Which hat with which outfit? How to complete your winning race day look

By Joanna Zara, February 25, 2019

 joanna zara millinery | hat designer 


In my last post, we looked at key fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2019 that will turn heads at the races. But of course, whatever you wear, nothing beats having the perfect hat to set off your chosen look.

There is an art to putting the right hat and outfit together so enjoy spending time on this: the results will be worth it! Have your heart set on a particular hat style? Then think of the rest of your outfit as the “frame” that sets it off to perfection.

Already know exactly what you want to wear on the day? Then choose a hat that adds that special extra “something” – the final flourish that completes your signature look.
Scroll down to see my Top 5 tips on choosing the right hat for your outfit – and for news of a fabulous competition!

1. No fighting!

If your dress and your hat are both competing for attention, nobody wins. As a rule of thumb, if the dress has a lot of detail keep the hat simple. An intricate, embellished hat works best with an outfit that has a clean, uncluttered silhouette.

This showstopping hat needs nothing more than an elegant shift dress to complement it


The details on this lace will work perfectly with a simple beret style - or for a younger look, try a cute mini boater 

2. What is your message?

High octane glamour? Relaxed luxury? Classic elegance? Bear this in mind when choosing your hat – if hat and outfit are both “on message”, your look will have much more impact.

Keep the relaxed luxurious aesthetic of this coloured trouser suit by pairing it with a classic Panama - add a custom trim for extra style points!

Wear this full skirted lace dress with a simple neutral straw hat or Panama for a summery vibe  


3. To match or not to match?

If all your accessories are one colour and your dress is another, this draws attention away from the central “look”. Instead, try hat and dress in the same colour, with other accessories in a neutral colour. Another failsafe is to have the hat in a soft metallic shade.

a simple veir percher style with a modest brim is perfect for this elegant dress A sculptural headpiece in a soft metallic shade works beautifully with any colour

4. Colour blocking

Colour blocking once again featured on many of the SS19 catwalks and is a great way of making an impact, even with a small hat or headpiece. The idea is to put two contrasting colours together: one for the dress, one for the hat. Here are some interesting combinations to give you some inspiration. A top tip: look at this season’s fashion prints to see which colours work well together.

 modern brights, warm natural tones and grown up ice cream shades

5. Let your hat do the talking

Why not let your hat give a “nod” to this year’s trends instead? A good milliner will help you choose suitable trims and colours that will work well with the rest of your outfit. What could be better as a special pre-race day treat? Key SS19 features such as lace and colour blocking can be reflected in your hat design, as can bows and feathers:

 Bows: A perfect nod to this season's trend! Team with a simple fitted dress for maximum impact

Feathers: Make your statement with feathers - this fun headpiece is so easy to wear and can be made up in a rainbow of colours  

Do you want to win a bespoke hat made by Joanna? Enter a competition here.

Joanna Zara is an award-winning milliner; she designs and creates elegant, wearable handmade hats and headpieces at her Hove studio.

Instagram: jzmillinery

Facebook: JoannaZaraMillinery

Twitter: jzmillinery

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