*** Little Lord Fauntleroy suits: American hairstyles

American Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: Hair Styles

Fauntleroy ringlet curls
Figure 1.--Here is a cabinent card portrait of an American boy wearing ringlet curls and a classic Fauntleroy suit. We can tell by the mount style that it was taken in the 1900s, most likely about 1900. The boy's name was Homer, but we do not know his last name. He looks to be about 5 years old, perhaps close to 6 years old. The studio was G.C. Aker in Bedford, Iowa.

Boys wore Fauntleroy suits with a variety of hair styles. We believe the photographic record provides a good rough indicator of actual prevalence of the various styles. The cosr of a portrait by the 1880s was reltively low. Most families coukld aford them and the ones that could not probably did not dress boys in Fauntleroy suits. As best we can tell, most boys wore Fauntleroy suit with short hair. Most familie seem to have cut a boys' curls before or at about the same time they were breeched. We would estimate that only about 10 percent of boys, perhaps a few more had their hair done in ringlets or other fancy styles. While long ringlet curls were the most common fancy style, it was not the only such style. Here social class nd affluence were a factor. It involved a substantial investment in time. We suspect that many of the mother's curling their son's hir had help assisting in the home.

Long Uncurled Hair

It was not common for American boys to have long uncurled hair. We see much more of this in Europoe. But forthe most part, American boys who had long hair hair during the Fauntleroy era had it styled. This often meant various styles of ringlets. We notice a range of other styles such as top curls. But long uncurrled hair was not very common and we notice very few examoles in the pohotogtraphic record.

Loose Curls

The righlet style for curls was very popular and American boys with long hair commonly wore it in ringlets, much more commonly than in Europe. Most of the American boys wearing Fauntleroy suits with lon hair wore ringlets. We do see a few boys with long way hair. We suspect that they had naturally curly hair, but this was probanly not alwauys the case. This hair style with Fauntleroy suits seems rather rate but we do note some examples. One such example is a New York boy in 1893.

Ringlet Curls

Some boys wore their Fauntleroy suits with long hair. American mothers commonly did the long hair in ringletds. This is the hair style most associated with Fauntleroy suits. That does not mean most boys wearing Fauntleroy suits wore ringlets curls. The photographed record suggests that it was not. Based on available photographs, we would estimate that ringlets were worn by less than 10 percent of the boys wearing Fauntleroy suits, esven proper Fauntleroy suits and not just suits with some elements of Fauntleroy styling. Because of the illustrations done for Mrs. Burnett's book, however, a strong association developed with long hair and Fauntleroy suits. The ringlets were a kind of loving addition by fawning American mothers. These longer styles were longer than common at mid-century, in some cases worn to shouldr length. American boys with long hair generally had in done in ringlet curls. This was much less common in Europe. Many boys had their curls cut when they were breeched. Some boys such as some of the boys wearing Fauntleroy suits had their curls cut later.

Short Hair

Short hair was the principal style for boys by the 1880s when Fauntleroy suits became popular. The longer hair with styles down to or over the eara that we see at mid-century were no longer popular by the 80s. Drawings of boys wearing Fsauntlerou suits commonly show boys wearing ringlet curls. Ringlets were indeed a popular hair style to be worn with Fautleroy suits. We see numerous images in the photographic record confirming this. Even so, ringlets were a hair style worn by relatively small minority of boys. We believe that less than 10 percent of boys wearing Fauntleroy suits wore them with ringlet curls. Most boys wore a variety of short hair cuts with Fauteleoy suits. Some boys had bangs, but bangs became more popular after Fautleroy suits went out of style. Most boys has hair parts, nostly side parts. So we see most boys with short hair cuts similar to those of older boys. There was no one short hair style tht was partiulkrly common to be worn wih Fauntleroy suits. There were many different styles. The short hair styles were the ones American boys most commonly wore with Fauntleroy suits. Paricularly short hair was not very common wih Fauntleroy suits. Rather most boys had hair tht was long enough to comb and part.

Cropped Hair

Croped hair does not mean short hair. It was short, but iut means that the hair was so short that it could not be combed. We do not notice many American boys wearing Fauntleroy suits with cropped hair, but we have seen a few examples in the photographic record. Actually cropped hair was not nearly as common in America as in Europe, especially continentasl Europe. We sare not sure why thuis was, but we expect that it was because the United States was not militarized like Europe. We notec that vthis was also the case in Britain which unlike continental Europe did not have a large conscript Army. (We note that cropped hair did not become common in America until after World War II after large numbvers of men had served in the Army. Most American boys wore combed hair styles with Fauntleroy suits. The Fauntleroy image is ringlet curls. And in fact quite a number of boys wore ringlets with Fauntleroy suits. But actually they were a minority. Most boys wore standard hair styles with Fauntleroy suits. By standard we mean the popular styles boys wore during the Fauntleroy suit era. Whuich were generally hair cuts around the ears. There were many different styles, some shorter than others, but mostly the hair was cut away from the ears. We have found some examples of closs-cropped hair. This was not very common, but there were examples. One such examole is an unidentified Minnesota family. All the boys wear blouses. The two younger boy wear fauntleroy blouses, but only the youngest boy has a Fauntleroy suit. They all have cropped hair.

Top Curl

Some boys with Fauntleroy suits had top curls. They were commonly done with ringlets. The ringlets were usually at the back because the top curl used up the hair that would have normally formed side curls. The New York boy on the previous page is a good example.

Top Styling with Ringlers

We note boys with hair styles similar to the top curl, but with the hair on top styled but not done in as curl. We note Arthur Anderson about 1900. Arthur does not have a top curl, but we note curls at the side.

Top Styling without Ringlets

Most boys with Fauntleroy suits had regular hair styles and to a lesser extent ringlet or other curled styles. We also see boys with top curls. These hair styles accounted for the vast majority of the boys wearing Fauntleroy suits. We have also noticed a few examples of variously styled hair done by mothers with a desire to create styles of their own creations. This was usually son with relatively short hair. Long hair with Fauntleroy outfits, at least in America, was almost always done in ringlets. This involved mothers with varied hair styling capabilities. Some of these are very obvioulsy styilized hair. Others are so creative that they leave a rather unkempt appearance, at least in comparison to ringlet curls. We note some that look to be swirls.


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Created: 11:06 AM 7/4/2012
Last updated: 11:07 PM 5/15/2023