Why Did People Wear Curly Wigs in the 1700s?
For the wealthier people in the 1600s and 1700s, wigs were the only thing to wear. The fashion started in France, when Louis XIV began wearing a long, curly wig to hide his baldness.
Soon, every fashionable man and woman in Europe and the 13 colonies were wearing wigs as a flattering imitation of royalty. Wigs then became large and heavy.
A person who wore one was called a “bigwig.” For a man, a trip to the barber meant getting his head shaved and having his wig powdered.
Some wigs were powdered white. Others were pink, silver, or even blue! For nearly two centuries, powdered wigs—called perukes—were all the rage.
The chic hairpiece would have never become popular, however, if it hadn’t been for a venereal disease, a pair of self-conscious kings, and poor hair hygiene.
But by the late 18th century, French citizens ousted the peruke during the Revolution, and Brits stopped wearing wigs after William Pitt levied a tax on hair powder in 1795.