Fop Hairstyles

17th century engraving of a British actor,
in character as 'Lord Foppington'.

Source: Wiki Commons
What Does Fop Mean?
The word 'fop' was used way back in the 1600s as a pejorative term for men who appeared to be overly vain, putting too much emphasis on their clothes, hair and general appearance. As a handy term for a dandified peacock, it caught on, eventually finding its way into popular culture via fictional characters such as The Scarlet  Pimpernel and Zorro.
The Rococo period
Foppishness was applied particularly to the French Court of Louis XV and the dandified and effeminate fashions which emanated from that part of the world, particularly in the eighteenth century, when French style among the male upper classes dictated such fashionable accoutrements as elaborately curled powdered wigs, skirted embroidered coats, delicately frilled cuffs, pink stockings, stick-on beauty spots and lush fabrics such as satin, silk and velvet. This was known as the 'Rococo' or 'Late Baroque' period and it was a good time to be a fop if you were that way inclined.

Prince - a modern fop. Source:Wiki Commons
20th Century Fops
Prince, wearing a classic fop. Source:
By the 20th century, 'fop', while in some contexts still retaining much of it's original meaning, i.e.; to denote a vain peacock-man, also became a descriptive term for a kind of hairstyle -usually a long fringe, either brushed back over the forehead in a Liberace-like bouffant style or hanging in a loose quiff and worn to one side, a la Prince in his heyday.

However, any gentleman's hairstyle which is obviously high-maintenance, *fussy* and suggestive of some serious preening in front of the bathroom mirror would qualify as foppish.

Fops care about their hair...alot

Fabulous "Fop Hair Pomade' label designed by
 Ted Haigh for the film  'O Brother Where Art Thou?'
Fops have been worn throughout the decades by Eton schoolboys, 50s Teddy Boys, Mods, Glam Rockers Rockabilly fans, Psychobilly fans, New Romantics and others.

Some notable fop hair enthusiasts of the 20th and 21st century:

  • Quentin Crisp
  • Dirk Bogarde
  • Paul Anka
  • David Bowie
  • Adam Ant
  • Michael Hutchence
  • Prince
  • Justin Beaver (yes, that's definitely a fop)

David Bowie...quite foppish in this pic

Yep, definitely fop hair
Glam Metal Hair
Heavy metal fop hair, found in glam-metal bands are an interesting variation on the fop theme, with their highly stylised skyscaper hair, faintly reminiscent of Louis XV  powdered wigs - definitely lots of effort expended on styling those beauties.  Glam rockers however, are at pains to  point out, you don't necessarily have to be a fop to wear fop hair:

"We're not ashamed of a little make-up and hairspray. We've always said it takes a real man to wear make-up."~Brett Michaels, Poison