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Buying Ladies Fascinators versus Hiring Hats and Fascinators

Looking to Buy Fascinators in Australia versus Hiring Millinery?

You have so many options when it comes to choosing headwear for a special event or race day. You can purchase millinery directly from a local Australian milliner / designer, buy it online from a hat and fascinator store like Headonista or department stores such as David Jones and Myer. The additional choice is hiring a headpiece.

Buying versus hiring fascinators

I was interested to learn more about what’s involved with hiring millinery so I checked out a few stores and here’s what I found.

When you use a site such as you can hire a hat or fascinator from $35 per week for a simple piece. The more elaborate the headwear, the more expensive the weekly rental fee is and you can be looking at over $300 per week for a really elaborate headpiece, but worth the cash if you really want to enhance your look.

Generally, you’ll pay 15-25% of the retail value of the headwear in rental fees. In addition, you will need to pay for return postage and parcel tracking. Expect to pay $15-$20 depending on where you live. And if you decide to take out insurance it’s $1.50 per $100 rental value.

So as a minimum for a $35 piece, you’ll pay $56.50.

When you put your bid in for hire, the renter has up to 3 days to respond. So with the 7 day hire, up to 5 days approx. for shipping, you’re probably looking at a 2 week turnaround period for this option. Not great if you are looking for a last minute fascinator solution.

On top of that, you will need to consider late return fees, minor or major damage fees, cancellation policy fees and replacement fees.

Another smaller Millinery Hire company is Angie Jackman from where all of the millinery is created by Angie so you are hiring directly from the Milliner.

Hiring v Buying fascinators


After choosing your fascinator, you contact Angie direct with the dates that you need the headwear. On approval, you pay the hire fee plus a bond which is the full RRP of the headwear. The hire period is for 4 days and when your fascinator has been returned in its original condition your bond is returned. In the event of any damage or late return, this fee is taken from your bond.

Pros of hiring:

  1. Unique handmade piece by some of the world’s top Milliners.
  2. Cheaper than buying the original RRP hat or fascinator.
  3. Given 4-7 days of use which excludes shipping time.
  4. High-end quality piece.
  5. Can have a different fascinator every time you wear one.

Cons of hiring:

  1. With Millinery Market if you don’t like the piece when you get it, generally can’t get a refund so you need to choose carefully.
  2. If your headwear gets damaged, you need to pay for the damage or replacement.
  3. In the event of postage being delayed, headwear might not arrive in time so you’ll need to plan this option carefully.
  4. Additional fees are involved for late returns, damage and replacement and cancellation fees.
  5. If you are entering Fashions on the Field, the headwear potentially may have been entered previously so you’ll need to do your homework.
  6. As your headwear is second hand, make sure you are aware of any imperfections before hiring to avoid being liable for them.

On the flipside, when buying a piece of millinery, this also has pros and cons.

Millinery purchase pros:

  1. One of the most convenient parts of this option is that you can try the headpiece on and return if you don’t like it prior to your special day.
  2. If you damage it, as it’s yours, there are no additional fees to be paid.
  3. Multi-use. You’ll be able to repurpose your piece to different events over its lifetime. Add and edit as you go to create a new look.
  4. Shop to budget. You can find a hat or fascinator to fit your budget and know that it’s all-inclusive.

Millinery purchase cons:

  1. Depending on where you shop, you’ll be paying the full RRP so if it’s a bespoke piece you will generally pay over $100
  2. When your headwear is mass produced, someone else could be wearing it.
  3. Allow for delivery times with postage when purchasing online particularly if you live in regional Australia.

hiring compared to buying fascinators

With all options, the key is to set a budget and timeframe. When you need a last minute fascinator then hiring might be a great option if you are close to the hire company. With some savvy planning, purchasing online can also be a great option when you want to wear your headpiece more than once. I always calculate my purchases on a 'cost per wear' basis - helps me justify the upfront investment!



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