Wigs Fancy Dress Accessories
Wig Tips* Most wigs will be packaged in a hairnet. Use this to keep your own hair tidy underneath the wig *
* If you plan to wear a hat over your wig, make sure the hat is large enough for the wig to fit *
* Rinse wig in a mild solution of warm water and fabric conditioner. Rinse and allow to dry naturally. *
Synthetic wigs are popular to complete your fancy dress costume for several reasons. They are much cheaper than a human hair wig and in recent years the look and feel of synthetic wigs look more like natural hair. Synthetic wigs weigh much less than human hair versions. They hold a style well, in fact they are difficult to re-style.
Synthetic wigs tend not to move as naturally as real hair and they will tend to frizz along collar lines. A wig made from synthetic hair is also sensitive to heat and can be easily damaged from a heat source such as a cigarette, radiator or a tumble dryer.
Machine made wigs are made by weaving hair onto into wefts (woven together to form a strip). These are sown in rows on to a net. If the wig is parted by the wind or by trying to style the wig, the net foundation will show through. If you are thinking about purchasing a wig from us, but want to use it for a specific purpose, speak to one of our staff who will be able to advise you if it will be possible. Call us 7 days a week on 01245 327156
We stock 100s of different fancy dress wigs to help you to complete your costumes. You may need to adapt them a bit. Take a look below where we go through the history of various hairstyles and which wigs we stock that you could use for each one of them.
How To Care For Your Costume Wig
* Try and keep your wig on a polystyrene head - we do sell these - as it will stop, especially long haired wigs, from getting tangled.
* Use your fingers, or a soft baby's brush to gently brush the hair. Do not use a hard brush as it will break the hair and cause the wig to frizz.
* Gently swirl the wig in warm water that has a drop of fabric conditioner in it. Rinse and allow to air dry.
* Do not use any form of heat to dry or to style the wig as it will be damaged, or even melt.
* Keep all wigs away from cigarettes and naked flames.
History of Hairstyles
In the heat of Egypt, noblemen and women clipped their hair close to the head. But for ceremonial occasions heavy, curly black wigs were worn. Womens wigs were often long and braided, adorned with gold ornaments or ivory hairpins. Men's faces were generally clean shaven, but stiff false beards were sometimes worn. We stock straight black wigs with a blunt fringe that are ideal for characters such as Cleopatra. Any black wig, straight or curly would be suitable for men and women.
In classical Greece womens hair was long and pulled back into a chignon. Many dyed their hair red with henna and sprinkled it with gold powder, often adorning it with fresh flowers or jewelled tiaras. Men's hair was short and even shaved on occasion. We stock many auburn coloured wigs that would be suitable to use as a base for a Grecian Costume. If you are trying to create a more dramatic look, take care when lifting sections of hair up, as you do not want to see the netting underneath.
The tendency was to follow Greek styles. The upper classes would use curling irons and favoured the gold powdered look of the Greeks. Women often dyed their hair blonde or wore wigs made from hair of captive civilization slaves. Later, hairstyles became more ornate with hair curled tight and piled high on the head often shaped around wire frames. If you are trying to create a more dramatic look, take care when lifting sections of hair up, as you do not want to see the netting underneath. It is easier to use a ringlet wig to get the right effect as these wigs have a good hair covering which makes it easier to pin the hair up and decorate. The upper classes were attended to by slaves or visited public barber shops.
Unmarried Chinese girls hair was usually worn long and braided whilst women combed the hair back from the face and wound into a knot at the nape. The Manchu regime of the time dictated that men shaved the front of the head and wore the back hair long and braided, tied with black silk.
At Props & Frocks, we stock short black bob wigs that work very well with Chinese costumes. We also stock long black wigs that can be plaited, or tied into a knot, for ladies. For men, we do stock the traditional bald front and long pigtail going down the back. We also stock Coolie hats with (and without) attached pigtails.
Males in Japan also shaved the front of the head but kept the back hair pulled tightly into a short stiff ponytail. During the Medieval period womens hair had been long and loose but by the 17th century the hair became more styled, swept up from the nape of the neck and adorned with pins and jewelled combs. Geisha womens hairdos were especially elaborate, high and heavily lacquered and often enhanced with hairpieces.
To complete your Japanese costume, men could wear the bald head front with long plait at the back (you would need to unbraid the plait to allow the hair to fall in a pony tail). For ladies costumes, we stock a Geisha Girl wig, which is black and tied up in a knot above the neck.
Native American (North & South)
Native American Indians were divided in their hairstyles those on the East Coast sporting entirely shaved heads save for a ridge of hair along the crown (Mohican), whilst Plains Indians, both men and women, wore the typically recognized long braids adorned with feathers.
In our punk range, we stock Mohican wigs, but our general indian wigs tend to be straight black, with a centre parting and an attached headband with feathers, for men, and, black plaited wigs, with headband and feathers for women.
