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FAQs - The Ultimate Guide to Fascinators

How to Wear A Fascinator - The Ultimate Guide to Fascinators & FAQs

If you need help on how to choose a fascinator our ultimate guide to fascinators and how to wear them will give you all of the answers you need. In this comprehensive guide you will learn everything there is to know about fascinators, and we will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about fascinators so you can pick the right fascinator for every occasion.

What is a fascinator?

A fascinator is a millinery headpiece often worn by women attending formal occasions such as weddings and events. Designed by hat makers or milliners as they are known in the trade, a fascinator is a style of millinery used to create what is essentially a decorative headpiece made with a moulded and shaped fabric base which is then decorated with beads and feathers and attached to a headband, hair clip or comb so it can be worn on the head. These millinery headpieces and occasional headwear are traditionally worn at weddings, events and the races. Learn more about the history of fascinators in our blog.

How to wear a fascinator

The main point of difference between hats and fascinators is that a fascinator is worn using a hair clip, hair comb or headband to fix it to the hair whereas a hat sits loose on the top of the head. How you wear a fascinator will depend on the type of attachment you choose but you also need to consider your hair length, parting, and hair thickness.

Generally, a fascinator clip or fascinator headband will be suitable for the majority of hair types and hair lengths, whereas a comb fascinator would be better suited to someone with thicker hair as the comb will need to grip the hair in order to stay in place. Here we look at the most common types of attachments and fixings used when wearing a fascinator:

Fascinator Clip

A fascinator clip is a standard beak hair clip or alligator clip. This is the most popular choice because they are quick and easy to use and can be worn with most hair types and hair lengths. Our fascinators on hair clips are best used with small to medium sized fascinators because they are lightweight, for larger fascinators and hatinators we would recommend a using headband.

Fascinator Headband

A fascinator headband is fixed in place with an alice band or hairband. These are usually wrapped in satin fabric to match the colour of the fascinator but we can also supply them in a colour to blend in with your hair. Just like with hair clips, fascinators on headbands are quick and easy to wear and will work with the majority of hairstyles and the narrow width headband can easily be hidden in the hair. Perfect for medium sized to large fascinators, a headband fascinator is best for creating stability should the weather turn windy.

Comb Fascinators

A comb fascinator is attached to the hair using a hair comb slide. Comb fascinators will work better if you have thicker hair because the comb will need to grip the hair but at the same time it can also be used a styling accessory to hold the hair in place so they can be really flexible accessories. Our combs are made from clear acrylic so they can be discreetly hidden into the hairstyle and will stay in position throughout the day.

how to wear a fascinator

Which side do you wear a fascinator?

Which side of the head you wear a fascinator will depend on the style and design of the hair fascinator you buy and although today there are no strict etiquette rules, traditionally fascinators would have been worn on the right hand side of the head. The origin of this tradition is believed to date back to an old custom where a gentleman accompanies his lady on the left side and so by wearing her hat or fascinator on the right-hand side it would allow her face to be visible with unobstructed conversation.

Here are a few pointers to consider when deciding what side of the head to wear your fascinator:

Smaller fascinators on clips can usually be positioned anywhere you like and will work well with shorter hairstyles. It is more fashionable to wear it at an angle on either the left side or right side of the head depending on your preference.

Our headband fascinators will still give you some degree of flexibility because you will be able to slide the fascinator up and down the hairband to find an angle and position which looks best on your head shape. For loose hairstyles a medium sized fascinator will work best, and for hair down, you could opt for a larger fascinator or hatinator.

You’ll probably find the best way to decide what is right for you is to just to try it on and find a flattering position and attractive angle that you are happy with.

Where do you wear a fascinator?

Hair fascinators for weddings have long been a favourite hair accessory for wedding guests and the Mother of the Bride, but fascinators can also be worn at christenings, cocktail parties, summer soirees and formal events. Hats and fascinators have also become hugely popular accessory for the races. From Ladies Day to Derby Day, women's hats and hair fascinators have become the fashionista’s style accessory of choice for a day at the races.

Can you wear a fascinator at night?

Sure, why not! If your fascinator is lightweight and comfortable to wear there is nothing to stop you wearing all day and long into the night. Our fascinators are quick and easy to put on and take off when you want to.

How do I choose a fascinator?

It's all about the colour! For the majority, the most important thing to consider when choosing a fascinator is the colour and because wearing a fascinator expresses your delight in dressing up, we recommend either picking a colour to match the dress or opt for an accent colour if the dress has more than one colour.

Does the fascinator match the shoes or dress?

Another option is to match the fascinator with the shoes, clutch bag and jewellery so if you were wearing a black dress with silver shoes why not go for a silver fascinator and silver clutch bag to bring the whole look together and you can use our handy shop by colour page to find matching fascinators and bags. There are many colours hues which work well together, navy and cream, pink and black, red and black, or blue and yellow to highlight a few.

Choosing the right colour fascinator

Although we stock hair fascinators in a wide variety of colours, it can sometimes be difficult to get an exact colour match to your dress or occasion wear outfit. The reason being is that online women’s clothing stores will describe colours and shades differently, you only have to put “teal dress” into your search engine and look at the images to see that there are many different shades of teal and as the colour teal sits between blue and green it really just depends on the retailer as to how the’ve described it and if the image is true to colour.

You’ve probably been in the situation yourself when you've ordered an outfit based on the photo you’ve seen online and when it arrive it is completely different? At Fascinators Direct we try our very best to ensure that all of our photographs are true to colour but if it’s not quite right then you needn’t worry as we offer hassle free returns too. If you’re really unsure then feel free to drop us a message or you could even email us a photo of your outfit and we’ll do our best to come up with some suggestions which will be a good colour match for your outfit.

