How many of us have spontaneously bought a piece of headwear for the races that feels out of date the next day, let alone next month? This year, shelve impractical fascinators and stand out from the crowd in a sharp-edged boater, floppy-straw style or beret.
A newsboy-style cap teamed with a pin-striped suit feels contemporary and powerful.
Best of all, you can wear these pieces even after racing season is over.
Cast last season’s lace fascinator aside for an oversized boater – it’s a classic that was made for the spring and summer months.
Bonnie Evelyn’s Black Sparkle Tweed Boater, $460
Inspired by Chanel, this piece will elevate any skirt, pant-suit or streamlined dress. With Italian wool, sparkly tweed and fringing, it’s a contemporary take on a vintage idea.
Suzy O’Rourke’s classic Lucia Felt Boater, $275
O’Rourke is a Sydney-based designer who has been creating elegant fascinators, hats and wedding veils since 2003. Her boater is handmade in wool and felt, and embellished with brass eyelets and a handcrafted, braided leather cord with tassels.
Mademoiselle Chapeaux’s Coco, $332
At a workshop in Paris, rows of milliners are seen hunched over timeworn sewing machines, stitching together straw for these classic boaters. Our pick of the season is the Coco style, which comes in 20 colours and is adorned with a black grosgrain band. Chloé Thiéblin founded Mademoiselle Chapeaux in 2011.
Suzy O’Rourke’s Pearl Fringe Boater, $790
For something dressier and very much an investment piece, this limited-edition take on the boater is woven by hand in toquilla straw and is hand-dyed. It features a band of faux pearls and a patent leather fringe.
THE HEAD SCARF
Scarves wrapped into turbans will be out in full force this year. With clever draping and iconic prints, hail ’70s glamour.
MOGA’s Head Scarf, $35
This Melbourne-based label has quickly gained traction for its statement headscarves. In April, the label earned a place on ASOS Marketplace, releasing five exclusive styles for the site. MOGA’s 23-year-old founder and designer, Azahn Munas, designs digital print silk scarves with bold designs.
Asos’s Silver Metallic Knot Front Hat, $16
Glitter shouldn’t be reserved for after-hours – it makes the daytime more decadent too. Bring disco to the daylight hours with this silver option.
Nerida Winter’s X-23, $335
Add a sense of drama to your outfit with this bold and sculptural bow-tie turban. Go for onyx on Derby or Cup days.
THE FLOPPY BRIM
The straw hat seems to get more voluminous season after season, and never goes out of style.
Lack of Color’s The Russo, $89
Robert Tilbury and Tess Corvaia began Lack of Colour in Queensland in 2011. Each piece is tinted with nostalgia, taking cues from the headwear worn by Bridget Bardot and Janis Joplin. The floppy-brimmed Russo is the ultimate sun hat made with sunflower straw.
Hatmaker’s Tahibiti, $590
Since Jonathan Howard launched his label Hatmaker in 2006, he’s gained a legion of fans including Orlando Bloom, Kendall Jenner and Yoko Ono. The wide-brimmed Tahibiti is soft, holds its shape and is easy to wear. It’s hand-woven with 100 per cent natural straw, which you’ll wear for many years after this one.
Brixton’s Dalia, $58
This Southern Californian label draws on influences from its South London namesake, Brixton. This design is made from 100 per cent wool, with a contrasting grosgrain ribbon band. It comes in a variety of colours, and channels old-world charm.
Clyde’s Lambskin Beret in Satsuma, $276
New York-based label Clyde is helmed by Vancouver native Dani Griffiths, who specialises in crocheted wool accessories. After working at Assembly, Griffiths went out on her own, designing a range of hats made in a small millinery in New York.
Charlotte Simone’s Bobbi the Beret, $126,
Known for winter scarves, Charlotte Simone’s Bobbi the Beret is made from 60 per cent angora and 40 per cent nylon. Inspired by the effortless Parisian woman, this accessory adds a dose of romance to your outfit. Charlotte Simone founded the label in 2011 after studying the social movements of French women.
Visors are no longer just for the tennis court – we guarantee you’ll see them by the racetrack this year.
Helen Kaminski’s Hamilton Visor, $180
Australian designer Helen Kaminski’s signature visor is sleek with studded detailing on straw and camel-coloured leather. Made by hand, raffia from Madagascar has been braided then laid onto the leather, creating clean lines and symmetry.
House of Flora’s White Hex Cut Visor, $505
Flora McLean launched her British label House of Flora in 1996. Informed by surrealism and the Bauhaus, McLean specialises in avant-garde headwear for catwalks and personal collectors; her designs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
This futuristic laser-cut acrylic visor is tied at the back with a grosgrain ribbon. It will elevate any black suit or dress, as well as neutral ensembles.
Fleet Ilya’s Racer Back Visor, $412
Based in London, this conceptual label blurs the boundaries between bondage and high fashion. Handmade and produced by Russian-born saddle maker Ilya Fleet, the geometrical styles are steered by graphic design graduate Resha Sharma.
This racerback visor is made from PVC and is fitted with three small silver buckles to allow the right fit for you. A cut-out triangle at the back provides enough room for your ponytail.
Baker boy, or newsboy-style hats are one of the season’s must-have accessories. Get it for the races, keep it for spring, resurrect it over the colder months.
Isabel Marant’s Evie Wool-Blend Felt Cap, $240
Made in France, this charcoal felt cap is woven with wool and cashmere. It’s structured but also slouchy at the crown, and best of all, is incredibly lightweight.
Lack of Colour’s Dunes Cap, $69
Let the sunshine in with this 100 per cent corduroy cotton cap. The same design comes in black, nude, gold and pink, and would work well on Stakes Day, when its time to get a little more playful.
Brixton’s Fiddler Cap, $56
Crown your outfit with this rope-trimmed fisherman’s cap (with a striped lining), reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s factory girl, Edie Sedgwick, who made her newsboy-style cap debut with round, acetate sunglasses.