Fauntleroy Headwear

Figure 1.--This America boy was photographed about 1905. The Fauntleroy craze was passing, but his mother still believed in ruffled collars and cuff trim along with ringlet curls. Note the destinctive a sailor cap he is wearing instead of the more formal wide brimmed sailor hat.

What kind of headgear did a boy wear with his Fauntleroy suit? A boy's Fauntleroy suit might consist of a wide-brimmed sailor hat or floppy tam, but there were many other choices. The most formal choice was the wide brimmed sailor hat with a long streamer and held on with an elastic chin strap. For less formal occasion, floppy tams were very popular. The wide-brimmed sailor hats wre particularly popular in the 1890s, but had begun to decline in popularity in the 1900s as sailor caps began to be more commonly worn. There were many other styles of hats worn with Fauntleroy suits.

Available Information

Available photographic images is one of the major sources of information on Fauntleroy suits and associated garments like headwear. The Fauntleroy suit was most popular in the 1880s and 1890s and then declined in popularity during the 1900s. For much of this period, photography primarily involved going to a studio. Amateur snap shots did not become wide spread until after the turn of the century in the 1900s. This meant that most available images of boys are indoors shots inside studios. This meant that generally the boys were not wearing their hats. Mothers were more concerned with displaying the boys' ringlet curls, lace collars, and floppy bows. In some cases the boy may be holding his hat or it may be layed some where in the photograph. For the most part, however, there are relatively few views of boys in Fauntleroy suits wearing their hats.


The question of what kind of headgear a boy wore with his Fauntleroy suit is interesting. One should realize that headwear in the 19th centuryband for the first partbof the 20th century was much more important than is the case today. One simply did not go out in public without a hat. Women's hats were of course legendary, but men and boys also wore hats. Thus it is likely that every boy who had a fancy Fauntleroy party suit, also had a hat or cap to go with his suit. Usually a hat would be brought especially to go with a boy's Fauntleroy suit.

Figure 2.--This boy appears to have worn a flouncy peaked cap with his Fauntleroy suit and ringlet curls.

Types of Headwear

Boys wore both hats and caps with Fauntleroy suits. Hats differ from caps in that hats have full brims and caps only partial brims.


The most formal choice was the wide brimmed sailor hat with a long streamer and held on with an elastic chin strap. These hats varied substantially in shape and size. The crown varied from a round to a flat style. The brim not only varied in width, but also the lift of the brim varied. The size and length of the streamer also varied. As far as I know the sailor hat was the only style of hat commonly worn with Fauntleroy suits. Generally mothers did not likethe bouys to wear their hats, especially the wide brimmed omes as itvhid the boys hair even though they wanted these stylish hats in the photograph. The answer od course was to lay the hat down on the ground or put it on the table. Unlike caps, if the boys had held these large hats, they would have covered part of their outfits.


For less formal occasion, boys also wore caps with their Fauntleroy suits. Unlike hats which were mostly sailor hats, boys wire a wide variety of caps with their Fauntleroy suits.
Tams: Floppy tams were one of the most popular cap styles worn with Fauntleroy suits.
Sailor caps: Boys wore a wide variety of sailor caps with their Fauntleroy suits. The style worn was inluenced by the uniforms worn by the navies in the different countries.


Berets are a popular style of headgear for boys. They do not seem, however, to have been widely worn with Fauntleroy suits. They were not common in America and in France they were apparently not deemed formal enough to be worn with Fautleroy suits.

Hair Styles

One interesting question is if a boys' hair style had any affect on the hat or cap that was chosen for him. Was a boy with ringlets more likely to wear a broad-brimmed sailor hat than a boy with short hair. Unfortunately, HBC at this time has been unable to note any relationship between headgear and hair styles. It is a subject, however, that HBC continues to assess.


The wide-brimmed sailor hats were particularly popular with Fauntleroy suits. The sailor hats were worn with especially wide brims during the 1890s and 1900s. The sailor hat was still very popular in the 1900s, but had begun to decline in popularity in the 1910s as sailor caps began to be more commonly worn.

Country Styles

HBC is not sure at this time as to just what headwear styles were most popular in different countries. Many iof the images available to HBC at this time are American images. Thus this page probably reflects primarily American styles. One factor affecting different styles was the different hats worn in the navies of the different countries.

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Created: September 11, 1999
Last updated: October 18, 2000