What to wear on Ladies’ Day

Well it’s hat time of year again!! Not that you will guess with the very unseasonable weather.

After a few months of rest recovering from illness I am all poised ready for the hat season. An early Easter saw a rush of orders for Mother of the Brides. Surprisingly, though they all had very different outfits, they have all gone for similar style hats – am I detecting a trend? Is this the last of the fascinator?

Small vintage-style pieces are very much in vogue this year. Is this due to pieces sported by royals and celebrities or more down to practicalities and our weather?

So what do I suggest for your upcoming trip to the races? Here is my advice for the upcoming flurry of Ladies’ Days. Choose a piece you feel comfortable with. If you chose a wild hat go for a smarter tailored outfit. If your outfit is on the wilder side my advice to impress on Ladies’ Day is to wear a neat, more classic, headpiece. The golden rule is the hat and outfit should complement each other not argue with each other.

Personally I prefer a larger hat. Being shy I can hide underneath the hat all day and avoid having my photograph taken. However after a very windy rainy day at Beverley last year I found large hats can be very wearing on the wearer!! Sinamay is also very impracticable in the rain.
Parisisal is very elegant and a good alternative to sinamay as it is slightly more resistant to inclement weather. It has a lovely texture and is the most traditional of millinery materials.

Smaller pieces do suit most faces, are more elegant than a fascinator, and are quite honestly very comfortable to wear. If the piece is manufactured in felt it can be worn if the weather is a touch chilly. Equally if it is a roaring hot day because the piece covers little of the head you will still remain cool. This will help you keep your dignified elegant poise all day.

While we are on the subject of elegant and dignified poise here is my last tip to remember when heading to Ladies’ Day. Please remember Ladies’ Day is all about being a lady. I was shocked at the behaviour I saw at a number of local courses. I enjoy a glass or two myself but to be rolling around in the mud absolutely plastered (yes really!!) is not becoming of a lady, spoils the day for others and quite frankly ruins a fabulous hat.


Pictured: Suzanne at Catterick Ladies’ Day last year.



“I qualified with a distinction in HNC Millinery at the Leeds College of Art in July 2010.  I specialise in designing and hand making one-off bespoke hats and headpieces both in classic and contemporary styles, although Winter Fashion  forward pieces is where my passion really lies.

“Before graduating I was offered a commission to design and make a collection of 1940s hats for an exhibition at one of the country’s leading tourist attractions. I have also collaborated both locally and nationally with LK Bennett, one of the country’s most prestigious fashion brands.

“I have a real passion for my art, and I hope this is conveyed in each individual piece I design and produce. I believe designs that hold true to our British heritage have a strong place in today’s market where customers are seeking providence from the goods they buy.

“I live in Ampleforth on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, an area which is truly inspirational. I live at home with my two daughters. My husband is in the oil industry and travels away from home frequently. We have a soft Labrador called Harry, we enjoy a daily walk on the moors. When I do have time I love riding and make the most of the open moors for a good gallop!!

“I travel to Paris on a regular basis and again this is a huge inspiration to me. The city is so beautiful and I have always had a love of the French fashion houses of Chanel and Dior. I have a love of vintage clothes and I feel this feeds my inspiration.”


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