Further South the Incas wore black headbands over relatively, short often bobbed hair, whilst Aztec women plaited their hair entwined with strips of coloured cloth then wound around the head. The Mayan nobility, although having shaved heads, donned high, ornate headdresses.
The Western World - 15th century
During the Renaissance period the ladies of the upper classes really took plucking to its limit! Plucking the entire front hairline away to give the appearance of a higher forehead! The rest of the hair was tightly scraped back to show off the elaborate headdresses of the day.
Most fancy dress costumes of this period do have headdresses. We would recommend that you do not wear a wig as well as this will feel very bulky and may be uncomfortable to wear all evening.
Queen Elizabeth was the main female icon and set the trends for the era. Her lily-white complexion and red tresses set women everywhere rushing for white face powder and red wigs. Those really serious about achieving a pallid complexion used the very successful but highly poisonous white lead, adding glowing cheeks with – lead based rouge! Follow this with a thin layer of egg-white to bind it all together and you were ready to party (and die probably quite soon after!)
It is diffiuclt to get the Elizabeth I look with our costume wigs, as our red, curly wigs will tend to make you look more like a clown than a queen. Take a look at our aurburn wigs to see if you can adapt them to suit
The 18th century saw the emergence of elaborate wigs, mile-high coiffures and highly decorated curls. White powdered wigs with long ringlets were the fashion of the day often tied back with a black bow for men or decorated with feathers, bows and garlands for women. Big hair was definitely the 'in' thing.
If you think Cinderella at the ball, then this is what this era is all about. Ringlet wigs can be used for ladies, you will need to take up pieces toget the piled up effect (take care not to show the netting underneath). Wigs are available to purchase for both men and women. Men should look at barrister wigs, or get a standard ladies wig and tie it at the back with a large piece of ribbon (think Prince Charming)
The emphasis was on natural beauty. Hair was supposed to look sleek, shiny and healthy and styles were altogether more elegant and demure. The hair was often smoothed down with oils and curled into long ringlets. Hairnets were often worn during the day to keep curls confined and clipped to the back of the head with a simple comb or bow. 'Loose' hair would have been considered vulgar. Men of the time kept their hair relatively short, and most would have worn some form of moustache, beard and sideburns.
The 'Roaring Twenties' saw the emergence of short, bobbed and waved styles (Marcel). Make-up was very much back in fashion powder, rouge and very red lips were 'in' . Men's hair remained short, as in the Victorian era but was most often worn with a centre parting and slicked back using brilliantine.
1920s wigs are available to purchase for ladies in black and blonde and will help you to complete your charleston of flapper costumes. Men will need to purchase a short mens wig and use gel on it to get the desired look.
1940's women had soft curls falling onto the shoulders or long, wavy natural looks. Practical or working women wore their hair in a neat roll around the neck and over the ears, often covered with a headscarf knotted at the front leaving only the fringe exposed.
The 'domestic goddess' look was fashionable. Ladies wore shoulder 'Flick out' hair. Many wore alice bands or ribbon in their hair. Men wore greased back hair with sideburns and quiffs.
There is a lot of great choice for wigs in this era. Men should look at the Elvis or Greaser wigs. Ladies wore their hair in a number of different ways. For inspiration think of the film grease, it was set in the 50's. If you just take Sandy, he hair went from a sedate blonde bob to mad curls which are more typical of the 80's.
Back-combed beehive hairstyles with a fringe or left their hair longer to wear it loose adorning it with flowers or ribbons during the fashionable 'hippy' phase. Mary Quant also influenced the short bob to be worn with 'mod' dresses. The Beatles influenced many men to have their hair cut into a 'pudding basin' style or grew it long if they were a hippy.
So much choice from our range of fancy dress wigs for this era. Huge beehives are available, and short mod bobs and long hippy style wigs give ladies plenty of hairstyle options. Beatle style wigs are available to purchase as are mens wigs with flicks on the fringe and mad hippy wigs.
Long, free and natural best describes hair in the 1970's. Manes of free-falling curls, soft partings and long fringes. The cult-series 'Charlie's Angels' depicted everything that 70s woman should be. Men had longer, flick out styles, layers and tight afros. Spiked hair, dyed many different colours were worn by the many punks roaming the streets.
Again, a huge choice of fancy dress wigs in this era. You can choose from Punk Mohicans, to pimp afros or gentle flicks, it depends on which costume you are going to be wearing. Take a look at our 70s accessory section, you will find everything you will need.
The long-bob was popular as were 'big' hairdos and two-tone hair. Masses of curls with huge bows. Choppy styles and asymmetric styles completed the 'New Romantic' look. The punk craze was also still present.
80s always means to me to be 'BIG' hair normally with a huge bow and lace. Take a look at our budget Curly Cher wig, this is ideal to use for ladies.