I remember wigs back in the ’60′s when I was a kid. My sister–13 years my senior–had a whole bunch of them. She’d by them at Bamberger’s wig department (in New Jersey, Bamberger’s later became Macy’s–and the wig department was Tovar Tresses) and at other stores too. Wigs were a necessary and ubiquitous accessory if one wanted that big, big sexy 60′s
hair. Everyone wore them. Raquel Welch, known for having some ginormous hair in the 60′s, admitted to wearing wigs and even started her own wig line, available through a lot of wig retailers both online and off. Wigs were staples in the wardrobe of just about every young woman in the 1960s.
By the 1970′s, wigs had made their way to the deep discount stores, and lots of older women were also wearing them, mostly because the beauty standard for hair, which consisted of the weekly wash-and-set, complete with teasing, could be brutal on middle-aged hair. Wigs became synonymous with hair loss and old age….
I’d always loved wigs, mostly because I’d loved watching my older sister wear them. I thought they made her glamorous. So, when I became a young adult in the 80′s, I bought myself a few wigs, and to have that black bobbed dominatrix look when I didn’t want my beautiful wine-red pompadour.
Over the years, I’ve suffered with stress related hair loss and illness related hair loss (mostly from hypothyroidism,) and a number of bad hair cuts, usually the product of a bad stylist who can’t deal with cowlicks in both front and back as well as thinness. I kept my hair short for a long time because of this, and when I wanted long hair, I resorted to wigs. Wigs, though, could be hot and uncomfortable–as I discovered when I tried to wear one on vacation in Florida a few years ago. ….
Yet according to an article in the Sunday Style section of the New York Times, wigs may be making a comeback for the average American woman. As quoted in full in the article, New York-based commercial hairstylist Peter Gray believes women now opt for wigs out of convenience–mostly to make things go a lot easier when confronted with the Very Bad Hair Day.
We’ve all had those days – heck, as I sometimes like to say, I’m having a bad hair life.
A good wig, though–one that will look like your own hair, only a bit better–is rather costly. There are lots and lots of synthetic hair wigs of all types, but they don’t quite measure up to human hair. And unlike synthetic wigs, most human hair wigs will need some, if not full, styling. So, the wig will need to be styled by someone who knows how to style wigs, not just your average hair cutter. It may be hard to find someone who can style wigs, if you don’t live in an urban area, and if you don’t know where to look (the stylist might not be listed in the Yellow pages or even on Google.)
While it sounds like a super idea–have a wig or two of human hair on hand to wear on those days when you don’t feel like styling it, or when it’s just not doing what it should do–the cost-prohibitiveness of it might not make it a great option for us “everyday women.”
Then there’s the gossip factor. Since wigs mostly have been associated with cancer patients and other catastrophic hair loss events, if one shows up wearing a wig that is slightly less than natural looking–say, a length far longer than natural–there may be some tongues-a-waggin’. If you don’t care, or if you live in a place where fashion is actually fun and you can get away with wearing a wig as a fashion statement, by all means do! Enjoy it! We should all be able to change our appearance whenever we want without raising so many eyebrows.