Hats vs. Wigs

During the Baroque period, the "musketeer's hat", decorated with plumes and feathers, became a fashion "must" for gentlemen: for followers of fashion, a round cape, a pointed moustache and this sumptuous hat were absolutely indispensable.

However, wigs started to reappear on the scene in the 17th Century which had not been seen in the West since the fall of the Roman Empire. They became a vital accessory for the King of France, Louis XIII, who was forced to wear headpieces every day because of his premature baldness, thus relaunching the fashion of wearing wigs across Europe. But, a bulky wig did not banish hats from the scene; even though they were no longer worn to protect the head, they continued to have an aesthetic role: a man had to carry a hat under his arm, ready to bow and curtsey before the ladies.

Only the hat's size changed during this period: a wide brim, too large to manage with a wig was replaced by the three-cornered hat made of beaver felt or velvet with gold trims, which returned to be worn on the head as soon as wigs became smaller and more manageable.

(Ex voto à Sainte Genevieve by Nicolas de Largilliere; Musketeer by Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier; Portrait of a Cavalier by Fra Galgario)


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