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National Wig Out Day

People are encouraged to wear whatever type of hair they'd like today. Different styles and different colors—it's all possible by picking out the right wig. National Wig Out Day was created in 2006 by sisters Kate and Alice Clark, who convinced residents in their city of Bellingham, Washington, to wear wigs to their jobs on the day of the inaugural celebration. At the end of the day, wig-wearing celebrants gathered downtown for a party. The day caught on and National Wig Out Day spread across the country.

Wigs are made of human hair, animal hair, or synthetic fiber. Some people wear them on a regular basis because of their convenience, since they can be styled ahead of time. They are also worn by those who have hair loss, including those who have lost hair on account of medical issues, such as cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy. Celebrities have been known to wear wigs and popularize them. Wigs are worn at costume or fancy dress parties and are common during Halloween. Some judges, barristers, and other civic or municipal officials in some parts of the world wear wigs. Actors in theater, film, and television also regularly wear wigs.

Wigs date back to ancient Egypt, where they were worn by people who had cut their hair short. Kept in place with beeswax and resin, the wigs protected their wearers from the sun. Egyptians weren't the only ancient peoples to wear wigs; so did Phoenicians, Assyrians, Romans, Greeks, and Jews in ancient Israel. Sometime later they were worn in China, Japan, and Korea.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, wigs weren't used in the West until the sixteenth century. At that time, they were used much as they are today: to improve appearance or cover up hair loss. They also helped to prevent head lice. English royals began wearing wigs in the early seventeenth century. Later in the century, perukes or periwigs—wigs that were at least shoulder-length—came in vogue. These tended to be expensive and elaborate and were worn by those of higher social rank.

In the eighteenth century, men's wigs were powdered so they looked white or off-white, and were worn for important social occasions. Women tended to not wear wigs. Wigs became smaller, and some became associated with certain professions, being worn by judges and bishops. By the end of the century, wigs were largely only common with older, conservative men, and with ladies presented at court.

Early in the nineteenth century, following the emergence of the United States and a new France, the wearing of wigs as a symbol or social status was largely jettisoned. In general, wigs were not prominent or fashionable in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The development of affordable, synthetic wigs made of modacrylic fiber in the 1960s paved the way for a resurgence of wigs, and ultimately, for a holiday like National Wig Out Day to come about.

How to Observe National Wig Out Day

Celebrate by wearing a wig! Any style or color will do! If you have to go to work today, make sure to wear it there. Afterward, gather with your friends and have a party. Perhaps you could party downtown, just like the organizers of the first National Wig Out Day did.

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