Figure 1.--"Dutch boy" hair cuts with bangs were popular for boys at the turn of the century. This boy wears a kneepants Norfolk suit with short socks.

Boys' Bangs: Styles

We have noted many styles of bangs. This best known style is generally referred to as Dutch-boy bangs, presumably this style originated in Holland. Sometimes bangs are the principal style. Here the cut of the bangs is the major variable. There are more than just straight cut bangs. Sometimes bangs are only an element of a style. In both cases, there are different styles of cutting the bangs. Sometimes the front bangs are even done in curls. This includes both the actual front bangs as well as well as the hair to the side. Some times the hair has been allowed to cover the ears, even ringlet curls. Other times the hait at the side is cut rather short. Sometimes the boys' bangs are even done in side rolls.


Bangs were used with a wide range of hair styles. We note them being used with short hair cuts. A good example of a short cut is an Americn boy, Bert Dodge, in the 1880s. We also note bangs being woirn with very long stylds such as ringle curls. And of course bangs were worn with all the different lengths in between these two extremes.

Bangs Cut

The bangs or from fringe can be cut in different ways. The most common is is to cut a front dringe straight across the forehead. The other major way of cutting bangs is to round them up at the sides following the contour of the head. There are also variations as to how these different front fringe cuts joins the hair at the side.

Figure 2.--This boy looks to be about 5 years old. He wears a Fauntleroy suit with curls, even his forehead bangs are curled. The image appears to date to the late 1880s or 1890s.

Forehead Curls

One not very common hair style for boys involved the curling of a boys forehead bangs. This could be done even with a boy who did not have really long hair. It was much more common to let a boys hair grow long and then curl his hair. In some cases a boy might have shoulder-length hair. A mother might still curl her son's hair, even if he did not have long shoulder-length hair. Often thevlonger hair was cut when the boy graduated from dresses and was breeched. Thus the curling of a boy's forehead bangs was an option open to a mother

The Ears

Hair cuts with bangs were done in different ways at the sides. There were great variations in the length of the cuts at the side. One of the major differences in bang cuts was wether the hair was cut short enough to reveal the ears. Boys hair was cut both ways. I have not yet, owver, acquired informatiion on the relative popularity over times with cuts revealing or covering a boys' ears. We note many images at the turn of the century that show boys with bangs with their ears covered. Agfter World War I this became less common.

Ringlet Curls

Standard bangs or what we might call a Dutch boy cut staight accross the forehead was one option with ringlet curls. This was a fairly simple approach and assems to have been the most common approach with ringlets. It was usually associated with a center part, but the center part ended well before the forehead so the hair could be combed forward into bangs which were then cut straight across the forehead. Often it was not possible to see the center part on the crown of the boys' head in portraits taken from the front. In some cuts, the bangs are cut straight across ghe forhead and then tapered slightly at the side. Note that until the turn of the century it was not common to style boys hair in bangs after his curls were cut. Nor was it the most popular way of styling girls hair. Thus it was not used as widely for boys as other treatments. We note many examples of boys wearing bangs with ringlet curls. Another common way of dealing with the boy's center part so it did not emerge at the forehead was to to divide the part before reaching the forehead. The part could be separated at different points, thus varying the area between the separated part. A tuft of hair would then be combed forward in the area between the two branches from the center part. This center area of bangs could also be adjusted providing further variations for the creative mother.

Figure 3.--Dutch boy bangs were worn by boys from many countries. This French boy, the son of Emie Zola, wears bangs in a photograph taken during the late 1890s.

Dutch-boy Bangs

This cut is often referred to as Dutch-boy bangs, presumably this style originated in Holland. I have no historical details substantating that this was a popular hair style in Holland for boys or children in general. Perhaps one of our Dutch visitors can provide some background. The smiling Dutch boy corporate logo with his overalls and cap and wooden shoes is familiar to many Americans. Dutch boy images from the fairy tales--the one who plugged the dike with his finger, are familiar to children. Dutch boy bangs perhaps became popular after the turn of the century because it allowed some mothers to retain a longish hair style on their boys as the long hair and curls of the late 19th century were passing out of style. The bangs which appeared at the turn of the century are generally associated with Buster Brown suits and, to a lesser extent, Russian blouses. They were, however, worn with many other styles such as sailor suits, but not as commonly Fauntleroy suits. It was always a major rite of passage for a boy to finally have his curls cut and allowed to wear more closely cropped hair like his father. Cutting a boys bangs and allowing him to get a short hair cut with a center or side part was a similar event.

Page Boy Bangs

Page boy bangs are similar to Dutch boy bangs. The term comes from the hair styles we see in Renaisance paintings of the page boys in medieval courts. And the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. They both have front bangs at the forehead, both sraight cut or slighly curved. The difference between the two cuts is at the side. While Dutch-boy bangs have hair at the side cut in different lengths, they do not got to lengths below the ear. A good example is an American boy, Percy King Sparks, in 1912. Those cuts with the longer hair at the side are page-boy cuts. Generally speaking, the Dutch boy cuts are more common, but we notice in the 1970s when long hair became popular, many boys with page boy cuts.

Side Rolls

Boys also wore bangs with side rolls. Rather than ringlets hanging at the side. The hair was contured at the side in a kind of buldge or roll. This was not a common style, but some boys in the early 20th century sid wear it. While his was a style of long hair, the hair was well off the shoulders.

Side Flare

Less elaborate and somewhat more common than the side roll, was bangs styled at the side wuith a kind of flare. With this style the hair was still cut short at the sides, well above the ears. We have seen quite a few images in the 1910s and 20s with this style. It was astyle for younger boys although it was not gender specific. Younger girls with short hair might also have their hair styles like this. We have noted this style primarily in America.


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Created: May 5, 1998
Last edited: 7:52 AM 7/20/2013