Most boys in the early 20th century had short hair. After the turn of the 20th century, short hair became increasingly common even with younger boys. Some younger boys still had long hair and ringlets in the 1900s. Quite a number of images show American boys wearing ringlets. Some boys wore ringlets with hairbows. We note an American brother and sister. Sometimes mothers has portraits taken before and after to record the day their son had his ringlets cut. One such boy was Oliver Ingraham. Long hair and ringlets were becoming less common. Short styles were dominant, especially after World War I (1914-18). Very short hair vecame popular after World War II, especially in the 1950s. Boys wore crew cuts or buzz cuts. Destinctive national styles began to decline in importanmce with the appearance of the Beatles in the 1960s and longer hair became stylish for boys. There is a page on 1960s hair styles and a HBC reader had provided details on his 1980s experiences. There are a few other pertinent pages and we will link them here as they come to mind. Some boys wore extremely long, shoulder-length hair in the 1970s. The "pageboy'" cut was popular in the 1970s which then phased into the mullet. Since the 1980s, boys hair styles in the United States and Europe have been remarably varied, although not destinctive by country. Mullets were a major hairstyle from 1985-93 for boys. The mullet
phased into the feathered look of the early to mid 80s. An American reader reports, "In 1985, I was 12, and very noticeably, many boys in my school had that haircut, and my school ranged from kindergarten to 8th grade. Not only was the mullet the major haircut, most other boys were feathering their hair. Feathered hair for boys was just as popular in the 80s. Some even feathered their mullets. Other things boys did was shave the sides of their hair. Even as late as 1992, young boys had mullets, as my nephew 3 at the time had one, and so did his classmates in his preschool." Spiked hair appeared in the late 1980s and early 90s. The undercut was very popular in the 1990s. The longer style bgn tonpoeter out in the late-80 and we see a return to the shorter syles that were standard as late as the 1960s. In some cases very short styles. What is most notable in tyhe 1990s is the mix of styles. There was no doiminant hair style associated with the 1990s. We see boys with short, standard and longish styles. There was room for just about everyone and howevr they wanted to wear their hair.
Most American boys in the early 20th century had short hair. there was aange of styles, for boys, but shrirt hair was the standard. Bangs were a populsr style for younger boys. We note bioth banfs and hair swept across the fire head like the boy here (figure 1). After the turn of the 20th century, short hair became increasingly standard even for younger boys. Ringlts were, howver, still a style option fior younger biys. Some younger boys still had long hair and ringlets in the 1900s. It was much less prevalebt than than in the 1890s, but we still see examples. Quite a number of images show American boys wearing ringlets. Some boys wore ringlets with hairbows. We note an American brother and sister. Sometimes mothers has portraits taken before and after to record the day their son had his ringlets cut. One such boy was Oliver Ingraham. This was, however, rapidly declining in popularity. And we virtually never see longer styles worn by school-age boys unless they were educated at home. While most had short hair, it was usually long enough to comb. We see some boys with cropped hair, but this was also not very common. Quite a few boys experimented with center psrts, apparentkly just to be different and fsshionable. They were a minority, but we see more boys with center parts than any other decade. In the 19th century, center parts were one of the best ways to identify girls in old photographs when many younger boys were wearing dresses. It was very rare for boys to have center parts. This was no longer as important in the 20th century because the convention of younger boys wearing dresses was rapidly disappearing. We see some examples in the 1900s, but not very many and mostly very young boys. We have no idea why this suddenly became fashionble. We also notice more boys with perfectly combed hair and razor parts than was common in the 19th century. The children here are a perfect example. For younger boys this was a fashion coice by mother. For teenagers this would have probably been the boy's choice.
