Whilst some claim it’s the jockeys and the horses and yet others believe it is the betting and the winnings, quite frankly, I’m here to tell you it’s all about the hats. I defy you to attend any glamour racing event – such as our imminent Melbourne Cup – and not be halted in your tracks by the spectacle of headwear on parade.
Fortunately, many ladies in our town are keen race-goers at this time of year and that leads to a high turnover of hats. Thus, there is rarely any difficulty picking up a post-race beauty in our local recycle shop for a sliver of its original price tag (see above). After a few jets from the steam iron and a bit of feather-fluffing, your pre-paraded beauty is ready for its next outing.
Hats are treated so respectfully on race days, that it’s very likely you will be able to find a second-hand one in pristine condition. Scour your local recycle boutiques (popping up far more frequently these days) and you may be delighted by what is on offer. Flowers, feathers and the like can easily be updated if they are a little tired, and to create your ensemble, begin with your hat and match an outfit to it – far simpler than the reverse.
Of course, the greater percentage of us will not actually be trackside ‘at the race that stops a nation’, but rather gathered with convivial company at a backyard barbeque or around a picnic table sharing cheese, bread and wine. Nevertheless don you hat proudly and feel special. It is a special day and you are part of it.