Every year people ask me the question, "should I buy my dress first or my hat first?". My answer is always it’s really up to you. If you have a dress or a look you love then you can show a milliner and they can create the perfect hat for your look or they may even have one made up ready to go. Or if you fall in love with a hat a milliner has created then you can hunt down the perfect look to tie in with the hat. If you ever feel like this process is too hard, you can always consult your Style Doctor!
For those of you who do not know what a milliner is, it is a person who designs, makes and sells hats. A couture milliner is one who makes one off pieces so that no one else will have the same hat as you.
Another thing to note too is we are in the middle of Spring Racing so your hats should be straw, lace, leather or metallic. Leave your felt or wool hats till the Autumn Carnival.
One more tip is if you are buying online without trying a hat on, make sure you measure your head so you know it will fit perfectly or if you are getting a couture piece the milliner will do this for you.
I have worked with quite a few different milliners over the years and they all have their own unique style. I admire a lot of international milliners but I always like to support Australian Designers so I have listed some of my favourite Aussie milliners below. I have a lot more I admire but these are the ones I know and have worked with so I can vouch for their passion and quality of work.
For those that follow @thestyledr on instagram will know I am a huge fan of Jane’s work. Jane has created so many hats for me over the year including the famous black leather turban, which won me the Autumn Carnival Fashion Chute last year.
From boaters to bows and everything in between Jane can do it all. Jane has a studio in Potts Point which she has some hats made up or she can create one specifically tailored to your look.
Above: The wonderful Jane Stoddart herslef
Above: The leather turban
More of my favourite pieces from Jane
Ann has created hats for many famous faces over the years including Rachael Finch and Jennifer Hawkins and I have used her hats in photoshoots and she is also a regular at my Spring Racing events. Ann has a really creative edge to her hats (and even her personal style) and can do everything from small headbands, to bows, to lace hats and even boaters.
Ann’s creative edge means she can adapt the pieces to your own style whether it be demure and feminine, on trend or flamboyant she will make sure you stand out for the right reasons!
The edgy Ann Shoebridge
The gorgeous Viera Macikova at our Spring Racing event in one of Ann's pieces
Jen Hawkins in one of Ann's pieces
Genevieve was a newcomer to The Style Doctor Spring Racing event this year but I have admired her work for a while now. Genevieve’s attention to detail is incredible. Her current collection has a lot of floral pieces and she hand makes each flower that’s hand stitched on the hats. She has a real feminine style to her designs, which would make them perfect for Oaks day!
One of my favourite hats I’ve ever worn was the French navy and red braided boater created by Gen and the workmanship was absolutely incredible!
Genevieve Reynolds from Genevieve Ren Millinery with Viera
Me wearing Gen's braided boater
Viktoria is the queen of crowns! Her label has evolved over the years and if asked I am sure she could whip up a boater, however, she has found her unique style and her pieces are some of the most recognized pieces at the track. From leather crowns to metallic crowns and even jeweled pieces, Viktoria can create the perfect crown for you. She hand makes all her pieces herself and always makes the wearer feel so special!
The great thing about Viktoria’s pieces is that you can wear them to other events without feeling too OTT.
Viktoria Novak herself
All wearing Viktoria's pieces
Nerida has an amazing positive and creative energy that comes out when you talk to her and you can see this in her hats too. Nerida is the Official Milliner to the ATC so she has dressed so many famous over the years including Kate Waterhouse, Nikki Phillips, Elle Halliwell and Jen Hawkins to name a few.
I have recently bought a share in a horse and being a part of the syndicate meant that we get to design a hat for all the women to wear. I can’t wait to work with Nerida on this project!
Nerida Winter on the right
Jack and Jill Millinery
Also known as @millineryjill on instagram I would say has a feminine style but then occasionally she will surprise me with a cool top hat. Jill is another one of those milliners who has incredible attention to detail.
Jill made a beautiful pleated bow for me this year and I loved it. It’s a really versatile piece that I could wear to the autumn or spring races.
Jill is based in Melbourne so sadly I haven’t met her yet but she is great at working remotely and working off pictures of your dress.
Wearing Jill's pleated bow
Sarah J Curtis
The best things about Sarah J Curtis’ hats are they are extremely versatile. A hat you wear to the track could easily be worn to the beach or by the pool in summer.
I am yet to wear one of Sarah’s pieces to the races but this hat I wear all the time was worn by Jesinta Franklin at Royal Randwick and I am sure I will find a look to wear with it.
All of these Milliners have express shipping so it's not too late to order from them for the carnival!
If you need any further style medicine, please contact your Style Doctor.