Why Did Colonial Men Wear Wigs?

Colonial men wore wigs in the 17th and 18th centuries because they were considered fashionable, according to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. They had become extremely popular in England and in France before spreading to the colonies, first in the higher classes and then extending through the population.

The periwig was the first popular style of wig. It was a full wig with long curls hanging down onto the shoulders and back. The peruke eventually took the place of the periwig for many wearers due to its lighter and less awkward nature, according to AmericanRevolution.org. The short bob also became an option with a long queue hanging down the back out of the way. Made of animal hair or human hair, these wigs often had a bad odor, so men began to powder them to mask the smell. Even men who did not wear a wig often powdered their own hair to look more stylish.