Boys' Ringlet Curls Worn with Long Pants: Mid-19th Century

Figure 1.--This Dagerotype probably taken in the 1850s shows an American boy wearing fancy ringlet curls with a rather plain jacket. The collar is hard tomake out, but may be a modestly ruffled one. shirt and baggy long trousers. Note the short sleeved jacket.

One noticeable fashion in America during the mid-19th century was the number of boys wear very palin outfits with long pants. The conventiion of boys wearing shortened pants had not yet been established. Thus while some mothers were not yet dressing their boys in kneepants and fancy suits, they were beginning style their son's hair with ringlet curls. The contrast of very fancy ringlet curls with a plain shirt and baggy, poorly fitting long trousers looks quite strange to the modern reader. Shirts almost always have small collars. In some cases ruffled, but rarely lace collars are worn. The collars even on the fancier shirts are usually quite small. Some boys might wear jackets and more formal pants, but in many cases the boys are wearing very plain shirts and or jackets with long pants. Clothes were not nearly as well fitting as would be the case in the late 19th century. HBC is less sure of Europe, but bekieves many of the same clothing trend were true--even though ringlet curls were not as common.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: April 24, 1999
Last edited: August 20, 1999