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Trends and tips

Millinery trends for 2016–2017
(click on the photos to see the fashion hats in detail)

What styles of hats are in this year?

There are exciting new shapes around for 2016–2017:

  • Brims – Those wanting to make a statement will be stepping out in a brim this year! Brims with shallow crowns such as boater styles, down turned "lampshade" brims or stylized Coolie shapes are breaking out this season. These hats create a spectacular silhouette. The taller you are, the wider the brim you can wear!

Fashion hat Isobel in Black and White, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Dusty Pink Clarice Boater, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Xaranda in Yellow and Grey, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Halos and headbands for those who prefer noble simplicity and those new to the wearing of hats and headpieces. Made from delicate laces, perspex, supple leathers, innovative waterproof paper, crinoline and braid. Light and easy to wear, you can float from one busy marquee to another with ease.

Fashion hat Liberty Halo, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Leandra Headpiece, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Ladasha Halo, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Gotta love a turban!!! This season Louise Macdonald Milliner presents some sleek straw turban wraps that are perfect for every day casual wear, or, accented with delicate gold or silver threads, can be worn more formally. Wear them with some bold earrings or necklace, and you'll be sporting the hottest look in town!

Fashion hat Candice Turban in Cream and Gold, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Candice Turban in Blue and Natural, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

  • Freeform sculpting and draping are key to Louise Macdonald Milliner's recognizable style. I love exploring the weave of the material I am using, and I work with it to best enhance the flow of the headpiece. Here are some signature styles this season that show off this fluid line, and simply embellished and sophisticated:

Fashion hat Sabra Headpiece, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Mint Sega Headpiece, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald Fashion hat Masonaba in White and Navy, a design by Melbourne milliner Louise Macdonald

What materials are you using in your millinery?
Various varieties of straw that is light to wear and breathes well on those hot Spring days. I work with the different weaves to produce delicate flowing pieces that look like they have been poured on the head – they sit so well! Lace, crinoline, veiling and some waterproof paper all feature in my range this Spring.

What are the most popular colours for 2016–2017?

  • pastel subdued colours will be everywhere; various shades of blue, pale, pink lilac and soft grey and silver
  • white and ivory
  • orange in shades of tangerine, papaya and pumpkin
  • black and white for Derby Day, of course!

However, you don't necessarily want a hat that is exactly the same colour as your dress.
Match your headwear with your accessories, shoes, bag, jewellery – with current trends, there is great flexibility in putting colours together. Even nail polish and lipstick can be used to help pull different colours together in your outfit.


Millinery tips (for any season)

What makes a good headpiece? What should people look for when purchasing a hat?

  1. You want something that suits your face shape and height

    • If you have a round face, you want to lengthen it by wearing something that is tall, or gives your face height. Try a tall crowned pill box or a high headpiece.

    • If you have a long face, you want to shorten it by wearing something that gives your face width, for example a shallow crown or a beret or pill box where the trim is positioned down low, towards the side of your face.

    • If you have a tiny face, you will be swamped in a big hat and vice versa. You need to find a hat that is in proportion with your face and height. The best way to approach this is by going to a professional. Not only can they help you choose something that suits you, but also tell you the best way to wear it (keep reading!).

    • If you can't see a milliner, make sure you try lots of different styles and tilt them at different angles on your head. A headpiece worn straight on the top of your head may look ridiculous, but a little tilt forward and to one side can make you shine! With the smaller headpieces that have been around for a few seasons, it is all about the angle you wear it!

  2. You want something that suits your personality!

    That tends to be easier to manage. Most people are drawn to fashions that speak to them and reflect their style. Quirky, classic or showstopper!

A few more essential tips to consider when investing in a hat or headpiece:

  • It's best to buy from a professional, someone who knows about millinery. There are many of us in Melbourne and around Australia. You can get key advice on what suits you and, very importantly, how to wear the hat. Many current styles are not as straight forward to wear as your traditional hat.

    Take a photo of yourself in the hat or headpiece when purchasing it, so you can remind yourself how to position it when getting ready on the day. It's common to see people wearing their hats back the front (the label should go to the back) or tilted in the wrong direction – hats are designed to be worn at a particular angle; if it doesn't look good tipped to the right, try it to the left or wearing it straight on.

  • Take your dress or a photo of you in your dress when you go shopping for a hat. This really helps with colour and style choices when discussing your options with your hat professional! The visual communication is the best tool to describe your jade green semi structured asymmetric three quarter length jacket!

  • Experiment with how you arrange your hair. Some women may choose to wear their long locks out as they would most days, but this is not always the best hair style when wearing a hat. Try pulling your hair back in a low pony tail or bun. This elongates the neck and provides a great platform for your headwear!

    If you have a fringe, try sweeping it to one side or under the hat. How does it look? Or parting your hair on the other side. Depending on how you wear your hat, this can have the effect of shortening or elongating your face. Play around with the options; you'll be surprised with the alternatives.

  • Make sure your piece is comfortable to wear. Check the hat elastic is not too tight, and it can be secured comfortably to your head without sliding around.

Most importantly, have fun at the races or wherever you go with your beautiful hat!

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