Bring back some good or bad memories


March 29, 2017

Victorian Men Hairstyles: That's What Gentlemen Looked Like From Between the 1840s and 1850s

Men wore their hair fairly short throughout this half century, from just over the top of the ears at the start to a moderately close cut in the 1890s. A centre parting running from forehead to nape was fashionable in the 1870s, but there was considerable individual choice in the way the hair was combed -- parted slightly off-centre, at the side or brushed straight back.

From the late 1860s to the 1890s the majority of men presented a hirsute appearance, with the exception of aesthetes who believed that a clean-shaven face gave them a more fastidious and aesthetic appearance. Sideburns, allowed to grow further down the face, developed into a variety of side-whiskers - broad and bushy ‘mutton-chop’ whiskers, -or long and combed out, known as Piccadilly weepers or Dundrearys (from the character of Lord Dundreary in Tom Taylor's play Our American Cousin) during the 1870s.

Side whiskers might be worn with or without a moustache, as might the fringe beard running round under the chin, in the late 1850s and early 1860s. Full beards covering the chin, combined with a moustache, were cut in many different ways -- full and very bushy, rounded and neat like General Grant's in America, or slightly more pointed like that of the Prince of Wales in England. A narrow pointed beard from just under the lower lip to an inch or so below the chin, known as a goatee, was worn by Napoleon III with a long moustache waxed out straight at the sides. A waxed moustache turned up at the ends was associated with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and might be referred to as a 'Kaiser' moustache.

By the late 1880s and the 1890s the clean-shaven face was coming back into fashion; Charles Dana Gibson's illustrations of the 1890s show the dashing escorts of his 'Gibson girls' as clean-shaven. But many older men continued to wear a beard or moustache well into the new century.

Below is a collection of 36 rare portrait photos of gentlemen from between the 1840s and 1850s. See more photographs at Your Dying Charlotte.

(Photos courtesy Ann Longmore-Etheridge Collection/ Your Dying Charlotte)



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10