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Powdered Wigs Essay

1023 words - 5 pages

To many people, style is everything. Style is what creates your image. You can tell a lot about someone by the clothes they wear to the type of haircut they get. Fashion may be indispensable to some and others might care less. In the 1700s the trend was hair. Hair was important because it was how you were viewed in society. Wigs, as simple as they may be, had an important role in colonial society.
In colonial times, the hair style that was put to shame was bald. People did not want to become bald. The people who were already bald felt embarrassed. Wigs were the solution to this predicament. Being bald was like wearing a dunce cap on you head all the time. If you wanted to be respected and treated as such, you could not be bald. Although male pattern baldness is natural, disease had a role into the wig fib as well. Syphilis also caused the need for wigs. Back then, STDs were very common among men and women. Syphilis caused baldness. To cover up the fact that one was bald, a wig would be needed. Personal hygiene was another reason for wigs. Personal hygiene was not a normal thing for people back then. They rarely, if ever, showered. This caused lice to infect their natural growing hair. The lice would begin to eat away at their hair and scalp. Wigs were needed once more to, again, hide baldness. These reasons lead to a jump start in the world of wig making.
Wigs were not popular at first. They were viewed like a kid being embarrassed about his teddy bear. The little kid cannot sleep without it but he does not want his friends to find out that he sleeps with a teddy bear. It was not until 1655, when Louis XIV wore a wig, that wigs were thought of as a sign of high class rather than a symbol of embarrassment. At the age of 17 King Louis’ hair started to fall off. He was scared that people would not view him with such respect anymore. He hired wigmakers to try to save his valuable reputation. King Louis’ cousin, Charles II, did the same thing when his hair started to fall off. This was the beginning of the wig trend. Soon, a wig would be essential to the high class and a luxury to the lower class. To these kings, hair was a necessity. Being bald was like being stripped of your image. It sounds weird but a modern example is an outfit. When that outfit comes off you’re just a naked body. You do not show any sign of individuality or image. That is what it was like to these kings. Having no hair was like being stripped of their reputation and respect. Everybody wanted to get on the new fashion craze. It was just like when the iPhone started to be more popular to teens. Everybody wanted them. The demand for wigs soon skyrocketed. In this scenario you pay more money for how elaborate you wanted the wig to be. A cheap wig would be about 25...

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