It’s that time of year again. Just as you’re plucking up the courage to bare your faux-bronzed legs to the world, someone has invited you to the races. Those who’ve been to the races before will know that it can be a full on fashion parade, and finding something glam to wear can cost a fair amount. But fear not! There are some ways you can cut costs, starting with the most crucial part of any race-day outfit – the hat. Here are some ways to get yourself a fabulous hat for a fraction of the price.
image by Jennifer Su
Create your own fascinator
If you love to get creative, you can also make your own fascinator (or head piece) from scratch. To start with, you’ll either need a ready-made base disc (ask your local craft shop or buy one online) or a piece of material called sinamay, which is very durable. The base disc can make a little round base for you to sew decorations onto, or you can use the sinamay to fold and iron into a decorative bow. Both of these, once embellished with your desired decorations or feathers, can be fixed onto a plain silver or fabric head band and there you have it – the finished fascinator!
Hit the second hand shops
There’s no better thrill for a fashionista than creating a genuine vintage look for next to nothing. If you are good at it, you will really turn some heads at the horse races. Head to your local high street and scour your local charity shops for vintage style hats. You’ll probably find there are plenty of retro options that look like they’re from the 70s, 80s or 90s. You can work this retro theme into the rest of your outfit for a really stylish effect.
Find a flea market
Flea markets and antique markets are going to be pricier than the second hand shops, but should provide plenty of inspiration. You never know, you might just find the perfect piece for your big day out. Don’t be afraid to haggle either. If there are no vintage hat collectors there to compete with, you could easily walk away with a bargain.
image by Social Butterfly Jewellery
Get crafty with cast-offs
If none of the methods above have worked out for you, it’s time to have a scout around your friend’s, aunt’s or even your granny’s wardrobes and see if any of them have an old or retro looking hat. No, you’re not going to throw on the old hat and hope for the best, you’re going to customise it! With a few clever tricks you can repurpose a hat and transform it from granny-chic to glamorous in just a couple of hours. Here are some techniques to try:
- To make smaller hats more eye catching, attach some feathers at a jaunty angle
- For brimmed hats, ribbons can be used to create a flamboyant bow with trailing ends
- Use some pretty fake flowers and sew them on to add a focal point
- If your hat is super stylish but faded looking, why not dye it a different colour?
- Sequins, beads, broaches, and jewels can all add a touch of sparkle in an elegant way
image by jaguarmena
Rent a hat
If all else fails and you’re determined to be the best dressed lady at the races, then do a quick online search to see if there are any formal dress hire shops in your area. These rental shops usually have some amazing designer formal wear that you can pay to rent for a few days, allowing you to wear fabulous clothes that you would never be able to afford normally. You should be able to find a stylish hat amongst the red carpet dresses and wedding outfits – and maybe even a handbag to match.
Good luck, and when you get to the races may the odds be in your favour!