For the infant who has everything (but hair)

Mary
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Here at mental_floss, we know a lot of people (our president included) who have recently had babies. May we present the perfect shower gift, from Baby Toupee?

And yes, that one on the left is called "The Donald."

The history of wigs, after the jump.

Wikipedia says:

Wigs have been worn for thousands of years; the ancient Egyptians, for instance, wore them to protect their shaven heads from the sun. Other ancient peoples, including the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans also used wigs. Curiously, they are principally a Western form of dress; in the Far East they have rarely been used except in the traditional theatre of China and Japan.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the use of wigs fell into abeyance in the West for a thousand years, until revived in the 16th century as a means of compensating for hair loss or improving one's personal appearance. They also served a practical purpose; the unhygienic conditions of the time meant that hair attracted head lice, a problem that could be much reduced if natural hair was shaved and replaced with a more easily de-loused artificial hairpiece.

Royal patronage was crucial to the revival of the wig. Queen Elizabeth I of England famously wore a red wig, tightly and elaborately curled in a "Roman" style, and King Louis XIII of France pioneered wig-wearing among men from the 1620s onwards.

Periwigs or perukes for men were introduced into the English-speaking world with other French styles when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, following a lengthy exile in France. These wigs were shoulder-length or longer, imitating the long hair that had become fashionable among men since the 1620s. Their use soon became popular in the English court. ...

With wigs becoming virtually obligatory garb for men of virtually any significant social rank, wigmakers gained considerable prestige. A wigmakers' guild was established in France in 1665, a development soon copied elsewhere in Europe. Their job was a skilled one, as 17th century wigs were extraordinarily elaborate, covering the back and shoulders and flowing down the chest; not surprisingly, they were also extremely heavy and often uncomfortable to wear. Such wigs were expensive to produce, as the best examples were made from natural human hair; the hair of horses and goats was often used as a cheaper alternative.

During the 18th century wigs became smaller and more formal, with several professions adopting them as part of their official costumes; this tradition survives in a few legal systems. They were routinely worn in western European countries and the British colonies of North America. The wearing of wigs as a symbol of social status was largely abandoned in the newly created United States and France by the start of the 19th century, although it persisted a little longer in the United Kingdom. Women's wigs developed in a somewhat different way. They were worn from the 18th century onwards, although at first only surreptitiously, and full wigs in the 19th and early 20th century were not fashionable.

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August 30, 2006 - 6:15am
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