If you are anything like me, last minute changes to your race outfit are inevitable.

One thing you should always have on hand is an extra hat.

The Go-To hat. The saviour.

The kind of hat you can play around with; cut, twist, paint, cover… whatever it takes to make it work with your outfit. A must-have when trying to cope with the mad panic you’re in the night before.

On many occasions I’ve had a beautiful hat made, just to discover (to my horror) it does not quite suit the outfit.

In this situation, don’t despair, you can wear the hat later. You will find an outfit that does work with your new, gorgeous and probably expensive hat.

But what to do in the meantime? The FOTF event is only hours away!

What makes a good Go-To Hat

A suitable hat for last minute panics is one that has a good base and a plain colour- black, white, cream. Or a block colour that you think can tie in well with other colours and outfits.

Start with a percher, or pill box, something without too much detail. You want to be able to add features to the hat, so if it already has a dominant embellishment, it won’t do.

If the only hat you do have is one with a large detail feature, you should be able to remove it. They are usually sewn on, so just take it off and work with the base, replacing the feature at a later date if you need it.

basic hat shapes Kylie Heagney Millinery

Some great basic shapes by Kylie Heagney Millinery whose hats can be purchased at The Hat Box in Brisbane

Below are a few examples of shapes I would recommend that would be suitable to change up and play around with.

felt hat to reuse and revamp

The hat shown above by MajoriBanks Millinery is a great shape and you could remove the felt twirls and add any kind of floral embellishments or feathers.

jack and jill millinery plain base

These hats by Jack and Jill Millinery are also great shapes that go with most styles of outfits.

After you’ve worn it a few times, you could remove the embellishments and add coloured quills, feathers, flowers, leather trims, Perspex, pretty much anything you can find!

peacock millinery boater hat

This boater by Peacock Millinery would be fun to play around with.

You could remove the flowers and add a ribbon trim around the top or add different embellishments where the flowers were. Or even paint it!

reuse embellish hat base

Even something like the shape of this hat base from The Hat Box is workable.

After a few wears, you could remove the silk abaca detailing or even swap it out for another colour to match your outfit and add new details.

A little about my Go-To Hat

You may be able to guess this – my Go-To Hat is one I purchased from The Hat Box in Brisbane.

It’s by Kylie Heagney. A black percher that sits high on my forehead, covered with a low gloss sequin detail and a small arrangement of black feathers at the back.

trusted go to hat base

I have worn this hat – I’m a little embarrassed to say it…