American brothers did ringlet curls in many different styles. Here mothers showed themselves highly imaginative in the styles they created for their son's hair. The different styles were primarily a matter of the two basic ringlet styling elements: the front styling and the ringlets themselves. The side was also a variable, but less important than the two basic elements. The two basic choices for the front were bangs or a center part, although here were other alternatives and many variations. The ringlets themselves were also endlessly varied. They varied in thickness, length, placement, and other factors. Ringlets curl styles varies in a variety of other ways. Some mothers added hair bows. This was a particularly American touch. A far as we know, these different ringlet styles did not have specific names. This was in part because they were almst always done at home and not by a hair stylist. Thus we can also use basic descriptions to describe the various styles.
The two basic choices for the front forehead when doing ringlet curls were either doing the front of a ringlet hair style in bangs or a part, although here were other alternatives and many variations. Vangs were very popular. The bangs could be shaped in a variety of different ways. Some were done straight across the forehead. Other bangs fronts were more molded and rounded. There were also various oprions for the part. There were side or center parts aw well as double side parts. The most common was the center part. This was an exception to a general rule that center parts in unidentified old photographs suggest girls. We do also see options like double side parts. While the two basic options for the front were bangs or parts, we do see some variations. Some mothers actually did curls at the front. We have noted a large frfonr curl or bngs done in little curls. Neither of these were very common, but are examples of the multutude of variations in boys ringlet hair styles.
The side was also a variable, but less important than the two basic elements. The sides can be assessed somewhat from the frontal face portraits that photographers usually shot. Fortunately some mothgers arranged for vmirror shits to give us a better idea as to how the side of the hair was cstyled. There were ca range of variations. Usually the ringlets seem to fall at the side and back. This was the general style when the ringlets were formed from hair combed down center parts. If the ringlets were formed from one side part, that would means the ringlets would be different on each side of the boy's head. We also notice some boys had their hair styled like a boy with short hair with the ringlets only at the back. An exanple here is an unidentified Phildelphia boy, we think in the 1870s,
We know less about the back of the head with ringlet curls was styled. Obviously mothers were ptimarily interested in frontal shots which is how portraits are normally taken. So the vast majority of the available portraits show the front. Here we may see the curls aat the suide, but not the back. Mothers were, however, so proud of their handiwork that on a few occassions they insisted on also photographing their son from the back so there was a complete record of his curl. Interestingly, about the only time such back shots were ordered was for boys with ringlet curls. Not only were boys with other hair styles not photgraphed from the back, but also girls with or without ringles were also not photographed from the back.
The hair at the top or crown of the head was done in various ways with ringlet curls. For the most part it was plainly done, The most common approach was a center part. This provided an equal amount of hair on both sides that could be used to form ringlets. This is not always clear in the many portraits taken at the time because the boys commonly had their hair done as bangs in the front. Sometimes the center part extended to the forehead, but more commonly the banhs obcured the center part. We also notice two side parts at equal points down each suide. This left hair in betwen that was not used to form the side ringlets. This hair might be used to form various types of top curls. We are not sure that the top curls walways involved twin parts. It is aittle difficuklt to tell from the photographic record. The most common was one large top curl. The large top curl was, however, not the only option. We see a number of portaits with a large top curl. The more varied styling on top was much less common.
Most American boys with long hair in the 19th and very early-20th century had their hair done in ringlets, much more so than in Europe. The ringlets mothers so lovingly styled were endlessly varied. American ringlets tended to be tightly curled. This is the common depiction and it is confirmed by the photographic record. We see some loosely curled ringlets, but the tightly curled, fully formed ringlets were much more common. They varied in thickness, length, placement, and other factors. Ringlets curl styles varied in many other ways. Some mothers added hair bows. This was a particularly American touch. As far as we know, these different ringlet styles did not have specific names. This was in part because they were almst always done at home and not by a hair stylist. Thus we can also use basic descriptions to describe the various styles.
Navigate Related HBC Pages:
[Return to the Main U.S. ringlet curl page]
[Return to the Main ringlet curl page]
[Return to the Main curl page]
[Bangs] [Long hair] [Hair bows] [Caps] [Collar bows]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]