Do you think it’s harder to find a races outfit or hat?

For me, it is almost always the hat. An outfit I can generally pull out of my closet, but it is the issue of not having a hat that often stops me from going to some race events. And this makes me sad.

Not too long ago, I was struggling to find the right hat amongst my (now rather large) hat collection. I’d left it to the last minute (of course) and the pressure was mounting. I felt frustrated and panicky, feelings I experience all too often when preparing for a race event.

But it was precisely this struggle, that prompted me to think up a way to make it easier for women to find a race day hat.


Millinery Market. An online marketplace that connects women who are looking to rent or buy a hat, with talented milliners and other race enthusiasts from all over Australia.

buy rent hat fascinator millinery headpiece


So, this is the tale of how a frustrating search for the perfect hat led me to the creation of an online millinery marketplace.

The Struggle is Real – Finding the Right Hat

It was the morning of Sunday June 4th, just a week out from Stradbroke Cup. This was the biggest event of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and the one I was looking forward to the most.

My favourite theme is ‘black, white and a touch of red’ and I had such fun memories from the previous year where I was lucky enough to take home the winning sash.

Having just attended the Doomben 10,000 Race Day and Ladies Oaks Day, I was already in a bit of (what I like to call), ‘races debt’. I had to find an outfit from my existing wardrobe.

I pulled a selection of potential clothing options out of my (9-door) closet and experimented with different dress, skirt, top and belt combinations.

find the right races outfit dress

Clothes piled high on the floor while experimenting. Still haven’t put them away months later… Haha jk

Eventually I settled on a hounds-tooth print pencil skirt with a black, ruffle sleeve Maticevski top.

hounds-tooth print pencil skirt

Okay. Progress.

Next, the trickiest part – finding the right hat. It’s such an important step. You can have all the right elements in your outfit, but if your millinery isn’t right, the whole look won’t work.

I’ve built up quite a collection of hats over the years, so I was able to pull a few suitable options for the black and white theme.

millinery hat collection derby day

Feeling hopeful, I tried them all on.

Hat Option 1: My Favourite Go-to Hat

I have worn this hat SO many times and the thought of wearing it again made me feel a little too much like a serial repeater. How many wears is too many wears?

repeating rewearing same race hat

Hat Option 2: Repeat of Last Year

This is the hat I won in at last year’s Stradbroke Cup, which (to me) is an automatic dismissal. I think if you’ve won an event once, you shouldn’t show up to the same event the following year wearing elements of that outfit.