I recently made a couple of hats for a lady going to the races here in November.  This is her comment:

This year I have 2 Melbourne Cup events to attend. One here in Brisbane on the Tuesday and then we fly to Melbourne for Stakes Day. I was feeling very organised and excited about the fact I have had 2 amazing fascinators made by Caren Lee of Maleny (watch this space) and then I read an article by the master Gai Waterhouse stressing the fact that one must choose their outfit before their hat or fascinator, oh dear !!
But I am about to prove her wrong and I know I can do it. My head pieces are the feature of my overall look and I will build the rest around it. Next week I start shopping and cant wait!!!

Do you agree with Gai Waterhouse, or do you agree with my stylist client?  Which suits you, making the hat first, or choosing the outfit first???

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Oh yeah! Hat first, It's all about the hats.

I agree Debbi. If client comes to us first it gives us more design freedom as milliners .....but most rock up with outfit and we need to match design & colours to suit.

I always say 'hat first'.   The way I look at it - they have many more options to buy outifts than what they do to buy a good quality headpiece.    But as Elaine says - many rock up with the dress and that is ok too. 

I agree  with Hat first. Once you find the perfect hat in a color and style you like the rest is much easier, Their are so many more options for clothing. You can find the perfect clothes and look great but find the perfect hat and you complete the outfit in a way that is outstanding!

My client ended up winning Fashions on the Field in Brisbane, she wore a gorgeous deep teal dress with a peplum and a belt, which matched my hat exactly. When I sent her my hat I added swatches of fabric to make shopping easier for her. She also wore a large statement teal necklace and teal shoes and looked fantastic. I have included pics!

I am not a milliner, but nevertheless...have an opinion.  I am an American mannequin head maker (www.crunkleton.com) and although I agree that it is all about the hat.... My bottom line is that it is ALL ABOUT THE FACE.  I feel one should choose a hat they love and most of all...one that flatters their face....THEN  it is time for the outfit to flatter the look , hence completing the picture.  I say:   start  with the top of the picture with a hat and face then work your way down to the shoes.

Still trying to decide lol!

I believe that the "Hat is the inspiration for the outfit".  You really have so much to work with if you choose a hat that you love first, it takes care of dress style and colour as well as where to shop for it in a lot of cases. 

On a different note, my mother in law gave me her  "everyday hat" that she wore on a daily basis back in the 30's, and you wouldn't believe that it was a fur-velvet deep teal coloured cloche! now, she wore that everyday!  she would have had to really consider that hat when it came to buying or making her daily wardrobe.  Hat's inspire your outfit choices!

Usually for a client the outfit always comes first as that dictates the colour and potential style of the fascinator!  But as a milliner. I can be inspired by a creation first before going on to design the perfect outfit instead of shopping for it!

I just bought a dress online this week. I had some braid that I ordered from House of Adorn and, to my delight, I noticed that it matches my dress perfectly! So this time it was dress first, then hat!!!

having put together a "creation" in the colours you have chosen to make it work, you then get an order for the same piece having to match the outfit, which  never seems to work as well as the original design. customer may be thrilled but I always feel a little disappointed: so hat first outfit second for me. 

I think it depends on what article is to be your feature.  If you want your hat to be the centerpiece.  Who wouldn't? Design the hat first, and then choose or design a dress that will act as the perfect foil for the dress.  For those who put more emphasis on the dress or those difficult to fit, who are not having a custom design created for them; the dress will come first, with a hat being designed around the dress.

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