Figure 1.--. This image is of a rather old American boy with blond ringlets and hair bow. He is dressed in a plain sailor suit and has a disdainful look on his face. He is pictured with a real gun (Presumably studio prop) and a porcelin dog. Since he wears bangs, mom has added the hair bow for decoration or to display one blond ringlet in front. I like these images of older boys. The appearance of their hair is so incongruous with their dress and demeanor one wonders what their Mother was thinking. He hardly looks outfitted for hunting. But then again men at the time dressed for hunting in tweed suits and knickers. Image courtesyof the RG collection. Click on the image for a fuller discussion of the portrait.
Probably the most common outfit for boys wearing ringlets was the sailor suit. This seem particularly true of American boys. We are less sure of European boys. This is not because of any association between ringlets and sailor suits. In fact, most boys considered the sailor suit as a definite improvement over the Fauntleroy suit and some other juvenile outfits. Rather the reason so many boys were photographed with ringlet curls and sailor suits is probably a simple reflection of the great popularity of the sailor suit and the number of boys that wore them. Here we note not only regular sailor suits, but at the turn of the 20th century sailo-styled tunics were also popular. We say this was especially trur in America, not because European boys did not commonly wear sailor suits. Sailor suits were also popular in Europe, if not more popular. We do not, however, see as many European boys wearing ringlet curls. Many of the images of boys with ringlets were dated from about 1880-1910. This is of course also the period in which the Fauntleroy suit was most common.
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