Long hair and ringlets were becoming less common for younger boys by the late-1900s and this trend was readily apparent by the 1910s. These Fauntleroy styles hd largly if not comletely disappeasred. Very few boys had shoulder-length hair, even younger boys. We still see a few boys wearing ringlets, but it was no longer very common and the few boys we see with ringlets were very young. There was a social class factor involved here. The ringlets also tended to be shorter. We see quite a few pre-school boys with longish hair down to or over their ears, but no longer hoiulder lengths. Short hair was much more common even for younger boys, but se see quite a few younger boys with longish hair. And we ee see somewhat older boys wiyh Dutch-boy bangs. A good example is Floyd Van Horne. Almost all school-age boys had short hair. We do not see many boys with cropped hair as was common in Europe, but short hair was stanfard in America and referred to as a regular cut. This was now the standard for American boys. It is easily discernable in school photogrpohy. America had one of the finest public school systems in the world. And this school photigraoh provides a winderful cross section of popular styles. Portraits and snapshots have a social class class bias with more affluent fmilies better represenrd than the working class. Most boys had cuts that were short, but enough hair so that parts could be combed at one side. There were still some center parts, especially in the early 1910s. And the center parts were not nearly as prevalent as in the 1900s. Their hair was cut short at the sides, usually around the ears. This varied. Some boys had their hair cut well away from the ears. Other boys had their hair cut around the ears. The front was done in a number of ways. Bangs were popular for younger boys. Older boys combed a kind of wage over the forehead. There were many differences, often because of the different hair types, such as curly hair we can see in many portraits.
Short styles became dominant, especially after World War I (1914-18). Boys no longer wore ringlet curls. Mothers had to give into poular fashion which no longer saw ringlets as accptable for boys. Ringlets became a decidedly girlish fashion. We do see mothers postpone hair cuts for younger boys and allow natural curls to grow. Most boys after about 3-4 years wore short hair. Cropped hair was not real common. Short cuts seem popular, but to a length that could be parted. The hair was common cut well around the ears, but precise lengths and styles varied, in part because of the varied nature of hair. The froint of the hai varied. Younger boys continued to wear bangs, but older boys treated the front of their hair in different ways. Actually the attention in the 1920s was off the boys and focused on the girls. Girls and young women as casual fashions became more popular and skirt lines rose, decided to "bob" their hair. The term "bob" in connection with cutting hair short seems to have come from the term for cutting a horse's tail short ("Bob-tailed nag"). A celebrated ball room dance in the 1910s, Irene Castle cut her hair short (1915). The cut came to be known as the "Castle Bob" and after World War I many girls and young women embraced the style. For girls it was common bangs at the front and hair over their ears at the side. Celebrated novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald even wrote a short story, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair", for the Saturday Evening Post (1920). Both boys and girls wore commonly wore bangs in the 1920s. The primary dufference was the length of hair at the sides. Here mothers had some discression, at least for younger boys. The complete history of the decade was not just short hair. Ringlets came bacl with a vengence at the very end of the decade, at least for little girls. This resulted from a spectacular little girls in the movies--Shirley Temple.
The most common hair cut for boys during the 20th century was the standards short cut combed over in front, usually without a wave, and cut around the ears at the side. The hairs at the sides was usually cut quite short. This style was worn throughout the century by many boys. The portrait here is undated, but was probably taken in the 1930s (figure 1). Cuts varied to an extent because of the boy's hair texture.
America went to war in tge 1940s after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1941). World war II was a massive undertaking with America thrust into the position of no less than saving Western Civilization. Some 16 million American volunteered or were drafted into the military. This mean buzz cuts at irst and short hair afterwards. After the veterans came home wwe negin to see the baby boomers with very short hair, This style for boys thus became very pecame popular after World War II. Presumably military cut during the War had an influence. Different styles of shirt hair emerged, including buzz cuts, crew cuts, and flat tops.
Short hair styles were popular in the 1950s. Schoolage boys did not have long hair. We note a variety of short hair styles, in part of a artifct of the shot military cuts of the World wsar II genertion returung home bd raising fmily. The standard cut was long enough to comb and had a part, but well off the ears. The most common cut had a kind of wave at the front. Many boys used hair cream to keep it slicked down. Younger boys might have bangs. A very popular style were different very short cuts like crew cuts or buzz cuts. These cuts seem uniquely American. We do not see them in Europe, Boys began to object to these short cuts by the late 1960s, but in the 50s they were very popular. Many boys wanted them. Some parents saw them as agood style for boys suring the summer. Teenagers with a rebelious attitudes might grow sideburns. That was as long as hair got in the 1950s.
