Taxonomy of the Sheitel

A Complete Guide to Religious Jewish Wigs

Martyna Starosta

By Frimet Goldberger

Published August 04, 2014, issue of August 08, 2014.

(page 3 of 3)

Orthodox Wigs

Other Jewish women who don wigs are the Litvish — that is, non-Hasidic ultra-Orthodox women who are part of a central community in Lakewood, New Jersey, but also reside in places like Boro Park and Monsey — as well as mainstream Orthodox, Modern Orthodox and Chabad-Lubavitch women in communities across America. The length of a sheitel can indicate a level of piety, but it’s not a totally accurate indicator: Some women prefer wearing short wigs on weekdays and longer, heavier wigs that require more maintenance on the Sabbath and holidays; others, still, follow the latest hair trends and styles from celebrities and magazines, wearing short bobs or long, bouncy waves. These women wear only human hair wigs, which cover their natural hair (they don’t shave). The wigs range in price from $600 to $1,900. Very long wigs cost more.

Shoulder Length Wig

This wig ends at or a few inches below the shoulder, measuring about 12 to 15 inches in length. These wigs are customarily worn by frum, pious, Litvish women and are typically made of fine human hair. They are versatile, and can be styled demurely with few layers and stiff bangs for more conservative women, or fashionably with waves and trendy bangs for more liberal women.

Kurt Hoffman


Below-the-Shoulder Wig

A below-the-shoulder wig measures about 16 to 18 inches in length. These wigs are also usually made of human hair, virgin or processed, and are typically worn by modern Litvish and mainstream Orthodox women across the country. They are also really popular in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, the global center for Lubavitch Hasidim.

Kurt Hoffman


Ultra-Long Glam Wig

This wig ranges from 19 to 26 inches in length. These long, bouncy and glamorous sheitels are manufactured and styled to resemble one’s own hair, and may cost upward of $3,000. They are worn by Modern Orthodox and young Lubavitch women. These wigs are also popular among ex-Hasidic women who reject the modesty stringencies of their Hasidic communities, yet remain Orthodox and self-identify as “modern Hasidic.”

Kurt Hoffman


Fall

A fall is a wig that is worn a few inches past the hairline, leaving several inches of one’s natural hair exposed. (This style is permitted because of a 20th century rabbinical ruling.) The fall can be cut to varying lengths, but it’s typically worn 18 to 26 inches long. The wig hairline may be concealed with a headband or a hat, or by pulling out a chunk of real hair and pinning or brushing it away from the face, so as to blend it in with the rest of the wig. A fall is the most modern wig.

Kurt Hoffman




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