Waity Katie in her splendid feather fascinator

I walked into the Winning Looks Derby Event at Calospa last week, took one look at the models and said out loud, “I just love all those headbands.” Gasp. It is not a headband, nor a headpiece; it is a FASCINATOR.

Fascinators hail from the United Kingdom, where hats and fascinators are on another level. Here is the difference between a headband that you pick up at Claire’s for your daughter and these, which adults wear to everything from Derby to weddings (if the Queen approves, so do I). Fascinators are considered a style of millinery and they can be worn in the place of hats. What sets them apart is they are more whimsical than a regular headpiece. They are usually made of beads, flowers, feathers or lace and attach to the head via a headband, barrette or comb.

Too much. As much as I worship at the altar of SJP, this is too much.

At the Calospa event, several fascinators from local designers were on display. They were stunning. For the Poppie Design fascinators below, I learned that the artist’s “real job” was working in an operating room, which explains the intricate detail and wiring on some of these pieces. She could be on my surgical team anytime.

Poppie Design fascinators by Louisville Artist Donna Chancellor 


Fascinator attached to headband of Calospa’s Rachel Wood

Fascinator is attached to a barrette, worn near the ear a la Ashley Judd.


And now, I introduce the “Substantial Fascinator” from Madam Foo Foo, worn by Calospa’s Jessica Anderson and Amanda Carter.

Substantial is right… there is no missing this one


Referring to the Royal Ascot dress code, these are the only suitable types of fascinators allowed per Her Majesty. I take this to mean that it’s almost a hat, but not quite.


Are you game?


And, don’t you dare wear that old flowered headband into the races dear.

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