Dont be pipped at the post in the style stakes if youre heading to the track for the spring racing carnival 

IT’S time for all fillies to saddle up for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the biggest week of the spring racing season and the Australian horse racing calendar.

This weekend is Derby Day, the first day of the carnival and perhaps the most prestigious of the week-long event. So it’s little wonder that some women take months to plan their spring racing wardrobe – having outfits made to match their hats, or hats created to match their outfits. Its a serious business. And the really serious often prepare two outfits per race day – one if the day turns cold and the other for warmer weather!!! 

But if you’re planning a less-than-serious outing to Flemington or just to your local race course, a hat or head piece is an absolute must for any racegoer – novice or otherwise.

Spring racing fashion calls for straw hats, fascinators and simple head pieces, or for the less adventurous, flowers in the hair. But as much as a hat is compulsory for those who wish to enter fashions on the field, celebrated Sydney milliner Nerida Winter says that hats are also about entertainment; theyre not just a statement of etiquette or conformity. So if youre looking for last-minute options, try national department stores – Myer and David Jones and look for labels such as Gregory Ladner, the Two Mrs Grevilles, Fiona Powell and Kasmo. In Sydney try Nerida Winter, Hatmaker,  Jane Lambert or Neil Grigg. In Melbourne seek out Julie Fleming, Louise Macdonald, Serena Lindeman or Kerrie Stanley. 

So dont be pipped at the post in the style stakesBefore you head to the track, consider these tips and dress codes to make your day more memorable or, at the very least, more comfortable. 

If you want more, read here

Local celebrity Jodi Anasta wears her headpiece across one side of her face.
What hat style suits what face shape
The following is a general rule of thumb regarding head shapes and suitable hat styles.  Wear a hat wider that the broadest part of your face (this includes glasses).  Width may be achieved by the crown, brim or trimmings.

Oval face  you can wear most shapes. But be cautious if you are tiny, avoid the over-large hat style.

Round face ... choose a hat with a tall crown, an uplift brim and off-centre trim will add length to the face.

Square face ... select a hat with height and irregular outline. An oversized crown is excellent. Since your face is broad your hat should soften your features.

Oblong face (long) ... you need a hat to widen and soften the facial features.  A mushroom brim hat with a full blown look is ideal.  Avoid the tall narrow hat, as this will make the face appear to thin.

Triangle face (wide) ... you should wear a hat that sits on the back of the hairline. The hat should have width as you need to widen your narrow brow and minimise the strong jaw line. A breton or turban draped low and wide will do the trick.

Heart-shaped face ... wear your hat deep on the brow, large brims are great.

Tips and hints
1: Make sure your hats sits firmly on your head so your hands are free for eating, drinking and talking! If your hat feels a little loose, use a hat pin, or wear a headpiece with a stitched in hair comb.

2: If you plan to make a statement with your hat, keep your outfit simple. However, if your outfit is bright and colourful, keep your hat small and simple.

3: If you have long hair, pull your hair into a chignon – either high on your crown under the hat, or low at the bottom of the hat – which will provide an anchor for a more full-fitting hat. Keep your hat in place with hair pins or use the hair combs stitched inside.

4: If you are tall you can carry off large-brimmed hats in a contrasting shade to your outfit, to break up on strong colour. But don’t wear hats with high crowns if you are very tall and slim – they will only make you look taller.

5: If you are short, wear small-brimmed hats, especially if you have a rounded figure – large brims will make you look shorter and plumper. For extra height, wear hats with tall crowns, and one that co-ordinates rather than contrasts, with your outfit.

6: If you opt for a fascinator or small headpiece, wear slightly to the front to one side above one eye, NOT in the centre. 

7: Always try on hats with your outfit to make sure you get a good colour match and a feel for the overall look.

How to avoid hat hair
If you have long hair and plan on wearing it down, take a small amount of hair near the crown, twirl it around and pin into a chignon (small bun) on the crown before you put your hat on. Not only only will you have a place to put your hatpin (the chignon will provide a good anchor), but when you take the hat off and unpin the chignon, the top layer of your hair will be wavy and full, and voila, no hat hair.

On the other hand, if you straighten your hair, a hat can help maintain the straight look.
Those with short hair should ruffle your hair after removing the hat and then it leave alone; too much fussing only makes it worse.

A few more points ...
1: It’s a long day, so if you plan on wearing heels, make sure they are comfortable and broken in.  Nothing worse than seeing a women carrying her shoes as she continues to walk – or should I say stumbling – barefooted around the course!!!! It’s so not ladylike!

2: Wearing stilettos but you’re not sure how to traverse the lawn areas without damaging your favourite – and expensive – pair of heels? Never fear, there’s a product for that! Starlettos are here. Shaped like a little flower, Starlettos are small discreet attachments that cup the bottom of your heel, increasing the surface area to the ground so that when you wear heels on grass they don't sink in and get damaged.

3: If you plan on entering the Myer Fashions on the Field competition, the prizes are amazing so its well worth taking the time to plan your outfit. Generally, the judging panel will be looking for style, originality, attention to detail, understanding and interpretation of the current fashion trends, grooming and deportment. But at the end of the day its about the overall co-ordinating look.

Are you heading out to the track? Got your outfit organised? Or will you be like the rest of the country watching on television in the office? Happy betting. 

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