Instant Glamour: The Art of Wearing a Wig

Instant Glamour: The Art of Wearing a Wig

As a bellydancer, I am no stranger to wigs, but I didn’t consider myself an expert until I visited the holy temple of uber glamourous wigs (Fifi Mahoney’s in New Orleans). Imagine a showgirl’s heaven: a little boutique in the French Quarter of New Orleans with glitter, rhinestones, wigs and feathers everywhere! Autographed photos to Fifi of Marilyn, Bettie Page and Jayne Mansfield line the walls above the heads of wigs of every color in the rainbow. The window display has a pale blue glittery wig with a cupcake in the center!

All performers wear wigs. Almost every bellydancer I know wears some kind of hairpiece and I’ve heard from reputable sources that Shakira spends millions (yes millions!) of dollars on wigs per year. Wigs and hairpieces add immediate glamour and can create new exotic personas. As bellydancers and burlesque dancers, we love our costumes. If creativity in costumes is a must, then donning a wig is the piéce de résistance.

But why just wear wigs while performing? When bought and fitted properly that same wig purchased for a night of dress-up can be worn on other occasions. Where you ask? Having a romantic night with the significant other? Try wearing a wig to bring the element of role-play into the mix. For a girl’s night out, how about donning a long pony tail to add some giggles to the evening? Wearing a wig takes courage and bit of moxie that simultaneously transforms you and everyone around you. It serves as a reminder to not take life so seriously.

Here are some tips on finding the perfect hairpiece:

Start with a good foundation
Finding a great wig starts with having a good foundation. When trying on wigs in the costume shop or beauty store remember to pull your own hair taut or if you have a lot of hair french braid it and wear a wig cap. This way you’ll be able to see how the wig will naturally sit on your head without all the lumps and bumps of your own hair! If the thought of a complete wig frightens you, try a “fall” or half wig where you leave out the front and side portion of your hair. Professionals at beauty stores can assist you in making sure your hair is flat and the hairpiece is fitted properly.

Get wiggy with it
You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, right? Then don’t purchase a wig without at least taking it for a spin. Put it on and shimmy. Strut around the store and get into character. Trying on a wig in store will not only allow you to put on a variety of styles but will also lessen buyer’s remorse. There’s nothing worse than getting home and putting it on for the first time and feeling like you’re wearing a … wig. If you get the “wig jitters” out while looking at other pieces, you’ll be more comfortable wearing it out in public. ***This also applies to buying wigs and hairpieces online… don’t! Visit a beauty store and get acquainted with the pieces***

Synthetic, Human, oh my?
Aside from the style, the biggest decision is choosing a wig is whether to get a synthetic hairpiece or to opt for human hair. There are benefits to both; human hair can be styled with heating tools, blends better with your natural hair and lasts long. While synthetic wigs maintain the style after being washed and are less expensive. Try on a variety of both and make your decision based on how often you plan to wear it, how much versatility you need and how it feels.

Thou shalt see a stylist
While it may seem like a lot of trouble to go through for a hairpiece, having a professional stylist chop, feather, and flip it can have amazing results. If this is simply a teased wig for 80’s night, by all means forgo the salon. But if you’re planning on wearing when you perform, then a styling session can transform a simple store bought wig into a perfectly coiffed hairstyle every time you wear it.

Wear it with flair
Wearing a wig in public can bring about so many insecurities. “Does it look real?” “Can everyone tell?” “Do I look foolish?” To those questions there is one answer–“Who Cares!” Wigs are meant to be fun and daring and while they shouldn’t look like a Chia Pet growing atop your head, they won’t look ‘real’ either. When fitted properly and worn with a flat foundation a wig should look like a stylish extension of you. When worn with your natural personality and confidence people will remember you as the beautiful girl with enough “cajones” to wear a beautiful wig.

It might not come as a surprise, but I love dressing up! I would love to see your wigs and hear your stories of transformation through hairpieces!

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Jerome Fortin wrote:
Life is hard enough, sometimes, a little non-sense can go a long
way and make us a little wiser too.

Fri, December 10, 2010 @ 2:18 AM

2. Jennifer Kiser wrote:
I wore a wig to be Bettie Page for Halloween. It definitely helped to play around with it first!

Fri, December 10, 2010 @ 2:19 AM

3. Lisa Freeman McDaniel wrote:
Gettin wiggy, I'm so into a sexy mrs Santa wig this year. ;)

Fri, December 10, 2010 @ 2:20 AM

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