back to top

The Definitive Ranking Of The Wigs From "The Americans"

If the whole "spying for the Soviet Union" thing doesn't work out, at least the Jenningses could open up their own wig emporium.

Posted on

For those who don't know, The Americans tells the story of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell), Soviet spies secretly working in the United States during the Cold War.

How do they accomplish their missions without getting caught? TONS OF MOTHERFUCKING WIGS. All kinds of wigs. And although though the show is not solely focused on spying, but is also a nuanced family drama, we all know that the wigs are the series's heart and soul. And so, of course, one simple task remains — to rank the myriad wigs worn by these crafty Soviet agents. Generally speaking, this ranking does not include disguises that simply involved putting a hat over the characters' regular hair or just styling their regular hair differently, although there are some exceptions. Also, a lot of wigs reappear numerous times throughout the series. The goal was to include only the first instance of each wig. There are a few cases where wigs might be repeated in this list, but whatever, it can be tough to tell wigs apart sometimes. Basically, WIGS WIGS WIGS WIGS WIGS.

47.

FX

Season 2, Episode 8

Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth. There is SO MUCH going wrong here. The too-short hair is strangely choppy, as if someone had taken a pair of scissors to it and Elizabeth just saw it the next day and was like, "Eh, too late to change it now." And even though this about the wigs and not the outfits, let's just say that the hoodie isn't doing anything to help make the hair look better.

Advertisement
Advertisement

41.

FX

Season 1, Episode 13

One of Claudia's few forays into the Wonderful World of Wigs™, this gray number screams Midwestern grandma. Which is the look she was going for, to be fair, but not really a look that works well for anyone.

39.

FX

Season 1, Episode 8

Is this the same wig as the one above, just less sweaty? Possibly. Is it giving off a slight No Country for Old Men vibe? Yeah, tbh. Should Philip take it to the woods, light it on fire, and never look back? Definitely.

Advertisement

37.

FX

Season 1, Episode 9

Velma from Scooby Doo meets 1970s murderess meets dowdy middle-aged lady trying to think her way out of a midlife crisis. Stop trying to make bobs happen, Elizabeth. They're not going to happen.

35.

FX

Season 2, Episode 4

This is more of a facial hair wig than an actual head wig. But this is perhaps the most Philip has ever looked like a disgruntled Russian man who just wants some damn peace and quiet.

34.

FX

Season 2, Episode 3

Fade in: Elizabeth watching reruns of Charlie's Angels. Farrah Fawcett appears on-screen, feathered hair blowing in the wind behind her as she pulls out a gun to take down some bad guys.

Close up: Elizabeth's face. Eureka, she thinks. Feathered hair. The more feathering, the better.

And scene.

Advertisement

30.

FX

Season 1, Episode 13

Philip heard that blondes have more fun and wanted to see if the rumors were true. He also decided to put on some tinted sunglasses just to round out the cowboy-turned-Vegas-gambler look.

Advertisement

29.

FX

Season 1, Episode 2

I want to hate this look so much more than I do. It's stringy in front and bland everywhere else. But somehow, someway, this wig doesn't make me want to poke my eyes out. And that is a big accomplishment.

Advertisement

24.

FX

Season 2, Episode 9

It's hard to see the wig here, which probably helps its cause. There's a little bit sticking out the back of his beanie, looking unkempt, which doesn't inspire too much confidence in how the wig would look sans beanie. Basically, the wig owes the beanie a lot for getting it this high on the list.

23.

FX

Season 1, Episode 2

Elizabeth gives bangs a try, and they almost work. She kind of looks like a librarian with a secret. But not a good secret, like that she brought extra ice cream for everyone at work. A bad secret.

Advertisement

19.

FX

Season 1, Episode 12

Every once in a while, Elizabeth goes super vampy. This black wig says "Yeah, I'll sleep with you, but don't be surprised if I kick your ass after." The look is a liiiiittle harsh, which keeps it from ranking any higher.

Advertisement
Advertisement

13.

FX

Season 2, Episode 10

Does it look super fake? Yes. But is it still kind of a nice wig on its own merits? For sure. Those curls are a nice change of pace for Elizabeth, and she actually looks like she's enjoying wearing this one.

11.

FX

Season 1, Episode 12

Claudia's wig for Clark and Martha's wedding is soooo much better than Elizabeth's. It looks appropriately formal without coming across like it's trying too hard. It gives Claudia a much more youthful look than her other wig on this list. In one word: yaaass.

Advertisement

7.

FX

Season 2, Episode 4

This might be the Clark wig making an appearance in a different arena (ugh, can't believe the wig would cheat on Martha like that) or it might be a new wig altogether. Either way, what's clear is that without the glasses, the wig is able to shine to a much greater degree. It looks distinguished, but not too old. Classic, but not too boring. Overall, strong wig game.

6.

FX

Season 1, Episode 3

Maybe the popped collar is shading how I view this wig, but it looks damn cool. Kind of like that moment right after a badass spy dismounts their motorcycle and removes their helmet, allowing the slightly windswept hair to reveal itself like the renegade it is. Work. This. Look. Elizabeth.

Advertisement

5.

FX

Season 2, Episode 1

The mustache isn't the best, but I'll be damned if the rest of this look isn't near-perfect. The wig sweeps to the side in such a stately, glorious manner, you can't help but notice. It's like a gentle wave crashing on the sand, but with hair.

4.

FX

Season 1, Episode 13

Is that Elizabeth or is that a movie star? JK, it's Elizabeth. But she looks kind of like a Hollywood celeb, with the wavy blonde hair and oversized sunglasses. This wig brought out a STRUT in Elizabeth as she walked into what could have been her capture at the hands of Stan. But instead, the wig shone as she was whisked away from the scene by Philip. So yeah, this wig made quite the impression.

3.

FX

Season 1, Episode 1

This is our first introduction to Elizabeth — a saucy blonde wig that doesn't take no for an answer. It's a powerful look, but one that gives us our first understanding of how much of a chameleon Elizabeth must be to succeed at her job. She doesn't just put on the wig, she inhabits it.

2.

FX

Season 2, Episode 10

YES PHILIP YES. I don't even care if this is a wig or just your regular hair styled differently, because it looks so damn good. The look is suave, modern, and totally in charge. The hair is no nonsense, unlike some of Philip's less successful wigs. If Philip could wear this hair all day, every day, the world would be a better place.

1.

FX

Season 2, Episode 6

This is THE wig of The Americans. Elizabeth looks like the badass head of a sci-fi corporation that's about to take over the world with sentient robots or something. She looks poised, powerful, and utterly immaculate. The wave at the top, the way the wig plays against her similarly fabulous glasses, the color that is both bright and steely. This is not just a wig, it's a way of life. And it's absolutely perfect.