Fascinator Duchess of Cambridge By Pat Pilon, CC BY 2.0

Popular women’s head decoration

A Fascinator is a headpiece, a style of millinery. The word originally referred to a fine lacy head covering similar to a shawl and made from wool or lace.

Fascinator as a term had fallen pretty much into disuse by the 1970s, but by the early 21st century the term Fascinator has made a comeback, albeit the meaning has changed a bit. Fascinator is now used to describe a delicate and frivolous, to certain degrees, women’s head decoration worn.

A Fascinator may be worn instead of a hat to occasions where hats are traditionally worn such as weddings and christenings, or as an evening accessory where a Fascinator becomes a cocktail hat. Generally a Fascinator is worn with formal attire.

A Substantial Fascinator is a large sized Fascinator and have been in the Press lately due to Royal Ascot and Queen Elizabeth pronouncing new standards of dress requirement entry where a Substantial Fascinator is allowed rather than a standard Fascinator.

Modern fascinators are often made with feathers, flowers and beads. A comb, headband or clip is used to attach the Fascinator to the head. They are particularly popular at classic horse racing events such as the Grand National and the Melbourne Cup.

Some Brides choose to wear a Fascinator as an alternative to a bridal veil or hat, particularly if wearing a non-traditional wedding dress.

Famous Fascinator wearers

  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
  • Princess Beatrice
  • Princess Eugenie
  • Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

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