From Botticelli cherubs to Honey Boo Boo, ringlets have long been synonymous with youth and innocence. However while they might remind us of creepy dolls these days, they have historically been worn by both men and women, and were even a popular style for military men’s wigs in the eighteenth century. Ringlets have a long history, with early societies including the Babylonians, Romans, Egyptians, Greeks and Assyrians all using primitive heated irons to create ringlets. More recently, sausage curls represented romance to women in the Regency era and allowed Macaroni men in the 18th century to make a statement with bountiful curls and bows. The Victorians couldn’t get enough of ringlets – also then known as sugar curls or barley curls – which were seen as the ultimate sign of femininity, particularly when festooned with ribbons and rosettes. The elaborate girlishness that ringlets represent has since become a tool for parody, with the likes of Grayson Perry and Trixie Mattel playing with the slightly sinister vibe of perfect ringlets to challenge and question ideas of gender identity.

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