millinery melbourne cup - turban style

Creating your racewear outfit! What is first … dress or millinery?

Personally, it’s always been the dress first. Obviously, it’s much easier to find a piece of stylish millinery in Melbourne to compliment your dress rather than the other way around. If you’re after a special piece for a Fashions on The Field competition or special Melbourne race-day, it’s really worth visiting a milliner who will help you create something really special which flows with your outfit.

You’d be surprised to know that it really doesn’t cost much more than some pieces which are readily available in the department stores.


How to choose the perfect millinery for your outfit?

The shape and colour of your chosen millinery will either make or break your entire look. Just at the last Melbourne Cup Carnival, two ladies wore the same dress with different coloured accessories and different shaped headwear. One of those ladies won the Fashions on the Field competition and the other didn’t get through to the second round of judging. Their millinery and colour combinations separated them. Take a look at a colour combo palette if you’re unsure.

creative Melbourne millinery

How to find the best Melbourne Millinery – Does it sit well?

Wear something which sits securely on your head and is easy to wear. I’ve had my share of not-so-easy to wear pieces perched on my head on race days and I’m over that! You don’t want to walk around all day, balancing whatever is sitting on your head. A good piece of millinery will sit just fine and allow you to enjoy your day without fussing about it.

The weather will play havoc on your millinery choice. If it’s a windy or rainy day, avoid wearing large millinery which will get soaked or fly away!

easy to wear millinery for the races

Stand out in the crowd with a unique hat!

Millinery should always be chosen to compliment your outfit. Choose a unique piece of millinery to stand out in the crowd but keep it stylish. The winner of this year’s Oaks Day Fashions on the Field wore a huge feather headpiece which definitely stood out in the crowd. Clashing colours do sometimes work, if done right.

Millinery should also compliment your personality and face shape. Keep up with trends and avoid wearing out-dated styles. Some trends won’t suit you so change it up a little. For example, the turban was so in fashion this year. Some milliners created a headband version for those who weren’t keen to wear the head-wrap. Some fashionistas wore modern turbans mad from straw with success (the Queensland representative wore a beautiful take on the turban made of straw and crinoline). Some styles are always in fashion so you can go with those as well.

Stylish Melbourne Millinery

Millinery at the Fashions on the Field – stay on trend!

This year saw a lot of turbans on heads. They were mainly made of straw and on headbands. Boaters were a favourite again, but a boater has yet to win the Fashions on the Field National competition. There were some very out-there pieces which were fun to look at, but would never do well in the Fashions on the Field competition. Floral crowns were still super popular. Percher hats were also still around. I scrambled to create my very first percher to wear to Oaks Day! It was also really nice to see the return of the large hat. The runner up of the National final wore a custom-made large hat, proving that they are very much in contention.

oaks day millinery winner fashions on the field 2017 Spring Racing Carnival

Creating the Winning piece of Millinery for the Melbourne Cup Fashions on the Field

When it comes to creating a piece of millinery, I will check out the latest trends and see what’s in fashion at the moment. For the Spring Carnival this year, I wanted to create a modern take on the turban ( which was very popular) for my client who wanted to enter the Fashions on The field competition. The traditional turban look would have been too heavy for the dress which was light and airy.  Luckily for me, my lovely client (also a friend) looked so divine in my creation that she won the Victorian title of the Fashions on the Field and came third in the National final. Not bad for a first time entrant!

Check out the winning outfit of Melbourne Cup Day 2017!

It took me two days to complete the winning piece, which I wanted to flow nicely with her gorgeous dress. The silk abaca was light to wear and complimented the slightly shiny fabric of her dress. The hand-made metallic flowers were also my own design and added that special finishing touch. It took a bit of effort in design and creating, but the end product was something both my client and I loved and were proud of. It is a piece which is unique, modern and stylish.

They’ll be more similar ones for sale on my website soon. Update: you can find my millinery at