The Neat Whiteface Clown
The Neat Whiteface Clown, also called the Standard Whiteface wears a make-up and costume style that is exactly what it is called: neat.
The Neat Whiteface Clown is similar to the European Whiteface Clown in that facial features are only slightly exaggerated or not at all. That, however, is where the similarities end.
Neat Whiteface Clown
The lower lip may be painted down just a little farther than the natural lip line with the upper lip painted white like the rest of the face and neck. If there is a nose accent it is painted red; a small heart or flower shaped nose tip that is glued on is becoming more and more common. The eyebrows are usually thin to accent but not to detract and may be shaped simply or artistically, although not to the extent of the European Whiteface. White, red, and black are the only make-up colors a Neat Whiteface may use.
Traditionally, the Whiteface costume was either a one-piece jumpsuit or a loose-fitting two-piece costume. The sleeves and pants could be straight, ruffled or pantalooned or fully gathered at the wrists and ankles. Often he wore a large ruffle at the neck. This is often referred to as the "Pierrot-style costume."
As clowning in the United States grew, the Pierrot-style costume became more popular than the traditional European styling. From this came the flowing one and two-piece clown suits (usually white with colored trim) common from the late 18th through the mid-20th centuries. The one-piece clown suit is still popular but is now found in very colorful fabrics and patterns.
Connie "Sparkles" Woehler
& Lois "Ms. Pinkie" McCulley)
The Neat (Standard) Whiteface Clown wears a well fitting costume. It may appear flowing or billowing but is never too large or small. A traditional one or two piece jumpsuit with ruffles and bunched about the wrists and ankles could be worn but so could a two piece outfit or a costume resembling a tuxedo or a dress for the female clown.
The Whiteface Clown is the only clown type that may wear glitter or fabric/accents that sparkle and the Neat Whiteface often takes advantage of this! As the name states, everything in the costume and make-up is very neat and matches perfectly. Fabrics such as satins and silks (shiny and theatrical) adorned with sequins, rhinestones etc. can be used. The whole appearance should be very well coordinated. Shoes can be normal or over-sized but simple and not outrageous. Gloves are to cover the whole hand and exposed wrists, in a color that matches the outfit (white for competitions).
The Neat Whiteface may be seen with a bald cap with a hat or, just as often, a brightly colored wig and hat that coordinates with his costuming.
Circus clowns started as fill-in entertainment between acts and slowly became the stars of the show! As clown acts evolved and became longer and more detailed, clown costumes and make-up began changing, also. The Neat Whiteface can now be seen in just about any type of costume and every color of the rainbow - but always coordinated and, well, neat!
Find out more about the 'evolution of the Whiteface Clown here.
George L. Fox
Famous Neat (Standard) Whiteface Clowns
- Dan Rice (1823-1901)
- George Fox (1825-1877)
- Bobby Kaye (1908-1983)
- "Prince Paul" Alpert(1913-1987)
- Glenn "Frosty" Little (1925-2010)
Be sure to check out the other Whiteface Clown styles:
European (Classic) WhitefaceandGrotesque (Comedy) Whiteface