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What Are Fascinators and Why It’s Fun to Wear One?

What is a fascinator? And what are they used for?

fascinatorsFascinators are perhaps the most stylish accessory on any woman’s head. They are an elegant headpiece—like a tiara for your head-worn with formalwear. Thrust into popular consciousness by celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Middleton has increased its reach. Wearing a fascinator is like crowning your head with a work of art.

The name “fascinator” stems from the Latin word fascinare, meaning “to enchant”.

Fascinators first appeared as a part of the 18th-century French court, when ladies wore feathers in their hair. Marie Antoinette frequently placed feathers in her updos.

But it was the royal weddings of Kate Middleton., Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie that put fascinators in the forefront of fashion. Whilst the Queen favours a tiara for her royal weddings, the rest of us settle for fascinators. These headpieces, which resemble ostentatious hats, are taking over the fashion world!

Now they are the fashion accessory du jour for American women. The mysterious addition that makes you look beautiful in a matter of seconds is now the most popular way to accessorise for special events like weddings, galas, cruises, and cocktail parties.

Hairstyle and Fascinators

A quick rule of thumb on matching your fascinator to your hairstyle would be

  • Hair up and slicked back – choose a small fascinator.
    • Hair up in a loose style -choose a  medium fascinator.
    • Hair down with a bit of volume, especially if you have thinning hair – choose a  large fascinator.

Long Hairstyles

For a sleek, elegant updo, stop by the hair salon and have your stylist create a chignon at the base of your neck.

fascinators and long hair

If you have long hair, you have the option to wear it down or try out some different hairstyles. One excellent technique is to plait the hair into a fishtail braid and sculpt around the headpiece. Alternatively, you can go for a half-up, half down hairstyle while incorporating a plait.

Short Hair Styles

Hair accessories look lovely in short hairstyles, particularly berets, which have a dramatic and more elegant touch without compromising on shorter hairstyles’ simplicity. An essential tip is to ensure that the elastic is of the same colour as your hair. This suggestion makes your overall hairstyle look much neater and suits short hairstyles better.

With very short hair, wearing a fascinator attached to a hairband is the easiest option.

Top Takeaways:

Greasy and dirty hair will help you stick the fascinator pins better and hold it more securely. Hence, you should avoid washing your hair on the day of the event when you intend to wear the fascinator. Therefore the best time to wash your hair is the day before the event. 

Before you wear the fascinator for your wedding hairstyle, backcomb that part of your hair. Start by massaging a small section of hair away from your face and then toward the middle of your head. This helps to create a teased and knotted style to pin on your headwear.

Once you’ve combed your hair, you could also use a good hairspray to keep everything in place. Hairspray is particularly effective when you’re creating volume by backcombing your hair.

To secure the fascinator on top of your hair, use a comb that comes with the accessory. Next, press the comb firmly into the back of your hair. The teeth of the comb should point backwards, towards your head.

Elastic is a beautiful way to secure the headpiece. It’s more subtle than a headband, yet just as secure when appropriately fitted.

For more delicate hair (or extra security) take a small section of hair, comb in the opposite direction to the way your hair falls and grip with a hairpin. You then have a sound base in which to slide the fascinator.

The key to wearing a headpiece is to give the illusion that you’re not actually wearing it.

Hair Colour and Choice of Fascinators

coloured fascinator

Complementing your hair colour is a similar process to complementing your outfit with a choice of fascinator.

Here is a simple guide:

  • Redheads – go for deep green (think emerald), teal, purple, navy blue or cobalt blue.
    • Blondes – choose scarlet red, cobalt blue, light pink, taupe or coral.
    • Brunettes – deep or bright shades work best, such as hot pink, navy blue, red and yellow.
    • Grey hair – pick a warmer red, maroon or dark blue fascinator

Matching Your fascinator With Your Face Shape

Considering the shape of your face is essential and choosing the right style to balance out your features is vital. With a round face, a taller headpiece can create balance. Conversely, with a thinner face, you might like a fuller disc-like fascinator.

