The Duchess of Cambridge, AKA Kate MiddletonCredit: Courtesy Wikimedia Creative CommonsCredit: Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons

Kate Middleton's Keep It Simple Style

Why You Should Care

Kate Middleton fascinator hats are fabulous on her, but how can the average woman pull that look off without feeling silly? Stunning beauty, a great figure, natural grace and confidence, and lots and lots of money all help, but the beyond the obvious, the fashion secret behind how to look like Kate Middleton is simplicity.

Clean lines, impeccable tailoring, and perfect fit are the right place to start.

Elegance may sound easy, but in actual practice emulating Kate Middleton's style is a little bit more complicated than buying a nice suit and sticking some feathers in your hair.

Why should anyone even try?

Here are just a few excellent reasons for learning how to look like Kate Middleton:

  • Respect. People naturally respect a woman or a man who dresses well.
  • Get that raise. People who dress well make more money.
  • Confidence. Dressing well boosts confidence and self-esteem.
  • Stand out. Come on, aren't you kind of sick of clothes that stick to you like plastic wrap and make you look like Kim Kardashian's fatter, skankier second cousin?
  • Family values. It will make your grammy so happy.

A Substantial Fascinator Hat with a Lily Hat PinCredit: Courtesy Wikimedia CommonsCredit: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

What Is a Fascinator Hat Anyway and Why Did the Queen Forbid Them at Ascot?

The Politics of Ladies' Hats

A fascinator hat is a whimsical fashion item that is halfway between a hair accessory (like a headband or barrette) and a hat. A fascinator that covers a good part of the head is called a substantial fascinator (see photo above).

Fasinator hats are similar to cocktail hats, but unlike a coctail hat, a fascinator is worn on the side of the head. Fascinator hats can include feathers, jewels, veils, and very unusual design elements. They are most commonly seen on guests at weddings, afternoon ladies' events, and high teas.

Recently Queen Elizabeth banned fascinator hats at Ascot, the annual British sporting event which is famous for outlandish ladies' hats. Fascinators are still allowed in the grandstand, but inside the enclosure ladies are expected to wear hats.


Basically, a fascinator hat is associated with a more informal event or gathering. In banning fascinators (and also overly short or revealing dresses), the Queen is trying to preserve the dignity and formal tradition at Ascot.

Which may seem kind of funny considering the crazy hats that are worn there, but the important point here is that once upon a time, these things mattered and the Queen is trying to keep it so.

In the United States, almost no one wears fascinator hats (unless they are in a wedding party), but American fashion is inching up to the fascinator with the popularity of extravagant hair accessories that include feathers, bows, sparkle, and even short veils.

Not that long ago, even in the U.S., no lady went shopping without heels, hose, short gloves, and a hat. The popularity of the American television show Mad Men is triggering a resurgence in this kind of nostalgic style, and done well, it can be both fun and beautiful.

American Fascinator Hats at TeaCredit: Courtesy Wikimedia Creative CommonsCredit: Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons

How to Wear a Fascinator Hat Without Looking Silly

Be Fascinating in a Fascinator

The key to getting away with wearing a fascinator hat well is to dress simply and choose an appropriate occasion.

The following guidelines should help get you started:

  • Choose your occasion well. In the United States, appropriate occasions include afternoon weddings, wedding showers, lunch with women friends, formal teas and charity meetings, horse races, and garden parties. 
  • Dress simply but impeccably. Choose a simple fitted sheath or suit in a neutral color. Avoid prints and large patterns. Wear classic heels in the 3 inch range. Shorter heels forfeit that leggy look that compliments a lovely fascinator so well. A heel over 4 inches lends an unwanted Western bordello flavor to the outfit.
  • Limit other accessories. Because a fascinator hat is a dramatic statement, don't add lots of jewelry, scarves, or other fussy accessories. A good way to punch up your neutral clothing is to use a pop of color in your shoes or bag. Everyone should own a pair of classic red pumps. This would be a great time to take them out.
  • Keep hair simple too. Short hair should not be drenched in product. Long hair can be worn in a French knot or left down. 
  • Fasten your fascinator. Make sure your fascinator hat is securely attached to the side of your head so it doesn't fall into your salad. 

Most of all, have fun!

The 1970s killed off ladies' hats and gloves, at least in the U.S., seemingly forever, but all the signs seem to indicate hats are sneaking back in, slowly but surely. Enjoy them.

Just don't wear your fascinator the Ascot races this year.