The Fascinating History Of Fascinators At Royal Weddings

From wearing a knee-length or longer dresses to cover their shoulders, and accessorizing their heads, a royal wedding sounds like a no-fun costume party.

When Priyanka Chopra spoke about googling the word ‘fascinator’ after receiving the royal wedding invite, we saw the birth of a trend. Soon, fashion writers were jolted awake to write about something that has been a part of British royal history for generations.

You see, there are some fashion rules for female guests at the royal wedding and before you scream sexism, let us tell you that there are some strict sartorial rules for male guests too, but more on that in a different article. From wearing a knee-length or longer dresses to cover their shoulders, and accessorizing their heads, a royal wedding sounds like a no-fun costume party.

Or maybe, not.

The History

According to Suzanne Cotton, the fashion design chair at Columbus College of Art and Design, “Originally, fascinators were smaller, with little decorations.” She further explained in Good Morning America, “In the time of William and Kate years, fascinators became an over-the-top accessory. I definitely think they’ve evolved from being a small, pretty thing like a little piece of netting with a flower to being these very over-the-top fashion statements.”

Now, fascinators come in all shapes and sizes. They have been used for a long time and has seen an evolution since their advent.

The history of fascinators dates back to 60s. Initially, a scarf style headwear was used as fascinators. However, in the 70s a small clip-in-hats started trending. By the 90s, the term fascinator became more specific. Now they were a kind of hat which is small and often bedecked in beads, feathers or frills.

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Why do women wear them to Royal Weddings?

According to Sandra Walcott, an adjunct assistant professor for the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Accessories Design Department, the real reason why people wear it to royal weddings is that in Britain people feel that they are not fully dressed until they wear something on their head. It is more like dressing up from head to toe. However, Cotton has another explanation, “I think fascinators became popular because they don’t mess with your hair.”

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