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Why Did People Wear Powdered Wigs Explained

Over the years, fashion has generally evolved. Reviewing the history of hair trends; there has been a transition from powdered wigs to fancy modern wigs. However, there is a major difference between the old-school wigs and the modern-day wigs.

Powdered wigs were specifically created to save people from embarrassment. Modern hair, on the other hand, is mostly for beautification purposes. You have probably seen magistrates and lawyers wearing the infamous powdered wigs. At one point you must have been curious to know how this trend came to be.

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Wigs made their first appearance during the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) which made wigs significant wear. The main reason why courtroom officials wore wigs was a pure result of influence.
The fact that noble people including Kings wore the powdered wigs prompted the decision to welcome the style.

When Were Powdered Wigs Invented?

As we all know, there is a story behind every invention and powdered wigs are not an exception. Unlike other interesting fashion trends, these wigs were created for what has been described by many as a disgusting reason.
The conceptualization of wearing powdered wigs can be traced back to the 17th century.

The trend was viewed as fashionable until the 18th century. It was mainly associated with class and was a remedy to cover up baldness. Prolific hair symbolized status among the European upper class and baldness would attract ridicule and mockery.

Here are the three main reasons why powdered wigs were a necessary invention:

1. To Hide Syphilis Wounds

Many inventions come about as a need to counter a challenge. The trend of powdered wigs came about as a temporary solution to the syphilis victims who suffered hair loss, open sores and rashes. It was during the syphilis outbreak that wig making became a booming activity due to the demand.

The wigs were made of horse, goat or human hair. There is no doubt that people could easily notice that anyone who wore it was trying to cover up the illness or baldness. The wigs were however beneficial and valuable to the affected.
Powdered wigs in the 17th and 18th century were not as stylish as compared to those of the 21st century. The main feature was that they were scented to avoid releasing the stench from the wounds of the victims.

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2. To Cover Baldness

People stopped associating the hair entirely with disgusting reasons after the King of France Louis XIV started battling hair loss. Reports indicate that the King was only 17 when his hair started falling off (premature baldness).

The king was worried that this would ruin his reputation. Louis hired 48 wigmakers to redeem his image.
The King of England is also listed among the high-class people who used the wigs back then. His hair had started to grey and wigs became a necessary put on for him. With two Kings being linked to powdered wigs; many people embraced the trend. The wigs were not just for the upper class but had spread down to people from the middle and lower class.

3. Influence

After the death of the two kings, the trend still lived on. It was not just a thing for the royals but it became a culture to the staff of the royal court. With such high demand, powdered wigs became so pricey and some could not afford to wear them. The government also placed high taxes on artificial hair. This made it even more difficult to buy the product.

Upholding tradition is a very strong human trait and this can explain why court officials wear powdered wigs till date. In some countries, those in the legal profession have kept up with the practice even though the culture was discontinued in other nations.

For example, countries like England and other British colonized territories like Canada, are among the provinces that abandoned the wigs throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In the countries where powdered wigs were outlawed, lawyers and judges only wear wigs during ceremonies.

Although some nations are strongly advocating for the wigs tradition in courtrooms to be completely scrapped off, men and women of the 21st century can term this invention as the best of all the time. The need for artificial hair products has contributed to the mushrooming hair business. This has equally boosted the living standards and economy of various countries.

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Apart from it being a source of income, it has boosted the esteem and confidence of individuals who are insecure about their natural hair. Our physical appearance always matters and a little enhancement from artificial hair can never fail us.

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