A Headwear Affair

"A woman is not really dressed unless she is wearing a hat." Virginia Graham, US talk show host.

This quote never rings more true than right now, in the middle of Spring Carnival. The races have become one of the very few places where we put in the extra effort to really dress up and wear a hat. Even the men get in on the action!

*Hats are not just for the women! MRC Fashion Style Stakes Winner, Neil Carpenter.

Image courtesy Melbourne Racing Club

I grew up in a time when the racewear outfits my mum and her friends wore consisted of power suits, lampshade style hats and shoulder pads. When Princess Di was a fashion icon. Where coral, lime and muted patterns more suited to your grandma's curtains were in fashion. Cringeworthy yes, but those days were also a great lesson in elegance, style, and femininity.

Whilst I'm usually a girl more comfortable in jeans and an oversized shirt, I am partial to a good piece of millinery. Hats, fascinators, headpieces and crowns - whether subtle or statement making, they've stood the test of time as a raceday accessory, and are a great way to inject your personality into your outfit.

Millinery is the highly skilled art of designing and creating hats and headwear. Courses and workshops in hat-making are becoming more popular, while pieces are becoming more creative in both design and material. Hat blocks and steamers are used to mould the material into the desired shape. Tools resembling those you see at the dentist help form delicate flowers and embellishments. Depending the complexity, creation can take anywhere from a day to 4 weeks.

Here in Australia we are blessed to have an abundance of amazingly talented milliners to choose from. One such milliner is Melbourne based Kerrie Stanley. Her award winning sculptural and minimalistic designs have adorned the heads of celebrities, racegoers and brides for over a decade.

I first met Kerrie in 2014, when she was an ambassador and Fashions on the Field judge for the Golden Slipper Festival. Since then, her gorgeous designs have become a staple in my racewear wardrobe.

"Trackside is the perfect opportunity to pop a bit of fabulousness on your head! To not wear one is almost sacrilegious!" states Kerrie.

Kerrie creates both bespoke and ready to wear designs that can be purchased directly from her studio or from selected Myer stores. Her second business, Designer Hat Hire, was created after Kerrie realised her collection of unique headpieces from dressing celebrities and ambassadors were just waiting for another outing. Kerrie's Spring Carnival Pop Up Shop is also now open for a limited time in Hawthorn. Representing both Kerrie's and other milliners hats and headpieces for sale and hire, the store is the perfect spot to find the piece that will complete your Spring outfit.


818A Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn. Open Tues - Sun.

Tues/Wed/Fri 11am - 7pm

Thur - 11am - 6pm

Sat 10am - 5pm

Sun 12pm - 3pm

Follow Kerrie on Instagram @kerriestanley

The Spring Carnival continues this week with Caulfield's Blue Sapphire Stakes Day on Wednesday followed by Caulfield Cup Day on Saturday. Find out more here. See you trackside!

*L to R: With Kerrie & wearing a Kerrie design at Rosehill Gardens 2014. The Hawthorn Pop Up Shop. Kerrie & Fashion Judges at Cairns Amateurs. A selection of hat blocks & millinery tools. Images Courtesy Designer Hat Hire / On Track On Trend / Una Hats.

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