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Costume Wigs - Let Them Go To Your Head

Aug 17, 2007
Costume wigs are more than just simple hairpieces. They can be reminiscent of a period in history, or of an character's attitude, behavior, and secrets; and should go with the actor's or costume wearer's appearance. In film and theater productions, entire teams are assembled and devoted o making costume wigs. They are considered to be experts in history, make-up, and psychology. Costume wig makers wear even more thinking hats than those who wear their creations. Indeed, movies, plats, and entire parties rest their art and enjoyment on costume wigs. Costume wigs should succeed in making the unremarkable beautiful, the beautiful grotesque, and the grotesque just downright macabre.

I. Types Of Wigs

1. Stone Age
Bristly and large, these wigs resemble teased hair which has been run repeatedly through a washing machine's spin cycle before being thrown, albeit vainly, into the garbage disposal.

2. Greek or Roman
These wigs are elaborate, especially for women. They will usually be piled with curls and braids, and be interwoven with jewelry and pearls.

3. Medieval
Although these costume wigs are often hidden behind large headdresses and veils, the war costume wigs are as bright and exposed as caveman hair. The hair shocks will stick out at angles, and will be embedded with blood and pebbles.

4. Victorian
Always powdered white, this may be embellished with ribbons and pearls. Women's Victorian costume wigs will be bulky and piled atop their heads, and contain layers of heavy braids.

5. Roaring Twenties
These are a favorite among costume wigs because they are small and simple, with tendrilling curls framing the brow for women, and neatly combed and parted hairpieces for the men.

6. Modern
These costume wigs comprise a broad range of styles and fits. They can be used to disguise a character, enhance a character's looks, or simply change a character's appearance. Such wigs can be used to dress up spies, partygoers, and exotic dancers.

7. Fantasy
Fantasy costume wigs cover the range of make-believe fairy worlds as in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; invented alien worlds such as those in Star Wars of Star Trek, and horror situations such as those that exist in horror movies.

II. Color

A costume wig's color and appearance contribute greatly to showing off a character. Caveman wigs are usually dark; Roman and Greek wigs dark or golden; Victorian powdered white, with increasing whiteness showing greater wealth; Roaring Twenties dark; and modern and fantasy wigs all colors and styles of choice. Although not often followed, warm colors such as deep reds can denote warmth at one end, and extreme anger or rage at another. Deep, dark colors such as black connote brains and sophistication. Light yellows and gold may signal youth, sprightliness, and lack of intellect (hence the dumb blonde stereotype). White can mean age, wealth, wisdom, and even neutrality or peace. Hot neon colors, although for the most part confined to the costume party crowd, can actually reflect a character's need to be noticed, which may be due to the same character's inner strife.

III. Benefits

- Adds character to a character
- Looks good on the wearer
- A long face can be widened
- A wide, cherubic face can be lengthened to look less childish

IV. Considerations

Equally important are the actors' skin tone and eye color. Dark skin will usually be complimented by dark colored wigs, and light skin will usually be complimented by light colored eyes. Pale skin paired with starkly dark hair can give characters a harsh look, and can be used to convey ideas of inner conflict, cruel intentions, or even sickness.

Costume wigs can be made from a variety of materials. Real human hair can be woven into wigs, although such wigs will often be more expensive. Most wigs nowadays are made from synthetic materials, providing the wig with a both eye and camera friendly (though unnatural) sheen. The industry choice, however, is yak hair, which is not only inexpensive, but close in consistency and appearance to human hair as well.
About the Author
For more great costume wig related articles and resources check out http://www.wigadvice.com
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