Hair Styles with Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: Classic Period (1885-1900)

Figure 1.--This boy wears his colored (I'm not sure about the colors) with long ringlet curls. Also notice the hair bow. This boys wears a colored Fauntleroy suit, not a black one. I'm not sure though what the color was. Note how lovingly his mother has placed his curls so they would show in the photograph.

Long shoulder-length ringlet curls are of course the mostly commonly associated hair style worn with Little Lord Fauntleroy suits. There were, however, a wide varierty of hair styles worn wih the Fauntleroy suit. This was in part because some boys were breeched before being attited in Fauntleroy suits. Thus there was no long tresses to curl.


Mothers often let the hair of small boys grow, especially while they were still in dresses. Boys usually had their hair cut when they received their first pair of trouser. Short hair had become coomon for noys in the early 19th Century. Mother varied as to what to do with their sons hair. There was not strict convention converning this process. The mother usually had a great deal of discression as to what she decided to do.

Cut before breeching

Many mothers decided to cut their sons curls while they were still wearing dresses before breeching. Thus boys can be seen in short hair that still are attired in dresses. One wonders if some mothers didn't regret cutting their sons curls after the Fauntleroy style and ringlet curls became so popular after 1885. Perhaps some mothers let their sons hair grow out aganin so that they could curl it.

Cut at breeching

Some mothers may have had their sons' curls cut as part of the breeching process. I have, however, no informayion on this.

Cut after breeching

Other mothers firmly beliebed that their sons' hair should not be cut until well after breeching. These were the boys of course that would have their hair done up into ringlet curls. Most boys through the 1870s wore short hair after energing from dresses. However there were exceptions (sucgh as the Brownings and Tennysons). The great popularity of the Fauntleroy look beginning in 1885 probably caused many mothers to delay cutting their sons hair longer than would have previously been the case.

Fauntleroy Dresses

It was most common to delay cutting a boy's hair when they were dressed in Fautleroy kilts/dresses. While it was not uncommon to cut a boys curls before breeching, very few of the boys in Fauntleroy dresses wore short hair. Almost all had long hair, very commonly done into ringlets.

Figure 2.--While the popular image of Fauntleroy suits is boys in ringlet curls, many boys wearing Fauntleroy suits had short hair cuts. Note the bows on the boys' kneepants.

Hair Styles

While shoulder-length ringlets were the most commn hair style worn with Fauntleroy suits, many other styles were also worn.

Short hair

Fauntleroy suits are commonly associated with ringlet curls. Mant boys, however, wore their Fauntleroy suits wuth short hair. Many boys had their curls cut before breeching. Thus when their first suit and kneepants were purchased, often a Fauntleroy suit, they wore it with short, boyish looking hair cuts. Often boys wore very similar velvet Fauntleroy suits and accesories like lace collars and large bows, the only major difference being their hair styles. I have not noticed any discernable difference in the Fauntleroy suits worn with short hair and those worn by boys in runglets.

Long hair

Some boys wore their Fauntleroy suits with long hair, but not styled into ringlets. This fashion appears to have been most popular in France. Most American mothers who kept their sons' hair long tended to style in in Ringlets.

Ringlet curls

Many American mothers did notvthink their sons' new Fauntleroy suit was complete without long ringlet curls. Many believed this was needed to complete the Fauntleroy look. As a result, we have many photographs from the 1880s-90s of boys wearing Fauntleroy suits with long sasuage curls. The curls varied greatly in length, size, and part style. Ringlet curls were also commonly worn with sailor suits and kilts, but it was the Fauntleroy suit that was the most common.

Medium-length hair

Boys before the turn of the century seemed tio have worn Fauntleroy suits either with short hair or long shoulder-length curled or uncurled hair. You see very few boys with medium-length over the ears, but nit down to the shoulders hairs. After the turn of the century, one sees more boys in Fauntleroy suits with medium-length hair, often uncurled or left in a naturally curly style.

Hair knots

This was a much less common hair style. I have little information so far. This style often consisted of a part on each side and the hair in the middle made into a curl. I think this was exclusively a litttle boys hair style. This style seems most popular from about 1850-80. Some boys in Fauntleroy suits are pictured in this style, but most American mothers preferred to do the boys' hair in ringlets.

Figure 3.--This boy has wears hos long hair with front bangs. The pohotigraph was taken in 1897. The small jaclet, large closed lace collar and bow are all characteristics of the classic style. Note how large the wrist cuffs are.


Fauntleroy suits were also worn with front bangs. The bangs included hair of all lengths from long shoulder length, with and without ringlets to short hair. The most common style of bangs cuts during the classic Fauntleroy era was with long hair.

Hair bows

Some American mothers not obly liked the look of ringlets, but liked to add a hair bow. Hair bows were even more popular in France, although there the hair was generally left uncurled.


The ages that boys wore these different hair styles varied greatly. boys might have their hair cut at quite young ages, in some cases well before breeching. Thus boys as young as 3 or 4 years of age might have short hair. The age of boys wearing ringlets and Fauntleroy suits also varied. Most boys wore them to about 5 or 6 years of age. Boys with particularly doting mothers, however, might ear them until 8 to 10 years of age, sometimes even longer.

National Styles

Mother in some countries appear to have definite preferences. American mothers clearly seemed to have opreferred ringlet curls. French mothers, on the other hand, were less likely to curl their boys' hair, but would sometimes add hair bows. I have less information on other countries like England, France, and Italy.

Mrs. Burnett's Text

One of the fashions most assosiated with Little Lord Fauntleroy is long ringlet curls. American boys in part because of the Fauntleroy crazemight wear ringlet curls. This was always a minority of boys, but the photographic record bery clearly shows that large numbers of boys did indeed hve their hair done in ringlets. Ironically Ringlets curls were never mentioned by Mrs. Burnett, nor were they pictured in the originasl irch illustrations. Mrs Burnett did constantly refer to Cedric's curls. She never mentions, however, his hair actually being curled. We are left to assume that his hair was naturally curly. She also does not detail just how long his hair was. Birch in the original illustrations shows long, flowing hair. He shows shoulder length hair, but unlike the references in the book, not particullarly curly hair. e never pictured Cedric with ringlets.


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Created: March 6, 1999
Last updated: 11:14 PM 2/26/2007