The Bridal fascinator

When it comes to getting dressed up for a wedding, whether you’re attending as a guest or a member of the family, there are a lot of considerations – both practical and stylistic. A wide range of options is available, especially when it comes to headwear. Selecting a bridal headpiece can often be confusing and stressful, especially since a top of the range fascinator can take a big chunk of your budget.

Fascinators can be tricky little things to buy for a wedding. A headpiece can provide a fantastic alternative to a traditional hat at a wedding and range from large extravagant showpieces to smaller elegant accessories. But you must pick the correct type of fascinator to suit your look.

Your choice comes down to the type of event you are having. Are you getting married in a big church or a back garden? Are your guests going to an after-party or coming straight home? Remember that you do not have to spend big money on something that you will only wear once.

bridal fascinator

The choice of fascinator you make for your wedding will be determined by a few things. The main thing that will govern your decision is what colour scheme you use for your outfit on the day. If you have chosen matching colours, then the choice of small matching fascinators makes perfect sense. However, if you have opted to wear contrasting colours, then it might be better to choose a much more eye-catching piece of headgear that pops and sparks with life.

For a tasteful look, choose a small fascinator. Be aware of the hairstyle you will have on your big day, and keep it in mind when picking accessories. Consider the venue where you’ll be getting married,should and don’t take your fascinator too seriously.

When you decide to buy a bridal fascinator, it’s essential to remember you wear it on the left side of your head. So that when you enter the wedding venue, it will be on the same side as the groom) instead of wearing it on the right side.

Fascinators and Outfit

Please put on your outfit and look at its colours, shapes, patterns, and textures. Is there a colour or shape to pull out of the outfit and use in the fascinator? Is there an interesting texture that can be used as well? Look at this combination without the fascinator on. You want it to stand out but not clash with the clothes you’re wearing.

While accessories are often considered as afterthoughts, metallic accents in your fascinators and shoes can make the most significant difference in complementing your overall outfit, like a finishing touch on a masterpiece.

There are a few essential factors that must be considered when choosing your fascinator. For example, bold patterns and textures in your clothing could be distracting, so you want to ensure that your fascinator’s shape and colour remain simple. This principle applies when the dress is also textured.

A cheeky fascinator is a fun way to add contrast and colour to a simple outfit, especially when the clothes are monotone.

A fascinator can be made from many materials, including feathers, beads, lace and gemstones. It is always nice to match the materials of the fascinator to the season – felt, wool fabrics for the colder seasons and lighter materials like sinamay, parisisal, silk etc. for summer.

A final note about fascinators- pay attention to all of the colours in your outfit and the colours of your fascinator. If you have a bright coloured dress, choose a bright fascinator too. If you have a pale-coloured dress, use a muted colour for your fascinator. White is one of the most popular tones for both dresses and fascinators. Be sure that the tone of your white clothing is consistent with brighter or paler shades of white or cream in either of those items.

Celebrities, Royalty and Fascinators.

Television coverage of royal weddings and posh celebrity events have placed the fascinator firmly in the public consciousness.

For many Americans, Princess Beatrice of York was a complete unknown before the royal wedding in 2011. Her choice of headwear made her an international sensation, for better or worse, with Harry and Meghan’s wedding on the way and the promise of even more outrageous hats and whimsical fascinators.

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Kaste Middleton has also been a great PR for the decorative fascinator and her increasing popularity has led her to be more adventurous in her style.

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Not to be outdone by her sister-in-law Feisty Meghan Markle has thrown her hat into the ring too.

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Whilst, not royalty, the ever ‘posh’ Victoria Beckham is a longtime devotee of the fascinator, and it has featured in many other celebrity appearances over the years.

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But the top prize must surely go to Princess Beatrice for her butterfly extravaganza at the wedding of Peter Philips. This headpiece is undoubtedly a work of art that must have cost a fortune. But, then if you are a princess, you have the budget to go with the role.

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sophie nix

?? I'm a self-taught hair colourist, beauty influencer + blogger in London. My mission is to inspire others to master the art of hair - feeling confident in the process. ???

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