Men's hair styles were taken seriously in the 1800s. On April 30, 1801, General James Wilkinson, commander of the United States Army, decreed that officers and privates must have short hair. In 1803, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Butler, who refused to give up the long hair that had been in fashion for a long time, was court-martialed for not obeying the Roundhead Order.
As the 19th century opened, the traditional hair style for men was long. However, as the century progressed, the Romantic Era influenced art, literature and society. More men began to think in a more whimsical manner, and their hair became freer and more artistic. It was a buoyant time following several dramatic revolutions that changed the world.
Beau Brummell was the man's fashion dictator of the early 19th century. His style affected British gentlemen and this trickled to other parts of the English-speaking world. The new Republic of the United States was not terribly enamored of things British at the time, and Beau's stylized curls were not as common in America as they were in England.
After Queen Victoria donned the crown in 1837, the straight-laced and industrial Victorian Age influenced men's hairstyles. The grew their hair longer and decorated their faces with sideburns, mustaches and beards.
Men's hair once again became shorter after 1960, but the facial hair decorations stayed. Hair products began to emerge. Since shampooing hair was not an everyday occurence, the natural oils helped keep the style in place. Macassar oil, one of the early hair products, was so popular that many women crocheted antimacassars to protect furniture from the oil from men's hair. Pomades also emerged during this time.
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