Most Americn boys continued wearin the short hair cuts of the 1950s in the early-1960s. This wasa primarily styles that could be combed, but cut short t the sides, often eell away fom the ers. The British called short-back and sides. For most Ameican boys it was not quite as sevee, but none the less short. Other boys had really short cuts, such as the butch and crew cuts. These short hair cuts of the 1950s continued intio the early-60s. Some boys wore them year round. Other boys had their their cut short for the summer. This included really young boys that in early years might have had had their grown out in curls. At the same time period icons like film start James Dean and singer Elvis Presely were spoorting longer cuts which beginning in the 1950s began influencing teengers. And President Kennedy's son John-John influnced hair styling for younger boys. Destinctive national styles began to decline in importanmce with the appearance of the Beatles in the mid 1960s and their mop top. These longer became more pronounced by the end of the decade, at first for teenagers weho by their very nature tnd to be a little rebelious. Parents fo a time resisted the longer styles for their children. Tenngers had more abolity to express themslves. Mom and dad cold not ductate tmdelves. . Even so thefre was considerable variation during the 1960s. Many American boys still wore short hair even in the late-1960s. This was especially true in the more conservative Southern and Mid-Western states.
Hair styles for school age boys were remarkably unchanged in the first half of the 20th century. We begin to see some changes after World War II. Military buzz cuts became popular in he 50s and then longer styles in the 60s. It was in the 1970s that we see really major changes in hair styles with all kinds of new styles appearing, most longer cuts. And notably the newstyles were not just limited to boys and teenagers. We see adults adopted them, especially adults who as boys experimented with h realtively moderate new styles in the 60s. Suddenly we see an amazingly wide variety of styles from long to short. THere were blow-dried and bouffant styles as well as spiked and bleached hair. One fashion site describes 'overgrown' as the most widespread description of hair styles during the decade. Some described it as a 'hairy decade'. Until the 1970s, men and boys went to barber shops. For the first time we begin to see men and boys engaged in hair styling. Many new hair priducts appered for men and boys. For fashion historians who primarily chronicled omen's hairstyling, the explosion of male hairstyling has been described as a 'joy to behold'. The influence of John-John and the Beatles only intendified in the 70s. This was in part due to the the Beatles going 'all hippy'. They went from their 1960s 'moptops' to all hippie, long sholder length shaggy hair. We see both boys and young men following suit. in the 195Some boys wore extremely long, shoulder-lengtyh hair in the 1970s. The 'pageboy' cut was popular in the 1970s for boys, longer hair and the mullet began to be orn by teenagers. The difference being tha parnts decided on the hairstyles for the younger boys while teenagers began to decide about their own cuts. And they wre strongly influencd by not only the Beattles, but other rock groups. And it did not end there the short Mickey Mattle cut od 1960s athlelets gave way to the long flowing locks of 1970s atheletes. Both mussicinns and aththelets were veryinfluntial with boys.
Long hair was still popular in the 1980s, alhought wee see these of the long tgely cutss tyht we see someunes see un the 70s. A HBC reader had provided details on his 1980s experiences. There are a few other pertinent pages and we will link them here as they come to mind. There were a range of what might be called niveklty cuts suych as anushoom look.
Since the 1980s, boys hair styles in the United States and Europe have been remarably varied, although not destinctive by country. Mullets were a major hairstyle from 1985-93 for boys. The mullet
phased into the feathered look of the early to mid 80s. An American reader reports, "In 1985, I was 12, and very noticeably, many boys in my school had that haircut, and my school ranged from kindergarten to 8th grade. Not only was the mullet the major haircut, most other boys were feathering their hair. Feathered hair for boys was just as popular in the 80s. Some even feathered their mullets. Other things boys did was shave the sides of their hair. Even as late as 1992, young boys had mullets, as my nephew 3 at the time had one, and so did his classmates in his preschool." Spiked hair appeared in the late 1980s and eraly 80s. The undercut was very popular in the 1990s. Spiked hair appeared in the late 1980s and early 90s. The undercut was very popular in the 1990s. The longer style began tapper out in the late-80 and we see a return to tyhe shoerter syles thwt were stwndard as late as the 1960s. In some cases very short tyles. What is most notable in tyhe 1990s is the jmix of styles. There was no doiminant hair sdtyles. We see boys with short, standard and lonnuish styles. Tere was room for just about everyone and howevr they wanted to wear their hair. We believe that boys t inceasingly younger age were expressing their desires nout how their hair was cut. The hair wars of the late 1960s and 70s were over. There was essebtully a developing toleration for hair styles. y
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