How to rock a hat like a total winner this race season

What once was an elegant addition to a suited look at the races, has now become a bastardised take on tradition. Blokes have forgotten the power of a good hat and how to wear one properly. Instead, racing season has become the thunderdome where anything goes, but nothing really says wow either.

The humble men's hat needn't look like it was added as an afterthought – they should be statements in their own right because they have a voice you just aren't listening properly.

And while not everyone can rock a custom brim like Brad Pitt, it's not that hard to channel the star's panache either.

A hat should always complement your overall look and never overshadow your fashion intentions. It should always be well-made, customised if you're serious about your intentions, and never bought off the rack without the guidance of a salesperson who can help find a hat that is destined for your head and face shape.

Two for one

And don't be afraid to double brim should your partner be sporting a similar style or colour.  In fact, there's a tradition for it according to fashion writer Janice Breen Burns of Voxfrock.

"If we look back to the race day looks of the 1940s and '50s, we saw many stylish people standing side by side decked out in hats," says Breen Burns.

"It made them look glamorous and dramatic, so it's not really a matter of competition between you both – just have fun with it."

A winner's edge

Tailor Dom Bagnato, who judges Myer Fashions On The Field each year, says those who take the art of competition entering seriously, always come prepared with a hat at Flemington. If the last few years are anything to go by, he saw nine of the final 12 male fashion finalists with hats.

"We mostly saw trilby and fedoras last year, but the key to making it look good is the final detailed decision that links back to your suit rather than just putting on a hat for the sake of it," says Bagnato.


Before the big day

Blokes needs to consider their build and bone structure and make sure the hat is in proportion to their body shape. The trilby will rear its head again this year – think quality straw, contrast bands that tie back with a pocket hank or shoes and don't be afraid to crank it up with a leather trim, a motif detail and be confident when you wear it.

Do avoid cheap knock-offs and always go for quality Get fitted by a hat maker and have your outfit ready before you just plonk a hat in the mix for the sake of keeping up with the dandies.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd this season, opt for a flat cap for the latest runway look or try a gentleman's top hat for Derby Day – that's if tradition rocks your boat.