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 thelawyer.com
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!