Boys' Clothing Glossary: "H"

Figure 1.--.

We have begun to build a glossary of boys' clothing terms. As boys clothes until the 19th century was the sane as adult male clothing, we have included many applicable men's clothing terms. We have also included some women's terms as younger boys commonly wore dresses until the 20th century. As HBC is extensively used by non-native English speakers we plan to give considerable attention to this glossary so that words can be looked up. It will also serve as an index as we will provide links to the appropriate pages. We eventually hope to add foreign words, but that will take some time.

Hair bows: It is widely known that boys in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century wore long ringlet curls. Less commonly known is that some doting mothers added bows to their son's curls. Hair bows of course are usually considered adornments for girls. Curls were of great importance to a girl at the turn of the century, but so were the accompanying hair bows. The hair bow became an indespensable part of any girls' wardrobe in the late 19th and early 20th century. Hair bows were not common in the early 19th Century when long hair was not so common. By the 1870s as long hair became increasingly common, hairbows were worn more and more. By the 1890s girls of all ages were wearing them. Fashionable hair bows for girls by the 1890s had become large and floppy, but became somewhat smaller by the 1900s. Hairs bows for boys echoched these trends, although most mothers chose smaller, more modest bows for their son's hair styling.

Hair styles: Hair styles are not precisely clothing styles, of course, but because they are such an integral part of how boys looked and were dressed during the past 500 years, that we would be remiss in not briefly addressing the topic. Boys hair fashions have ranged even more significantly than their clothes and have varied from the long sausage curls of the 1880-90s to shaved heads in Germany in the early 20th century and the short crew cuts in the America of the 1950s. Long hair became popular again in the 1970s and early 1980s. Boys in the 1990s have been more free to select a style and length that suited them with no one style predominating. The long hair worn in the 1970s, however, is now rarely seen. One style popular in the 1990s has been shearing the head off at the neck giving a bowl-cut look.

Hat: Towards the end of the 17th century the vast wigs then worn by some men made it impractical for them to wear the fashionable broad-brimmed hat unless necessary. Custom dictated, however, that hats should then be carried beneath the arm. Rapidly, the hat began to be folded to make it easier to carry. In the 18th century this habit and changing fashions led to many sorts of folded or cocked hats - cocked on one, two, or three sides. It was the hat with three sides cocked that dominated fashion and was seen in innumerable variations of adornment and proportion. While beaver felt was the preferred material others, including wool and camel's down, were available.

Headwear: Boys over the ages have worn a great variety of headgear. Although many boys today generally do not wear hats, other than baseball caps, once a boy would have always worn a cap or hat. They have also worn a wide variety of hair styles.

Higland dance: Higland dancing along with the kilt are two beloved symbols of Scotland. Its origins lie in the art of the ancient Celtic Scots. Modern Higland dancing is usually performed solo and is characterized by its typically sharp movements and the accompanying music. It's typically dance to the tune of the bagpipes. The dances are made up of different parts, called steps. There are usually four or six steps to a dance. Traditional Highland Dancing generally refers to a relatively few dances, especially the Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Seann Truibhas, and the Strathspey and Highland Reel or Reel of Tulloch.

Hunting Shirt: During the second half of the 18th century a garment referred to as "a hunting shirt" began to appear in North America. The earliest and simplest form seems akin to the coarse shirts that European wagoneers and farmers wore as a protective coverall. In the years prior to the American Revolution this garment came to have a distinct American character. Several of the Independent Companies wore hunting shirts emblazoned on the breast with the motto, Liberty or Death, and several of the early colonial armies chose hunting shirts as their new uniforms. It is, however, with the frontier that this garment is most associated. Unfortunately, few examples of 18th or early 19th century hunting shirts survive and the contemporary written descriptions do not complete the picture. Reconstructions of this garment are largely conjectural.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: July 9, 2001
Last updated: July 9, 2001