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Why British Lawyers And Judges Like To Wear White Wigs?

Jul.19,2022
This entry was posted in Knowledge By Jessica

I don't know if you have noticed that almost all lawyers and justices in British TV dramas and Chinese Hong Kong dramas wear white wigs when they appear in court? Their white wigs, like sheep's wool, were the earliest "wool roll" look. In the history book, the US President Washington is also a white wig. Why is this? Let's explore the past and present of white wigs together.

white wigs

Ⅰ. The history of white wigs: why do British judicial officers wear white wigs?

1. Fashion motivation: from a French king

Between 1700 and 1800, there was a massive syphilis outbreak in Europe. Symptoms of syphilis are hair loss. In order to try to cover up his hair loss symptoms and avoid public suspicion, King Louis wore a wig. At this time, his wig style is called pink wig. The concept of pink wigs appeared in France in the mid-17th century. King Louis XIII was the first responsible for this trend, as he wore a wig to cover up his premature baldness. As this trend began in the royal family, they developed a conservative position in high society. So nobles followed suit, and royal judges and lawyers were no exception. Since then, wearing white wigs has become their tradition. Wigs have swept the whole of Europe, and both men and women like to wear wigs to attend events. It has become a social etiquette.

white wigs

2. Class signs

In the strict class society in the past, the royal family was proud to wear wigs to symbolize their high royal dignity and power. Wigs have naturally become symbols of power and class. In particular, white wigs are worn the most.

3. Beautiful appearance

We know that hair loss is a problem for young people today. British judicial workers are no exception. In the Middle Ages, there was crazy hair loss due to overwork. In order to maintain a good image, lawyers and judges agreed to wear white wigs to enhance their appearance in the courtroom. When all the lawyers and judges wear white wigs, they focus on hearing the case rather than getting dressed, which increases efficiency. Over time, wearing a white wig has become a "sense of ritual" like wearing a lawyer's uniform.

white wigs

Ⅱ. Can lawyers only wear white wigs?

The answer is no. Generally speaking, lawyers wear wigs in four colors: white, blond, light gray and gray. Wearing black wigs is also rare. Styles are shawl large wigs and short wigs. Because the white wig they wear will accentuate a lot of the curls, plus the color of the white wig, it looks like wool.

Ⅲ. Another significance of lawyers and judges wearing white wigs

white wigs

The significance of wearing white wigs has been continuously valued with the evolution of history. Wearing a wig will create an aura, giving people a sense of justice and solemnity. This is what the judiciary of various countries pursues. This will act as a deterrent to offenders. Although wearing a wig was also dissatisfied and questioned by US President Jefferson, this did not prevent it from becoming a symbol of British justice together with the robe. Since feudal times, wigs have symbolized the dignity of the royal family. Today, wigs symbolize the majesty of the law in justice, and we can see the progress of the times.

Ⅳ. Fun fact: lawyers never wash white wigs

In fact, for judicial officers, the old and new sides of a wig reflect the qualifications of a judge or lawyer. The older the wig, the dirtier and darker the color, the longer and more experienced the lawyer has been in practice.

Ⅴ. White wigs and America

white wigs

Not just lawyers and judges, not just the UK. The royal family in the United States and many countries in Western Europe likes to wear white wigs as a symbol of power. George Washington was the first US president to wear a wig. But later, anti-British sentiment in the United States rose, and the United States also abolished the tradition of lawyers and judges wearing white wigs. But some people say that George Washington's own hair was red, and in pursuit of the fashion of white wigs, he dyed his hair white every day.

Ⅵ. Today's development of white wigs

white wigs

Today, the most we see wearing white wigs is at Comic-Con. Yes, many people may feel that white wigs in everyday life are a bit exaggerated. At Comic Con, people play characters and use white wigs to shape their faces and express the personality of anime characters. Many cartoon characters are modeled after gray hair. For example, Sesshomaru in the Japanese anime Inuyasha has white hair. With the continuous development and compatibility of society, white wigs are more and more favored by people, and they are moving from a niche stage to a public aesthetic.

What is a white wig?

A person wearing a white wig; especially the (name) of a lawyer or judge, especially a newly qualified person.

Why was white hair fashionable in the 18th century?

White hair wigs were popular because they were expensive and rare, so men and women began (in the early 18th century) to use white powder to color wigs and hair because it was less damaging than dye.

Who was the last president to wear a powdered wig?

Monroe Monroe was the last U.S. president to wear a pink wig, cocked hat, and knee-length breeches, in keeping with late 18th-century fashion. This earned him the nickname "the last cocked hat".

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