Fascinated with Fascinators

24/02/2011 § 14 Comments

Earlier today the interwebs were thrown into a huge tizzy because the lovely HRH to be, Kate Middleton, christened a boat.  I wasn’t aware boat christenings were so important in Britain.  However, I had a smallish tizzy because she happened to be wearing a fascinator — an accessory that I’ve been fascinated with (sorry, couldn’t resist) over the last week or so.

Image via Styleite.

Now, as I am not British, I am a bit fuzzy on when a fascinator is appropriate, and perhaps someone out there will be able to help.  I had thought that the headgear were specific to weddings, but since Kate wore one to a daytime event, does this mean the field of fascinator-appropriate events has widened — to include boat christenings?  Possible to wear it whenever a hat is appropriate?  Do only young ladies wear them?  Must they have feathers?  So many questions for such a small accessory!

I have discovered a darling etsy shop that sells the most beautiful fascinators and birdcage veils – Head Full of Feathers.  The designer uses quite a bit of peacock feathers, and as I am nursing a growing obsession with peacocks, this makes owning a fascinator even more alluring to me.  I am trying to plot a purchase, but I must have somewhere to wear the beautiful thing.  Kate’s definitely given me confidence.  Now, when is the next boat christening?

Image via Head Full of Feathers
Wouldn’t this look darling on me??

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§ 14 Responses to Fascinated with Fascinators

  • Marissa says:

    You live in New York, which means you can wear a fascinator whenever you damn well please!

  • styleonthecouch says:

    As a Brit I feel compelled to reply. First the boat christening – typically our Royal Family sponsored warships so they were involved in the launching of new vessels, and female royals became involved later, after the launch of Queen Elizabeth II when something like “May God bless her and all who sail in her” was said.

    Ok the fashion/fascinator bit – in England fascinators have had quite a bad press. They are often worn at weddings, replacing hats and often at Royal Ascot, our big racing event where everyone goes hat crazy because of the dress code on ladies day (us Brits, sigh…) They have become more popular of late, perhaps due to the influence of Philip Treacy who designed for McQueen and Givency…

    Anyways the thing that is unusual for Kate M to wear one, and why it caused a bit of a stir, is that they are rather associated with older women. We really don’t need another Camilla we want a Diana (as does the world!) But she loves hats, and I think this one was made especially for her – I think this is quite nice actually…

    Ps and yes, I do own one but only wore it once to a wedding, they feel so weird on your head!


  • noelani says:

    Thank you so much for the entree into the world of fascinators. I had no idea! Intricate codes of etiquette clearly required across the pond. Here, I think you should don with a devil may care attitude.

  • Mariah says:

    Don’t be surprised if you find me lurking about the South Street Seaport, fascinator in hand, looking for the next boat christening…

  • Connie says:

    I am an American living in the British Isles. I’ll be going back to the states for a wedding in June. My dress has a Bardot-style neckline, but otherwise is quite plain. It’s a morning wedding. Would it be appropriate for me to wear a fascinator? I am considerably older than Kate. In America women don’t wear hats to weddings much, but I thought it might be fun to be different.

  • Milla says:

    My fellow Brit @styleonthecouch gets it perfectly right. Totally agree on all points except liking Kate’s custom-made fascinator. Kate should have worn more seasonal/bright colours to fit with the season and also her age. This is too old for her.

    Fascinators need to fit to occasion and hairstyle, everything else is down to personal taste.

    @Connie – I think you can wear one as a more mature woman. I’d go for something toned down and neutral/pastel.

  • Mariah says:

    @Connie – I agree with what everyone has said, but I have one more question. Where is the wedding that you’re going to? I only ask because what might be eagerly accepted in Manhattan might be received a bit more skeptically in other places…however this assumes you care about that!

    My vote? Wear proudly whichever fascinator you like – I would love to see pictures!

  • Jen says:

    Wear a fascinator!!

    They are such fun to wear, and don’t have to be ‘old fashioned’ like ‘StyleontheCouch’ says.

    I’m so glad you love our ‘Peacocks Tale’ piece that you have pictured here – you’ve made my day!

    Head Full of Feathers

    • Mariah says:

      Completely agree. You’re very welcome Jen! You have such beautiful work!!


    • I think we are loosing our “Lady-ness” if you will. I’m teaching my grand daughters to spruce up a bit more. I love Fascinators because I’m not comfortable in a hat . . . yet.
      Linda from Arizona

  • Niki says:

    I am coming over from scotland to attend a wedding in manhattan next month…..would it be acceptable to wear a fascinator or will people find it a bit over the top? It’s an evening wedding, if that makes any difference?

    • Hi Niki,

      I think an evening wedding — black tie, yes? — in Manhattan is a perfect occasion for a fascinator. Keep it on the simple and elegant side, and you will be set. Enjoy your time in New York!


  • Frances says:

    Q; Would it be appropriate to wear at a New Year’s Eve party?

  • Ann Townsend says:

    Big hats with crown, brim and the works are out of place in today’s fast paced world. They look like BOATS atop one’s head. Who wants boats’ Throw them all out unless one wants to look like a ridiculous element of the past. I never wore a hat as my mother and aunt did until kate popularized them–umm-sort of like the late Jacqueline Kennedy after the pill box and much later in her life freeing most women from the burden of hats at all and going hatless. The fascinator is a blessed in between.

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