Long Hair: Country Trends

Figure 1.--HBC estimates that about one out of 5 boys in the 1880s and 90s wore their Fauntleroy suits with long hair. Most American boys with lonbg hair wore ringlet styles, but some boys wore straight hair. This was mpre common o the continent.

Hair styling trends appear to have varies even more among different countries than clothing styles, some of which were relatively standard among many European countries. I'm not sure why this was, perhaps because hair can be so easily styled or perhaps fashion mgazines did not address different hair styles as much as clothes because there was no profit motive involved. Long hair dies not seem to have been as popular in Germany as in France and America. Many American mothers liked to curl their son's long hair rather than just let it grow naturally. HBC's primary source of information on hair styling is avaliable photographic images. Some painted portraits are avialble, but the number is much more linmited than the photographic images. As a result relatively little information is available because photography was only developed commercially in the late 1830s and large numbers of images are not available until the 1860s. Also at this time HBC has been able to obtain many more American than European images and as a result, our ability to assess European styles is still fairly limited.


American boys appear to have worn relatively short hair in the early 19th century, although relatively little information is available at this time. More boys with long hair begin to appear in the 1870s. Styling varied in the 1870s with boys wearing both long uncurled hair as well as ringlets. Presumably mothers styled younger boys hair with ringlets as it was a popular style for girls and women. They were hjust adopting popular hair styles for long hair as they adopted popular dress styles for unbreeched boys. Ringlet curls became much more popular in the 1880s, especially after the publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1885.


Younger English boys in the 19th century commonly wore long hair, especially before breeching. Here we believce social class as an important factor. Styling in ringlet curls does not appear to have been common, especially in comparison to the United States. Although HBC can not yet make definitive conclusions, shoulder-length long hair appears to have been even less common than in France. In favt the French we think in the mod-19th century began calling ringlets curls, English-styled hair (Cheveux avec des anglaises). English bBoys generally had their hair cut short by about 5 years of age, but we have noted older boys with long hair. Boys from working-class families would have their hair cut earlier. Some boys, generally from affluent families, wore long hair longer. A good example is an unidentified Wolverhampton boy in the 1870s who wears a fancy velvet suit. Almost all boys unless schooled at home would have their hair cut before being sent off to boarding school--usually at the age of 8 years. A good example is Carl Roos in 1881.


Long hair for French boys appears to have declined in popularity, as did fancy clothes, as a result of the French Revolution (1789). This appears to have changed after the restoration of the monarchy (1814-15). Long hair became increasingly popular although I have relatively little information on the early 19th century. By the mid-19th century, long hair for boys was probably more common in France than any other European country. French mothers did not generally curl their sons' hair, but let it grown straight, often to shoulder length. A good example is a French boy from an aristocratic family. Hair bows were commonly used to keep it in place.


Long hair dies not seem to have been as popular in Germany as in France and America. Some boys had long hair, but short hair was more common. Some boys even had their hair shaved--a style that was less common in Amerca, Engkand, and France.


No information currently avaialble.


Long hair as in Germany does not seem to have been very popular in Russia.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing hair style pages:
[Return to the Main long hair page]
[Bangs] [Ringlet curls] [Hair bows] [Curls] [Caps] [Collar bows]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: May 6, 2000
Last edited: 6:36 PM 11/3/2014