected primarily by the fashionable trends of the day. Mother's styles also varies, but after the mid-19th century we see fewer adult women wearing ringlets, it became more of a children's or youth style -- at least for girls.









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Created: 6:58 AM 7/30/2013
Last edited: 3:00 AM 10/7/2017