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Wigs in colonial Williamsburg

Throughout western history wigs have come and gone from fashion, but it is undeniably the 18th century that was the golden age of male wig wearing. In the second half of the prior century wigs had entered into court fashion in both England and France. In the early years of the 18th century the Full Bottomed Periwig reigned with its cascade of curls. As the century progressed, the proportion of the wig generally decreased and the variety of fashionable forms expanded greatly.
By mid century wig wearing was available to most levels of society for the individuals who chose to do so. (Click images to enlarge)


While certain styles of wigs became associated with particular professionals; the vast majority of wigs had no particular connotations. Made of human, horse, goat, or yak hair, the choice of material and styles changed constantly with fashion and personal preferences. In the closing decade of the century the wearing of wigs was less common amongst the young and fashionable sort, although some conservatives continued to wear wigs into the 19th century.


Learn more:

The Wigmaker


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