Benjamin Franklin's likeness from his later years in life is the one that is best remembered in history: white scarf tucked in at the collar, wire-rimmed spectacles and long, white hair that framed a balding head. He was also known to wear the powdered wigs of the 18th century, which were a common fashion item for both men and women. Dressing your child up like Ben Franklin is easy and fun -- getting the hair right is the key.
Balding Hair Wig
The easiest wigs to find for Ben Franklin costumes are those that make the top half of the head bald. These are a combination of a latex, flesh-colored top that is fringed with either white or brown hair running parallel from ear to ear across the back of the head. Try looking for these online or in a specialty costume shop.
Ben Franklin's portraits sometimes portrayed him wearing a powdered wig. These were a full head of hair styled in ringlets and made white with excessive amounts of powder. More affluent wig wearers tied their ringlets back with ribbon. These are also easy to find or make for a costume because you can use any wig styled in this fashion and powder it yourself.
If your child has little or no hair, try using a hairpiece that can be run across the back of the head, then hooked onto each ear using a loop of string. Hair extensions are perfect for this because they can be purchased in sections that are 5 to 6 inches long, from the point of attachment to the ends. These can be found online, in costume stores or in beauty supply stores.
Wig Hair Styles
If your child has naturally long hair, style it like a powdered wig from the 18th century, and powder it white yourself using baby powder. Tie it back with a ribbon that matches the rest of the costume. Complement the costume with wire-rimmed glasses and a period-appropriate suit.
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