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The Fascinating History of Fascinators

Three little “fascinator” hats

The “fascinator”, a.k.a. “that little hat worn at an angle” is a staple of steampunk fashion. Typically worn by women, you may recall Damon Wayans really rocking the look in the “Men on Film” sketch in the classic TV show “In Living Color.”

I was going through our steampunk props the other day when I found the above examples. I wondered, was this really a Victorian fashion? According to the culture website visforvintage.net, the term “fascinator” originally applied to a lacy or crocheted shawl or scarf that was worn on the head. In the early 1900’s women began adding adornments such as feathers, flowers, and satin ribbons to their hair, which may have been how these elaborate little mini-hats originated. The term wasn’t applied to the tiny hats until late in the 20th Century. Lately, we’ve seen celebrities such as Kate Middleton wearing them in a distinctly non-steampunk context.

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