The predominantly British tradition of barristers wearing horsehair wigs in court has a number of purposes, including the projection of authority or solemnity and the preservation of anonymity. Although many barristers see it as a negative effect, wigs also often serve to intimidate.
The traditional barrister dress, which also includes a black gown, has drawn heated criticism in recent times for being outdated, with many barristers arguing in favor of their abolition. One of the principal arguments against them is that they make barristers seem out of touch with modernity.
Indeed, the practice started in the 16th century, when the wearing of wigs was commonplace among intellectuals and the wealthy.