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Hat Tricks For Spring Racing Season

With Melbourne Cup just around the corner we met with Australian milliner Felicity Northeast to get her stylish tips on wearing hats and fascinators to the big event. The Melbourne-based award-winning milliner shared everything from her best tips to wearing the right hat to complement your face to the styles to avoid, and she shares with us how she got into the Instagram filter game.

What are your 3 tips for wearing the right hat?

I believe it’s essential to choose pieces that reflect your individual personality as well as compliment your outfit style. The best way to tick these boxes is to try on as many hats and/or fascinators as you can so you can get a genuine feel for your favourites. While colour is important I’d also advise looking at the shape and style of your headpiece. And don’t forget, milliners also frequently make-to-order so this can be a helpful option to explore as well.

What are the latest trends in millinery this year?

This year it’s all about adding bold pops of statement colours, whether your go-to look is classic cut or contemporary, you can go as bold as you dare or tone it down with neural accessories as well as splashes of hot pinks, greens, yellows and blues, incorporating clashing colours will also be a stand out trend this year, bucking preconceived notions of what works and what doesn’t. In addition to colour, we’re also likely to see more feathers featuring trackside, particularly soft floating plumage, which works to add a little drama, lightness and movement to the finished look. From a style perspective, 1950s pillbox and wide brim hats, show-stopping, jaw-dropping millinery pieces and sophisticated, sleek streetwear styles will all have their time to shine trackside.

How should a non hat wearer ease into wearing hats?

For many, Spring Racing may be the only time of year they don headwear. If you’re not a seasoned hat wearer I’d suggest trying a fedora, boater hat or wider headband to ease into the style, they can provide a more familiar shape and feel.

You recently launched your own Instagram filter. How did the AR Insta filter come about?

During the extensive period of COVID lockdowns in Melbourne, Creative Victoria launched a pilot program which saw them contact gamers, AR and VR creators with fashion design creatives to explore ideas. I’m the only milliner in Australia offering access to AR filter technology as a fashion tool, which is very exciting and a game changer within the industry.

What are the biggest dos and don'ts of wearing hats?


  1. Most hats are designed to be worn angling down to the right

  2. Take a photo of yourself wearing the hat at the milliners so you can look back on it for reference

  3. Hats often look better with a little neckline showing

  4. Enjoy wearing a hat! It’s not often we do so have fun with it!


  1. Avoid wearing the elastic under your chin, put it at the back, under your hairline

  2. Get your hat wet. If the weather forecast is looking a little sketchy, scrunch up a dry cleaning bag and pop it in to keep it safe from rain. If it does get wet and alters in shape, talk to your milliner as most things can be fixed

  3. Store in bright light i.e. in the back of the car - many hats are made from straw and so they dry out and become brittle in direct sunlight

Do some designs better suit certain face shapes? If so, which designs work best with each shape?

It’s certainly important to take into account your face shape when selecting millinery pieces that will be the most flattering to wear.


When your face is longer than it is wide and you have minimal curves at your cheek bones you should balance your face with a wider hat, try larger brims and shorter crowns, place your hats at an angle, and try brims that flip upwards and are softer in style such as berets and ones with floppy brims.


When your cheekbones are the widest part of your face, both your forehead and chin are narrower, your face is longer than wider. Most hats will look great on for those with an oval face shape, enjoy and have fun wearing a variety of hats.


When your cheekbone width is about the same as the length of your face, and your jawline and your forehead hairline are rounded, try to lengthen your face with taller, angular crowns, try asymmetrical shapes and those with straighter lines, opt for hats that slant upwards, and for casual hats try fedoras and baker boy caps.


When there are minimal curves at your cheek lines and you have a strong jawline and when your forehead and jawline width are similar, balance angular face lines with rounder hat shapes, try asymmetrical or slanted or rounder brims, angle your hat across your face, and try berets and cap shapes.


When your face is wider at your forehead, you have a narrower jawline and your cheekbones width is just a little slimmer than your forehead try hats with a medium to smaller brim, slant your brims and try cloches and pillboxes.

With these great tips we are now excited about our next Felicity Northeast hat and for those rainy days when we're staying in we're going to be wearing our virtual fedora!


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