Victorian Hairstyles for Men

by Katie Christiansen

Top hats often capped off a Victorian era gentlemen's hairstyle.

Grant Faint/Photodisc/Getty Images

The Victorian age, an era spanning the reign of Queen Victoria in the mid to late 1800s, was a time of huge progression in technology, the arts and other cultural and scientific sectors. The vast advancement of civilization and wealth enjoyed during this period defined the popular styles of the day. Men hairstyles were largely dictated my societal expectations and the need to present an impeccably groomed front in a time of evolving social classes. Neatly trimmed looks were popular, sideburns were worn long, and side parted -- slightly slicked hair was de rigueur, or required according to fashion etiquette.

Short Hair

Neatly trimmed cuts that would not look out of place today were popular when paired with a full and groomed beard. Stylish men of the Victorian era kept their hair short -- but not exceedingly so -- with the top, sides and back all of a similar length. Hair was worn above the collar and short enough to be parted to the side and back swept.

Sideburns

Though hair was kept relatively short on the top and back, sideburns were sometimes worn long -- with or without facial hair. This popular style is visible on many notable men in Victorian times such as John Charles Rykert and echoed the famous mutton chops of the civil war era worn by Ambrose Burnside. Sideburns were elaborate extensions of a gentleman's hairstyle that went out of fashion in the early 20th century.

Side Parts and Slicked Hair

Men's hair in the Victorian era was worn in side parted and slicked back styles. Heavy pomades such as the ones in the preceding years, were not used, hair was rather lightly affixed with less waxy creams. Hair was parted on the side rather than the middle, and combed away from the part, not straight back -- though sometimes men would comb hair up and away from their head so as to create a slight pompadour or wave to the front of their head.

Photo Credits

  • Grant Faint/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Katie Christiansen started writing for various online and print outlets in 2007. One of Christiansen's pieces earned her the “Best Arts & Entertainment Feature Story” from the California College Media Association. She currently works as a corporate communications assistant and blogger. Christiansen is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in creative writing.