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How to wear a wedding fascinator

How to wear a fascinator  

Suit or dress? Pastels or prints? Hat or headpiece? Decisions, decisions. When it comes to dressing for a wedding, the options are endless, so much so that it can often be a nightmare trying to club together something half-decent to wear on the big day - especially if headwear is thrown into the mix. However, you're in luck, as we're on hand to give you some top tips on how to choose and sport the wedding fascinator for you.


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Choosing the right fascinator - what to consider | Wearing a fascinator to suit your style and hair colour | How to secure a fascinator - top tips


How to choose the right fascinator 


"I wore a black feather fascinator to a wedding as I don't do hats - I was quite pleased with the effect."


A headpiece can provide a fantastic alternative to a traditional hat at a wedding and range from large extravagant showpieces to smaller elegant accessories. But it's important that you pick the right type of fascinator to suit your look. Think about whether you'd like your fascinator to be...


  • Large or small
  • Colourful or subtle
  • Classic or unique
  • Detailed or simple


These choices will, of course, depend on the following:


1. Look at the style of the wedding

What you opt for will really depend on the type of wedding - is it a day of pomp and circumstance or will the wedding be intimate and cosy? Try a traditional fascinator with a classic shape


2. Are you mother of the bride/groom?

Maybe: If your child is the one getting married, then you'll want to make an impression on the day so consider opting for a larger headpiece. Just make sure you don't obscure the bride's face in the process.


3. Assess colour scheme and personal taste

What fascinator you choose will also be governed by your own personal preference and what colour scheme you decide on for your wedding outfit, and perhaps the colour scheme of the entire wedding. Are you going for matching colours? Sharp lines? Floral patterns?

If you decide on a subtle and monochrome outfit, for example, a fascinator is a chance to add a splash of brightness. And vice versa if you're wearing lots of colour.


4. Choose the right size fascinator

Yes, a fascinator might be a statement accessory and can add a bit of pizzazz to a rather dull-looking get-up, but a fascinator twice the size of your face could prove a bit outlandish and distracting at a rustic ceremony in the middle of a field. Unless, of course, that's the look you're going for. Try and coordinate fascinator size with hairstyle (more on what hairstyle to choose below).


  • Hair up and slicked back - small fascinator.
  • Hair up in a loose style - medium fascinator.
  • Hair down with a bit of volume, especially if you have thinning hair - large fascinator.


4. Material - what's in fashion this season?

A good trick is to look at this season's trends to decide on an appropriate material for your fascinator. If you're heading to summer wedding, go for a light and breathable material that won't leave you sweating. For colder months later in the year, try a thicker material such as wool or felt.  


How to wear a fascinator to suit your style 


"I have been to two weddings and worn fascinators which made me feel nice and wedding-like."


Wearing a fascinator with maximum success will rely on you knowing what looks good on you and what complements your hairstyle. But if you need a little push in the right direction, here are some pointers...


For long-haired ladies


As a rule of thumb, women who have long hair are best to put it up into a chignon when wearing a headpiece. This will generate a much neater look and allow you to fasten the headpiece with an elastic band behind the hair.

The elastic goes behind the head and underneath the hair which can then be styled in a chignon (FYI, the elastic doesn't go underneath your chin!). Pull some hair over to hide the elastic and use a kirby grip to secure it. Headpieces are designed to sit on the front right side of your head, so a chignon on the back left of your head is a nice way to counter-balance the weight and give symmetry to your look. Smaller fascinators can sit either side.



If you have long hair, you also have the option to plait and arrange it around the headpiece. One particularly good technique is to plait the hair into a fishtail braid and sculpt around the headpiece. Alternatively, you can go for a half up half down hairstyle while incorporating a plait.


Hair down

You can, of course, wear your hair down - it really depends on the wedding and look you're trying to achieve. If the dress code for the wedding is formal, then you might want to follow suit with your hairstyle and go for an up-do. But if you're used to wearing your hair down, make sure its nicely styled before adding your fascinator.


For women with short hair 

Headpieces can look really striking with short hair - a beret shape is particularly complementary to a short hairstyle, so go for something along these lines. A key tip is to ensure that the elastic is the same colour as your hair. This makes your overall look much neater, with more continuity.


If you wear glasses

In terms of the style of headpiece you choose, a piece with a less detailed trim and cleaner line will tend to look better if you're wearing glasses. Too detailed a trim can make your overall look too 'busy'. 

A headband can be very problematic for securing the headpiece if you wear glasses because the headband won't fit comfortably behind your ears. In this instance, elastic works much better.


How to complement your features

It's vital to choose a headpiece that flatters your face shape. If you have a round face, it can be good to off-set this with a taller, more elegant headpiece that gives height. Vice versa, a full and more round headpiece, such as a disc-shaped fascinator, can be a great way to complement a thinner face.


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Complementing your hair colour

This works in much the same way as an outfit. Whether you're a redhead, blonde, brunette or slowly transitioning to grey hair, it's important to get those colour combos right.  


  • Redheads - go fordeep green (think emerald), teal, purple, navy blue or cobalt blue.
  • Blondes - choose scarlet red, cobalt blue, light pink, taupe or coral.
  • Brunettes - deep or bright shades work best such as hot pink, navy blue, red and yellow.
  • Grey hair - pick a warmer red, maroon or dark blue fascinator.


Choosing a headpiece that you feel comfortable wearing

The fit is vital as, if it's uncomfortable or awkwardly placed, you could be in for a long, long day. If you're continually worrying that it might fall off then this will have an negative impact on your whole day. Choose something that's comfortable and securely fitted as well as beautiful - you need to be able to relax and forget you're wearing it.


how to wear a fascinator


How to secure a fascinator

"I wore a fascinator to my daughter's wedding and I looked like a martian with an aerial sticking out of my head. Och!"


Securing a fascinator properly is key, especially if you don't want to go through an experience like this gransnetter. There are four main ways to secure a headpiece:


  1. Elastic
  2. Headband
  3. Comb
  4. Hair clip


Which of these you use will depend on the type of headpiece you're wearing. For a large showpiece, use a headband for stability, ideally with an added comb to grip into the hair. A hair clip will usually be for a much smaller piece such as a delicate silk flower. 


Tip 1

Wash your hair the day before so it's not too slick or slippy. Also make sure you backcomb your hair for added grip - take the section of hair you'll be using to secure your fascinator and comb towards the centre of your head. This will add volume and help the fascinator stay in place.


Tip 2

Start with the comb further back in the hair and slide the comb forward until it grips firmly in the hair as opposed to sliding the comb back, which is a common mistake.


Tip 3

Elastic is a wonderful way to secure the headpiece. It's more subtle than a headband, yet just as secure when fitted properly. 


Tip 4

The aim is to give the illusion that the piece is sitting securely on your head without any help so try to conceal as much of the headband or elastic as possible. Try wearing the elastic behind your ears and around the nape of your neck.


Tip 5

Spray your hair with hairspray - just in case, to ensure your hair and fascinator stay put.


And if all else fails... "Not everyone wears a hat or fascinator to a wedding, so perhaps you could try a matching flower or a decorated hair slide instead."


For more on wedding fashion, head over to our style and beauty forum. Also check out our complete guide to over 50s fashion for advice ranging from what not to wear over 50 to how to find the perfect pair of jeans. 


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