Royal Wedding Attire: What is a Fascinator?

Kate Middleton

Similar to the Kentucky Derby and church-going women, wearing a fancy hat to a royal wedding is essential. But these over-the-top headpieces aren't just feathers, blooms, and netting springing off of heads — they're called fascinators, a style of formal millinery that is popular among British women.

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As the world watches Prince William, 28, and Kate Middleton, 29, (soon to be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) tie the knot, a sea of fascinators will be in the backdrop. For such an occasion, a woman would ensure that a fascinator would sit atop her head. (Victoria Beckham was spotted wearing a navy pillbox creation.)

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The fanciful headwear became popular in the early 20th century and is often worn to the side or the front of the forehead, making the accessory look oddly bird-like at times.

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A popular London milliner who specializes in fascinators is Philip Treacy, who's work has been seen in Sex and the City. Middleton is rumored to be such a big fan, that she's commissioned him to create the headpieces that her bridesmaids will wear today.

Commemorate Will & Kate’s big day with our Us Collectors Edition: Royal Wedding with all the photos, anecdotes and details of the wedding. Available for pre-order now and on sale May 6.

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