Other things you should consider when choosing what fascinator to wear

Hair Colour

If you have darker hair our bright colour fascinators will look sensational, think pink fascinators, purple, red, blue or green. Redheads will look stunning with natural and neutral tones such as cream, beige or nude fascinators, and if you have lighter or blond hair you might want to consider warm colour hues and soft pastel shades such as lilac, coral, gold or silver fascinators.

The Weather

If it is going to be windy you might be better with a hair clip or headband because the fascinator will be more secure and there will be less chance the wind will tear it off your head.

Style & Design

You might want to contrast your fascinator with your face shape, so if you have a more rounded face, opt for a taller fascinator. Wearing a tall fascinator with heels is also a clever way to make yourself look taller. If you have a longer thinner face, a disc fascinator or saucer fascinator would look best. For patients undergoing chemotherapy or if you’re suffering from alopecia, we stock a variety of headwear and head coverings which are suitable for female hair loss including turbans, cancer hats, head wraps and head scarves.

Fabrics & Trimmings

Most fascinators are made with sinamay but other popular millinery fabrics include horsehair braid netting which is a woven polyester mesh sometimes called crinoline or crin for short.

To create our fascinators we start with either round disc or saucer for the base which can be moulded and shaped on a hat block and then we trim the finished shape with flowers, decorative loops, netting or veiling fabric and the most important of all, feathers.

In our feather fascinator designs we use a variety of feathers such as peacock, ostrich, coque, rooster hackle and goose biot.

Styles of Fascinator

In the fascinating world of millinery there are many different styles of fascinator so here we look at some of the most popular types of hats and fascinators:


A fascinator is also known as a hair fascinator or fascinator hat and is the most common type of fascinator for weddings and occasions. The hair fascinator is an adaptation of a formal ladies hat or cocktail hat which has evolved over the years but the millinery process used to make them is very similar to hat making. Fascinators come in all shapes and sizes from small fascinators to medium and large fascinators and can be purchased in a plethora of colours and elaborate deigns.

Hatinators, Disc Fascinators & Saucer Fascinators

Larger than a hair fascinator, a hatinator uses a disc or saucer shaped base and are also known as hatinators. Although hatinators look more like a wedding hat in appearance, you actually wear them with a headband or hair clip rather than being worn on the head like a traditional ladies hat.

Perfect for weddings, disc fascinators and saucer fascinators can be purchased in lots of colours and styles to compliment your occasion wear outfit. Hatinators have also become a popular alternative over wearing hats at the races.

Hair Flowers

Our hair flowers and are flower hair clips which can be worn as a small fascinator. Simple to clip into your hair, our wedding hair flowers are ideal for bridesmaids and flower girls but also make a pretty alternative to wear instead of a fascinator. Adding a flower clip to your hairstyle will bestow your look with floral charm and we stock a variety of beautiful flower designs such as orchids, peonies, chrysanthemums and daisies.

Flower Crowns

Flower Crowns and hair crowns are a beautiful hair accessory for festivals, weddings and occasions. Our floral hair crowns are adorned with gorgeous oversized flowers or large roses which are attached to an elastic headband or hair band. For the ultimate fashionista these pretty flower hair bands are worn on the forehead like a browband giving you a boho chic style.

Hair Garlands

A floral hair garland is a flower headband which sits on the top of the head and is usually made from a wire frame which is wrapped in foliage and decorated with leaves and flowers. With a style befitting to a greek goddess these pretty floral headdresses are a popular choice for weddings and the availability of a big choice of colours and styles makes them perfect hair accessories for bridesmaids and flower girls. A flower hair garland is also a popular women's hair accessory for festival goers.

Ladies Hats

Whether it’s a wedding, cocktail party, race meeting or Royal Ascot, if a Ladies hat is your style accessory of choice then these glamorous occasions give you the perfect opportunity to wear a sensational headpiece which shows off your personality and style.

From wide brimmed hats, floppy hats and cloche hats to boaters, race hats and derby hats, milliners have been making formal occasion hats for hundreds of years and in these modern times the choice of styles and colour options is endless.

In our online shop you can buy wedding hats and occasion hats in a huge variety of colours and styles from the UK’s biggest and most long established millinery brands and millinery boutiques.

Pillbox Hats & Pillbox Fascinators

A pillbox has a distinctive shape with upright sides and a flat crown and no brim. Crafted by milliners, pillbox hats are smaller than formal ladies hats and are traditionally made from wool or velvet fabric which is decorated with embellishments such as feathers and flowers.

Our women’s pillbox hats are a popular hair accessory for weddings and occasions due to their smaller size and elegant simplicity and were a favourite accessory choice of the late Princess Diana and more recently the Duchess of Sussex and Duchess of Cambridge. A pillbox fascinator is made with a pillbox shaped base so the shape is similar to a pillbox hat but is worn on the head using a headband or hair clip attachment to fix the pillbox fascinator in place.

Bridal Fascinators & Bridal Hats

A bridal fascinator or bridal hat can make a unique alternative to a traditional wedding tiara. Available in sought-after bridal colours including cream, white, ivory, and blush, our milliners have created a stunning range of bridal hats using luxurious fabrics such as lace and satin, trimmed with netting, veiling fabric or birdcage veils to use as the bridal veil.

To add glamour and sparkle, a bridal fascinator hat is often embellished with sparkling crystal rhinestones, diamante, and embroidered details making them the perfect wedding hair accessory for a bride to be.

We hope you have found this fascinator guide useful and if you’re ready to buy and know what you are looking for you can view our uk fascinator range right here, but if you have any questions or need some advice then please do not hesitate to get in touch.