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How to Wear a Fascinator

​​Know the FAQs about fascinator.

Last Updated on August 23, 2023

If you’re wondering how to wear a fascinator like the British Royals, you’re in good hands because I’m here to give you the 411 about the popular headpiece. This type of intricate headpiece is mostly reserved for special occasions like weddings and a trip to the races, which can make wearing one feel a little bit daunting. But before we get to that, perhaps a little bit of history will remind you why fascinators are a thing today.

During the Tudor period, women often wore veils, coifs and pillbox hats as a status symbol, but it wasn’t until the 1770s that the popular headpiece made an appearance when Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, was inspired to put some ostrich and peacock feathers in her hair. Fast forward to the 1980s and the fascinator finally got its name thanks to milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy and grew in popularity amongst the elite. More recently, there were countless spotted at both Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011 and Prince Harry and Meghan Markles 2018 nuptials, while they’re always spotted at events like the Royal Ascot and Cheltenham Races.

So what actually is a fascinator and how do you wear them? Keep reading for everything you need to know. Next, read more about Uniqlo’s upcoming collaboration with Clare Waight Keller, the designer behind Meghan Markle’s wedding dress.

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Kate Middleton wearing a fascinator

What is a fascinator?

A fascinator is a formal, decorative headpiece, usually attached to a band or clip. Fascinators are often worn to formal events, such as weddings or races.

How to wear fascinators

How you choose to wear your fascinator is really up to you. While you can wear yours on either the left or right of your head, the intricate headpiece was previously worn on the right-hand side of the head as women traditionally stood on the right side of a man.

Now it can be worn in many ways, but make sure that it sits just right above the eyebrow and on one side. There are fascinators attached to headbands for stability so they won’t slip, or you can use hair clips or a comb to secure it. Consider the type, thickness, and parting of your hair when choosing how to wear yours.

If you’re using a comb to secure your fascinator, you’ll need to backcomb your hair beforehand so the comb has something to stick to. Essie Button has a great YouTube video on this.

Is there a correct way to wear a fascinator? 

You should wear a fascinator on one side of the head, whether left or right. As mentioned, fascinators are traditionally worn on the right-hand side of the head but there are no strict etiquette rules regarding this today. How you choose to wear yours largely depends on how you style your hair. For example, if you have an up-do that leans towards the right, perhaps your fascinator will look best leaning to the left.

Do you match your fascinator to your dress or shoes?

It would look good and cohesive if you matched the fascinator to your dress or shoes. If you want to try this, choose a headpiece that has a similar color or shade to your outfit. On the other hand, it can also serve as a pop of color to your outfit. For instance, if you are wearing a neutral or tonal look, go for red or bright yellow for your headpiece. 

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