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Our Guide to Dressing for the Autumn/Winter Racing Season: Hats and Millinery

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The Autumn-Winter racing season is becoming a bigger deal on the Australian racing fashion calendar, and with the Fashions on the Field events across the country attracting many entries with some stunning millinery on show, we thought we'd give you handy guide to dressing for Autumn racing, so you know what to wear on race day to beat the competition!  

T H E   S E A S O N

The season kicks off in Feb with the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival and goes through to Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival in June, whilst famously incorporating the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival in March/April, Perth Racing Carnival in April and also the Adelaide Autumn Carnival from March to May. But there are also some great country races throughout this period, all fabulous occasions for you to whip out your best racewear and flaunt it on the Fashions on the Field stage, such as the Albury Cup (NSW), Mornington Cup (VIC) and the Oakbank Easter Races (SA). 

T H E   F A S H I O N

The Autumn racing fashion is all about sophistication, elegance and dressing for the weather; sleeves should be longer, toes should be closed, hems should be knee length and stockings are advised. The lines are a lot cleaner and sharper than might be seen in Spring time, with frills swapped for more sculptured edges. Its also an excuse to accessorise with gloves, capes and jackets (hurrah!) which don't generally get an outing in the warmer months and it is well placed accessories like these that turn an outfit from nice into spectacular! And why not rock an elegant pant suit, hells yes! Autumn/Winter racing is just the place to bring out those babies!  

But dressing for the weather is important not just for the competition, but for your own personal comfort - Autumn/Winter Down Under is often still quite warm, so think twice about the fur jacket on a 25 degree day! In practice trackside outfits are often still quite Spring like in their appearance on a sunny day, so take into account the weather forecast on the day you're attending.  

Colours tend to be of a darker palette (although this is not a hard n' fast rule, and there to be broken of course), but that doesn't mean dull by any stretch of the imagination, it just means you should think about saving your candy-coloured pastels until Spring. Consider instead, those lush autumn shades, or warm, rich brights. Or if you really are really committed to those pastels, team them with a heavier fabric, darker colour or longer sleeves. 

Here's some great Autumn Racing fashion looks we spotted from FOTF at the Mornington Cup 2015. Note the the elegant use of capes, gloves, longer sleeves, pants, leather and felt hats.... and an amazing splash of colour, creativity and confidence - the three C's!  All looks that take advantage of the seasonal fashion, but are appropriate for the Australian climate. We love them all! 

T H E   M I L L I N E R Y 

Millinery-wise for Autumn Racing think about felt headpieces and hats as in Australian climes where you may not get to wear felt much, Autumn racing is the perfect excuse to put it in the limelight! There are many beautiful sculptured headpieces on the market with felt bases or with stunning felt trims. It's also a chance to wear more traditional hat styles which maybe too heavy for the Spring. Think pillboxesclochesfedoras or bowlers.

But trans-seasonal millinery materials such as leather, or heavier fabrics and strawbraids make an excellent and versatile choice, as they can always be worn again and re-styled for Spring/Summer racing, and are super on trend at the moment.  

This lovely feather quill hat by Reny Kestel is in a beautiful trans-seasonal colour and fabric.

Pheasant feathers make a gorgeous trim for Autumn, their colours are perfectly matched to the season. A bird with such fabulous plumage and feathers from golden browns to vibrant reds, and monochrome black and whites depending on the breed.

Beautiful Lady Amherst Pheasant Hat with Geometric Lace by Amanda Dudley - perfect in colour and style for Autumn Racing

We stock a range of stunning hats for Autumn Racing which we lovingly curate from the talented milliners and designers in our store. Here's some highlights from this year's collection: 

 L-R - Serena Lindeman - Black Flutter  Kim Wiebenga Burnt Red Leather Percher   Kim Wiebenga Navy/Red Feathers   Stephanie Spencer - Leather Rose Headband 

V I N T A G E   H A T S

The Autumn Winter racing season is also the perfect time to bring out some vintage hats and headpieces, especially if you are going for the classic look, as the order of the day is sophistication, glamour and elegance, of which they had an abundance of in the eras 1920 - 1960. Luckily for you we have a number of vintage pieces which are perfect for the season.    

Here's a selection of vintage hats from our A/W15 collection which would look great trackside for Autumn Racing. 

But you know how you really should dress for the races? In something that makes YOU feel comfortable and ever so awesome. You can read all the fashion guides and learn what you're "supposed" to wear, but if you feel good in what you're wearing, whatever it is, then that's when you're really going to radiate the X Factor ... but just remember the coat in case it rains ;o) 

What are you're tips for making an Autumn racing outfit sparkle? We'd love to know so let us know your thoughts in the comments :)

XX The Eternal Headonist XX 

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