The Hats (and Wigs) of Poldark

Unlike Downton Abbey, where the men’s fashions are semi-afterthoughts to the fabulous looks of the women, Poldark is far more equal opportunity. Partly it’s the time period in which the show is set. The Georgian Era was still a time of male peacocking, with buckled shoes, and powdered wigs and brightly colored silks. The Federalist era is when much of this began to come to an end, as rebellions and revolutions brought with it a new sense of income equality, and the protestant movements began dictating severe looks for both men and women.

But Ross Poldark, despite his own egalitarian leanings, is still part of the upper classes. And when we meet him, he is sporting the trend of day: the tricorne hat.

1 Captain poldark soldier
Ross, carrying his hat, so we can swoon over his hair

Ok, well, not on his head. But you get the idea.

Ross, in his solidering hat, and perfect matching ponytail

“When wooing upperclass girls, always wear the gold trimmed tricorne.”

Nice head-samosa … Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza. Photograph: Robert
Ross, in his everyday wear hat

“When wooing kitchen maids, the plain one will do.”

4 gentlemen-of-Poldark
The hats are coming this way!

“The way to know your investors are with you is make sure your hats match.”

5 poldark miners
Hats look left!

“While when you hang out with the mining crowd, swap to the brown tinged tricorne instead. It’s a more ‘man of the people’ look.”

18 Jinny-in-her-wedding-outfit
Poor Jim and his Poor Brown Hat


“Brown hats, for the people!”

6 Charles-Poldark
Uncle Charles’ fancy tricorne

“Huff! Poldarks wear tricornes! That’s why Francis won’t ever make something of himself! How are you ever supposed to run a mine wandering around in a top hat like that?”

8 Francis-Poldark-in-a-huuuge-top-hat
Francis, in a clearly overcompensating top hat

“But I like my top hat! Top hats are cool in this period. George, go on, tell him! Top Hats are cool.”

10 george vs ross
George, in a hat that’s not nearly as cool as Ross’

“Francis shut up. I’m trying to convince Ross to trade.”

9 George-Warleggan-in-a-top-hat
It’s not that the hat is evil. It’s just the Warleggan wearing it.

“Fine, ok, top hats are cool, Francis. Wanna play cards with my cousin?”

11-charles-poldark wig
Uncle Charles’ wig disapproves of you on principle

“Harrrumph! Everyone knows respectable Poldarks wear wigs!”

12 robin ellis
Robin Ellis, being awesome

“I quite agree.”

13 Cary-Warleggan-1920X1080
Uncle Cary Warleggan, in a double whammy wig and top hat

“George, what was that about trading away your Warlegganly evil top hat?”

15 JackFarthing OffPol
George Warleggan, working hard to pull off sexy in a wig

“Nothing Uncle.”

cary warleggan turban
Uncle Warleggan, in his around-the-house turban

“Hell, I bet those Poldark boys don’t even wear turbans.”

uncle charles turban
Uncle Charles rocked a turban until the very end


“Kids these days.”

18 warleggan uncle
Uncle Cary, bewiggedly plotting

“Why can’t you be more like your cousin Matthew. His wig wearing is top-notch.”

16 Warleggan house party
Matthew Sanson, most bewiggedly cheating

“That’s because Matthew cheats to look that good.”

George trying to step up his wig game for Elizabeth

“You think I look good in this wig right?”
“I dunno. How many hats can you afford?”

18 warleggan-ball-x-450
One of the few shots that includes a lady in a wig. (Just pointing it out.)

“See, all Poldark ladies prefer to dance with the ones in wigs.”

ross and demelza
Ross, proudly unwigged

“But I don’t like wigs. I prefer beat up hats.”

21 blamey fancy tricorn
Captain Blamey, in a very captainy hat

“I don’t know why Verity’s uncle doesn’t like me. I wear not only a variety of tricornes…

blamey wig


“…but also several wigs. Did I mention I was a crack shot?”

22 blamey
Blamey, in his casual eloping hat

“Though perhaps the state of my natural hair explains that wig part.”

24 macneil
Captain MacNeil, wig or natural hair? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

“Come Ross, you really should try the wig look. It makes you look soliderly.”

27 auctioneer
The Auctioneer’s Wig

“It’s true. How are you supposed to win this auction without a wig?”

ross coiffed
Ross, in a surprisingly coiffed moment

“What if I tried just brushing my hair more?”

19 francis hatless
Francis, doing the Ross patented unbrushed look.

“I tried that once. Didn’t work.”

poldark shirtless
Ross, winning the non brushed hair off handily by way of no shirt.

“Fine then.”

28 banking
The Respectable Banker’s choice of wig

“Leaning money to a unwigged man is a bad sign. At least your hat is good though. Maybe I can find a lender.”

poldark mine
Ross’ casual mine owner’s hat. Again, notice it is brown instead of black.

“Good man!”

29 choake
Choake, who should choke on his wig.

“My hat and wig shows what a good doctor I am.”

30 enys
Enys, whose hero status is confirmed by his lack of wig

“Well, actually…”

31 soilder
The Warleggan’s lackey solider and his very ugly wig

“Go an arrested the unwigged. Got it.”

32 Jud-Paynter
Jud in his “Let me go grab another rum” hat

“Arresting the unwigged. T’ain’t right, t’ain’t fair, t’ain’t proper…”

(Make sure to check out the women’s fashions too, in “The Hats and Hair Ribbons of Poldark.”)


7 thoughts

  1. The Hat posts are comprehensive and amusing. The eye for costume and detail is amazing.
    I couldn’t get into the Poldark reboot for a couple of reasons.
    1. The Ross wasn’t dangerous seeming enough. He needed to be more Oliver Reed and less Michael Cera.
    2. The costumes didn’t look lived in enough, not distressed or worn or dirty in an age of difficult laundry.

    Oh Trivial Fact: The upper classes didn’t buy wigs for their servants. When dressed in full livery (more formal I think than Downton’s family dinners, the Footmen had to wet their hair thoroughly, flour their heads, and then set it like a wig. Once it hardened, they were good for a week or a month. Terribly uncomfortable though. I get why Fellowes didn’t go that far with his actors. Went out after the War except in the very Highest of Houses.


  2. It appears that if one wears a wig, it is a red flag to a particular personality. Same can be said of those who wear tricorns. Hmmm? Was the costume designer sending us secret messages?


  3. The actor playing Blamey is very appealing and all was done that could be done to make him attractive and inherently non-violent (except when driven). It’s true that in this era and earlier men dressed up as much as woman, peacocks yes, but it was in the 1780s (maybe earlier) a more sober somber style came in. You can see a version of this with the changeover from rococo images to David’s history paintings. Simplicity plainness. These are good and some of the shots effective (of George Warleggan) but the men just don’t have much variety. I was surprised to see Uncle Cary in a turban — that’s sort of associated with the philosophes (and poets too): images of Pope in a turban, Diderot abound. Many more men were wearing their own hair with ribbons at the back too. A move away from hierarchy. And wigs cost!


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