How often are barrister’s wigs washed?

In the UK, and in some countries formerly part of the British Empire, they maintain the strange habit of making barristers (attorneys) wear wigs. Apparently these wigs, traditionally made out of horsehair, are very expensive, so barristers often own only one. And according to the South China Morning Post, barristers rarely wash them, so over time the wigs start to smell bad:

Tong said he had never washed or dry-cleaned the wig before, for fear that it would fall apart. "It is made of horsehair that is glued together and is not very strong."
In fact, few lawyers would have their wigs cleaned as there is an odd perception that an old and discoloured wig is a better symbol of seniority. But the rows of white curls can become stale and smelly as they absorb sweat and oil from the scalp. A court dress shop in Admiralty charges HK$760 to wash it.

This info is seconded by

The aim of most barristers is to achieve a wig with a worn and matured look to create the impression of experience when standing before a judge.

"None of them likes to look the new boy," says David John Harris, manager of the legal department at Ede and Ravenscroft, which has been manufacturing wigs for barristers, judges and royalty since 1726. "If it is really grubby looking, it looks like they've been around," he says.

Barristers will go to great lengths to make their wigs look fashionably old. There are a number of tried and tested ways to age one, including stamping on it, kicking it in the dirt, giving it to kids, letting the dog at it, or shaking it in a Hoover bag...

Wigs should last for 100 years but are often damaged by perspiration. Ede and Ravenscroft suggests cleaning wigs every four to five years, while Thresher and Glenny recommends every 25 to 30 years. "The longer you leave it, the better it is," says Hill.

The sweet smell of tradition!
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 23, 2013
     Category: Fashion | Headgear | Law

For starters; $760HKD is about $95US or 74Euros.

And, thus, we learn that the term "Stinking Lawyer" actually comes from allegations levied against the alleged article of apparel of interest.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/23/13 at 09:57 AM
How quaint. And I thought that my hockey gloves smelled bad. They were never cleaned in the four years of youth hockey.
Posted by KDP on 01/23/13 at 11:49 AM
Don't tell me, KDP, that you're one of those superstitious guys that never wash their "lucky jock-strap".

No, seriously, DON'T TELL ME!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/23/13 at 11:54 AM
Can't wash a hockey glove - it's all leather and no dry cleaner will take them. Did I mention that they smelled BAD?
Posted by KDP on 01/23/13 at 05:55 PM
Gross! Don't they worry about getting a scalp infection or something?? Yuck!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/23/13 at 08:05 PM
Not that I think anyone else cares, barristers are precisely the lawyers who argue cases in court. Solicitors, who simply wear suits, are lawyers who draw up contracts and wills and stuff like that. They also, in most circumstances, prepare the cases that barristers argue, and then instruct the barristers, who are simply hired guns. The things I learn reading British detective novels! One exception is that the Legal Aid Fund won't pay two lawyers to work on each case, so legal aid barristers have to prepare their own cases (source: Rumpole of the Bailey). Another is that a prisoner in the dock who is unrepresented may demand the services of any barrister present in his wig and robes who is not already engaged (source: a John Dickson Carr novel, The Judas Window).
Posted by John Ayer on 01/24/13 at 11:57 AM
How about blog harassment? Know any attorneys for that?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/23/13 at 12:25 PM
BTW, I went over to their site and hit the 'contact' button and sent them a little message of my own! I'm awaiting a repl.... oops! sent the wrong e-mail address!

Click here to send your own little SPAM message back.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/23/13 at 12:29 PM
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