Boys' Hair Parts: Country Trends


Figure 1.--Belgian Prince Baudouin's hair here is parted on the right. A French reader tells us that in France and Belgium among affluent families, boys might have their hair parted on the right, although left parts were the most common. This was most common among younger boys, but even some teenagers might part their hair on the right as well. This photograph was taken about 1940.

We have just begun to collect information on individual countries. The great majority of photographic images we have noted in which parts are destinct, show boys with left parts, although center parts were often common during certain periods. Right parts are much less common. This is true in each country we have assessed, although admitedly for many countries the number of available images is very limited. This is definitely true for American boys and in other countries where we have large number of images such as Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Right parts are not absent from these countries, but they are much less common than left parts. Some information is currently available on individual countries.

America

The great majority of photographic images we have noted in which parts are destinct, show boys with side especially left parts, although center parts were popular during certain periods. We note mostly side parts in the 19th century. We note center parts were fashionable in the early 20th century. A good example is Clarence Rogers. I'm not sure how common this was in other countries, but we see many boys at the time with center parts. It is side parts, however, that arte the dominant trend. Right parts are much less common. An American reader tells us, "I imagine my experience is rather common. My mother combed my hair was a younger boy and on special occassions would supervise or even pitch in even when I was well into primary school. It was always combed on the left which I never gave much thought to. The only variance was in the 1950s when I had a crew cut. Here there was so little hair at the sides and the rest of the hair so short that there wasn't much of a part to contend with."

Australia

An Australian reader tells us, "The boy in white shirt and big floppy bow on the previous page and the very short short back and sides has my boyhood and adult hair problem' dead straight, although I had a bowtie rather than afloppy bow. I had dead straight hair and cockies (hair sticking up and refusing to stay down) on the crown and no matter amounts of gell, water, hair oils, Brylcream, and other chemists (drug store) remedies could deal with it. In the early days my dad did my hair with central, left, and right parts and cowlicks and comb ups."

Belgium

HBC is uncertain at this point about conventions for hair parts (raie dans les cheveux) in Belgium. One French reader tells us that with the short hair that was common for boys in the 20th century, especilly after World War II, that the boys in France usually parted their hair on the left and the girls on the right. There was no definitive rule on this and boys could be seen with both left and right parts. The left part for boys, however, was much more common. This convention not as strictly observed for the boys from affluent family and with especially attentive mother. One could thus see boys with part on both the left or right. Today in France this convention is completely lost. Anymore a boy could have a left part one day and a right part the next. HBC is unsure if this French convention was followed in Belgium. It is likely that it was among French-speaking boys. We do not yet know if the same was true among Dutch-speaking Flemish boys.

Canada

We notice George Bowditch with a center hair part about 1930.

England

The great majority of English boys appear to have parted their hair on the left during the 20th century. We are less sure about the 19th century.The great majority of photographic images we have noted in which parts are destinct, show boys with left parts in the 20th century, although center parts were often common during certain periods. Right parts are much less common. We assume that the principal factor here is that right-handed people can more easily comb a left part on themselves and most people are right handed. Of course younger boys generally have their hair combed by mother. We are not sure to what extent this is an accepted convention or an optional matter of convenience.

France

HBC is just beginning to research the part (raie dans les cheveux) in French hair styles. One French reader tells us that with the short hair that was common for boys in the 20th century, especilly after World War I, that the boys in France usually parted their hair on the left and the girls on the right. There were no definitive rule on this and boys could be seen with both left and right oarts. The left part for boys, however, was much more common. This convention not as strictly observed for the boys from affluent family and with especially attentive mother. One could thus see boys with part on both the left or right. Today this old convention has not changed. The girl always parts her hair on the right and the boys normaly on the left although one can find some boys with part in right and this is regardless of social class.

Germany

The great majority of photographic images we have noted in which parts are destinct, show boys with left parts, although center parts were often common during certain periods. Right parts are much less common.

Italy

The great majority of photographic images we have noted in which parts are destinct, show boys with left parts, although center parts were often common during certain periods. Right parts are much less common.

(The) Netherlands

The great majority of photographic images we have noted in which parts are destinct, show boys with left parts, although center parts were often common during certain periods. Right parts are much less common.







HBC






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Created: December 19, 2002
Last updated: 2:42 PM 7/31/2017