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Believe it or not, fascinators have been around since, well, forever.
Fascinators, which are elaborate pieces worn on the head, can trace their roots back to at least the 15th century. During the Renaissance period, headwear began moving away from spiritual and custom, or traditional, headgear to more decorative pieces.
For British Royalty and the rich, fascinators are required headwear for any formal event, even to more informal events such as the Kentucky Derby and wedding parties.
If you’re thinking of adding a little touch of class to your next outfit, a 1920s-inspired fascinator might be the perfect finishing touch.
Keep reading to find out more about fascinators, hatinators, and other vintage accessories that will make you stand head and shoulders (well, at least your head) above the crowd!
What Is an Old-Fashioned Fascinator?
Going back as far as the 1600s, the first well-known fascinators were a base that attached to the hair with clips, then adorned with feathers and flowers.
This hasn’t changed much except that the styles have become more elaborate.
A typical vintage-styled fascinator with feathers, such as this one
became a common accessory among women/girls.
Some fascinators are pinned to the head using bobby pins,
while others are designed to be worn as a headband, such as this beautiful example from the 1920s.
Note the use of both feathers and a flower in this sweet little red fascinator.
For ladies who were more interested in a stylish addition to their hair but who didn’t want to wear a traditional hat, fascinators were the perfect answer.
A veil with some feathers adds a sweet hint of modesty while not covering the hairstyle.
Old-fashioned fascinators can be as simple as a flower
or as elaborate as this the wearer likes.
What Is the Difference Between a Fascinator and a Hatinator?
If the fascinator is attached to a hat or looks more like a fancy hat with lots of accessories, it sometimes gets called a hatinator.
Headpieces resembling a hat, such as this one,
or this style
or even this could fall under the “hatinator” moniker.
If you prefer the look of a hatinator, you open yourself up to a great many more options than a plain hat or even a plain fascinator.
We love this look
which combines a wide-brimmed hat with a fascinator on top. This type of styling goes with any outfit and nearly every color.
This is a perfect example of a hatinator, combining a straw hat with a feather and lace.
For a vintage-styled hatinator, you won’t find one like this at any price
Last, for those who might be attending a more festive and less formal event, you might find that this is a true “hatinator” that everyone will admire.
Did They Wear Fascinators in the 1920s?
You bet your sweet aunt Bea they did!
Fascinators were in high fashion in the 1920s. When it came to style, ladies were all about accessories!
While a flapper may not keep an elaborate fascinator on her head all night, she would probably pick something a little less heavy, such as this adorable piece
You wouldn’t be surprised to see a flapper wearing a fascinator with lots of rhinestones either, such as this gorgeous piece.
For more formal events, modern women of the time would not shy away from even elaborate fascinators, such as this style
or this pillbox hatinator.
Cloche hats were extremely popular, so it makes sense that women of the time would add flowers, beads, and feathers to a cloche hat to change the look. This is a good example of a cloche hat with accessories to make it look more like a hatinator.
We love that these hats work double duty. Remove the flowers, feathers, and bows, and you have a hat for everyday wear, such as this cutie.
Wide-brimmed straw or gauze hats were also popular for outdoor activities, such as a lawn party or watching golf or horse racing. This is one example of a timeless classic that women still wear today
as well as
We love this adorable straw hat that incorporated the usefulness of a sun hat with the beauty of rhinestones on a bow.
You can wear this hat to almost any event and in almost any type of weather!
Should I Wear My Hair Up or Down with a Fascinator?
This is a choice that is entirely up to the wearer, what type of fascinator or hatinator they are wearing, as well as the occasion.
For parties where you might be doing a great deal of dancing, a minimalistic fascinator, such as this one,
would be a good idea. In this example, the model is wearing her hair in a braided bun, but you could also leave your hair down.
For a tea party or other events, you might want to consider this simple fascinator
which gives you the look of sophistication without drawing unnecessary attention to your headpiece.
For other less formal gatherings, you might consider wearing something simple but with vintage styling, such as this cute fascinator
Wear your hair up or down, but don’t forget this colorful accessory.
More formal events, such as weddings or a state dinner, can allow you to go all out with your fascinator. Most women will wear their hair up for a formal event and we love this piece
because of its understated elegance and classic charm.
This pillbox fascinator is the perfect accessory if you should decide to go with the modest look that the veil provides
This model has her hair up, and we think that this is the perfect look.
Generally speaking, most women will wear their hair up for more formal events and leave it down for events that are more fun and less serious.
Should I Wear My Fascinator on the Top or the Side of My Head?
This is a matter of preference, but the style of wearing a fascinator off to one side began back in 1860s, when British riding hats, complete with feathers, were thought to indicate wealth. The more wealth you had, the bigger the fascinator and the more off to one side you would wear the hat.
A simple beaded fascinator can be worn directly on top of the head, giving one a stylish addition, such as in this example
However, if you want to be super fashionable, consider wearing something tilted to one side such as the way this gorgeous fascinator is being modeled
or this beautiful example
or even in this manner
No matter which type of fascinator or hatinator you decide to wear, personalize it with your own fashion style!
While it might seem as though fascinators and hatinators are more popular in Europe and the UK, you see more and more women trying fascinators to recall a time when Jazz was king and flappers ruled the fashion world!
Try wearing a fascinator to your next event and watch the compliments pile up!
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.