So what exactly is a fascinator?
Technically, a fascinator is a light, decorative headpiece consisting of feathers, flowers, beads, etc (I specialize in the ETC part) that is attached to a hair clip or comb. Think: British royal wedding.
If you are more comfortable calling it a mini hat, or a tiny hat, go for it. I find that people are far more comfortable with the term hat.
How does it stay on my head?
The default for most of the fascinators is an alligator clip. Some of the heavier pieces may have 2 clips on the bottom. If you prefer a headband, you have the option to choose a slim metal headband from the dropdown menu in the shop.
Do I want a clip or a headband?
There is a felt base on the bottom of the hat or fascinator with a channel where the clip and/or headband slides through. You can remove the clip or headband by gently sliding it out. This also makes it easier to remove the fascinator from your head as you can remove the clips from the piece entirely. If you are undecided request a headband. They automatically come with the clip(s) as well, so you can decide what is the most comfortable for you.
Can I dance/walk/be generally fabulous while wearing it?
Regardless of whether you choose a headband or clips, you want to make sure you really secure it to your hair. Don't be shy about getting a good bit of hair in the clip. It might take more than one try to get it on straight and secure.
If you are using a headband you will still want to use at least one clip to hold it steady. The headband will keep the fascinator ON your head, the clip will help hold it in the spot you want.
I can assure you that I have worn all sorts of things on my head for hours and danced, walked, and dined.
Anything else I should know?
Some of the general rules for up-dos also apply to wearing a fascinator. Dirty hair tends to work a bit better than clean. If your hair is thin you may want to use bobby pins to create an X to help stabilize the clips.
It takes a few minutes to adjust to having a fascinator on your head. That awkward feeling will go away once you are confident that it is well attached to your head.
Don't forget you are adding a bit to your height. Be particularly careful getting in and out of cars - you are going to need a bit more clearance.
Other people are going to enjoy you wearing a fascinator. They may want to take your picture. They may ask you why you have a cocktail/book/popcorn/cupcake/etc on your head. There is pretty much no such thing as a subtle fascinator, so be ready to accept compliments and excuse confusion.
I still have questions!
That's OK! Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.