LADIES, don't be afraid to don your brightest and boldest headwear creations this Melbourne Cup Day - even perspex, if you dare.
While headpieces fitted with a perspex trim are proving popular overseas, Bundaberg milliner Linda Ford suggests keeping it big and bright for Australia's biggest horse racing event on November 6.
"This year all the bright neon colours are in - yellows, pinks and blues," Ms Ford said.
"There's also still the trend for the soft pastel colours - people still like your neutrals, blacks, whites and nude colours."
Ms Ford, whose handmade creations have been worn on the heads of many a local race-goer, said headpiece fashions were always changing.
"I look at what the current trends are and think, 'let's do this, or let's do that'," she said.
"My more signature pieces this year are very different to what I made last year."
Ms Ford said the beauty of millinery was that almost anything goes.
"It allows you to be so creative and you can really have fun with it," she said.
A particular creation of Ms Ford's is her 'Balancing Boulders' headpiece, which features little twine balls stacked asymmetrically on top of each other.
"They look like a big stack of boulders," she said.
"It's completely different.
"I tend to like things that are a little bit more exciting."
But Ms Ford said it wasn't a piece that would suit all fashionistas.
"Someone confident and fun would pull that off," she said.
The milliner said the most popular choice of headwear were still fascinators by far.
"People like the fun of a fascinator," Ms Ford said.
"You don't get a lot of asks for a hat these days."
But ultimately, Ms Ford said, choosing headwear came down to the individual.
"No two heads are the same," she said.
"There was a piece I made last year that a lady bought and you would have sworn I made it for her.
"Some people can put a piece on and it's perfect. Some try several pieces before they find something they are comfortable with."
The milliner's top tip for the big day next month was to "start at the top and work your way down".
"I always say to people, especially in Bundaberg, they have less choices of hats but more choices of dress shops," she said.
"It's far easier to match an outfit to the hat rather than the other way around."
Ms Ford also offered advice to those looking for that signature piece to stand out in a crowd.
"If you're looking for a signature piece, you need to be getting it made by a milliner rather than buying an off-the-shelf piece from China," she said.
Matching a headpiece to a bag has been made simple for Bundy glamour girls by the staff at Jules a Concept, on Bourbong St.
Co-owner Michelle Kross said there were bags, clutches and headpieces to suit all looks.
"We just suit people on what style they want to portray - whether it's a simple classic tailored piece to something unusual," Mrs Kross said.
She said the store had varying pieces of all shapes, sizes and colours, to ensure its wearer made an impression on the Fashions of the Field.
"We have some unusual pieces which are out there and different," she said.
"It's not your average run-of-the-mill pieces you'd find anywhere else."
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