Hair styles varied over time just like clothing. We so not yet have much information on the 18th century, but we have considerable information on the 19th century, especially as photography begab to significantly increase the number of available images in the mid-19th century. American boys wore generally short hair in the early 19th century. Bowl cuts were common in frontier America. Hair styles by mid century had become longer, often worn to or even over the ears. Some younger boys wore long-shoulder length hair, often done in ringlet curls but there were various styles. After the turn of the 20th century, short hair became increasingly common even with younger boys, especially after World War I. 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. Since the 1980s, boys hair styles in the United States and Europe have been remarkably varied, although not destinctive by country. After the turn of the 20th centuiry close cropped hair has become increasingly popular both in America and Europe.
Much of what we know about 18th century hair styling somes from paintings. Infant boys are often depicted in caps. Todlers and young boys are commnly shown bareheaded, with short hair and short bangs while still wearing dresses. Breeching began at age, but many boys wore dresses until 5 years, some even untol age 7. Here social class was a factor. Girls ore commonly are depicted with hats. The most common conventions was for girls to have center parts. Girls sometimes have short rather wispy bangs showing under hats.
Older girls no longer have bangs. Girls changed from little girl styles to morecadult styles some time at 3-8 years of age. There were variatiojs from family to family as well as the thicjness of hair. .
Boys usuallu had side parts or combed their hair forward. Aftervbreeching boys tended to wear moredult hair styles. Powdered whigs were not common for American boys, even boys from prosperous families. Boys commonly comb their hair back and may wear a pigtail like their fathers. Boys usually go bareheaded. Older boys when they begin to wear hats wear tri-cornered hats like their fathers.
American boys wore generally short hair in the early 19th century. Most images from the early 19th century show boys with short hair. We are not real sure, however, about actual styles. Our information on the early 19th century, however, is limited. Bowl cuts were common in frontier America as they were so simple to do. We have much more information by the mid-19th century because of the development of photograohy. Hair styles by mid-century had become longer, often worn to or even over the ears. A good example is an unidentified Boston boy during the 1860s. Some younger boys wore long-shoulder length hair, often done in ringlet curls. There were a range of conventions. In many families when the boy's hair was done in ringlets, the girl's hair was done in other styles.
A good example is the Powell children in 1886. While we note countless images of boys with ringlets, inly a small minority of boys wre them. Most boys had short hair in the late 1th century, shorter than was commn in the mid-19th century. There were a variety of other styles. but there were various styles. Only a minority of boys wore ringlets, but numerous late-19th century images show that it was a popular styles, at least on the mother's part.
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-lengtyh 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 eraly 80s. The undercut was very popular in the 1990s.
After the turn of the 20th century close cropped hair has become increasingly popular both in America and Europe. Not all boys have cropped hair. Most have hair long enough to be combed, but many had quite close cropped hair. any have A reader writes, "Now it seems that boys are at a slum in style where they just shave their heads and wear baggy clothes--as HBC mentions." The opopularity of close cropped hair, seems to have wained by mid decade. A reader writes after the beginning of the 2004-05 school yeat, "An update on boys hair styles. More and more Middle School boys are wearing their hair longer these days. Short, stylish cuts have been the norm since the late 80's, but in the past year you see more and more boys growing their hair out. While not as long as kids wore it in the 60's and 70's, it's still much longer than before. Probably 25 percent now grow their hair longer and not combing or brushing it in any way so that it has a "messy look". It seems most popular with the Middle School set, but you see some high schoolers with long hair now and a few younger kids with longer hair, although not as messy as the Middle Schoolers wear it. It will be interesting to see if this trend is just a short-lived thing for a few kids, or we see a return to the 60-70's hair styles. My personal opinion is that it's just a passing fad. One thing though, you see less and less crewcuts now. Boys are wearing it at least long enough to comb."
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