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Deighton Cup: How to choose the right hat for a lucky day at the races

The Deighton Cup, Vancouver’s most fashionable thoroughbred derby, returns on Saturday, July 26 at the Hastings Racecourse. Hats are considered to bring luck to the races and, at The Deighton Cup, the perfect chapeau can also bring a generous cash prize to a couple of unsuspecting guests. The Style Stakes award will be given to the most stylish woman, while the Gallant Sartorial award will be given to the most dapper gentleman.

With so many options to choose from, how does one select the best hat to woo Lady Luck? We asked milliners Domique Hanke (Hive Mind Millinery) and Jessika Fortin (Goorin Bros.) to weigh-in with their expert advise.

Which one should come first: the hat or the outfit?

Jessika Fortin: We've had a lot of ladies and gents come through the shop searching for the perfect hat for Deighton this year. I always advise choosing an outfit first! This will dictate your colour pallet and the kinds of details your hat should complement. A hat should always be the punctuation mark at the end of your style sentence. 

What is the first thing to look for in a hat?

Dominique Hanke: Honestly, people are so unacquainted with millinery these days that I think the main key is to try on as many hats as possible. Obviously, like with any accessory, the intended purpose will hugely affect which hat to go for, but for an event like The Deighton Cup and the highly anticipated Style Stakes, it is definitely a time to go big or go home! I encourage my clients to really have fun when we are creating their designs and we try to push the design to create something truly unique and eye-catching.


How do you select a hat based on your face shape? What should you be trying to achieve?  

DH: There are some basic rules: if you have a small face don't go for a hat that is too big because it will overpower you, and vice versa; don't opt for a small piece if you have a larger face. With a hat, you are trying to create balance and harmony with your face, always making sure it is adding and not taking away from the wearer.

JF: Finding the right hat for you is all about personality and proportion. Be mindful of your features, if you have a smaller face shape, avoid huge brims and snuggle into a cloche or try a flirty pillbox for a special event. Opposite angles attract. A square face is softened with round curvy lines, and round faces need an asymmetric kick for balance. How about a longer face? Rock those wide brims. I have women and men in the shop every day casually venting that they never look good in hats. If you're open to it and ready to play dress up, there is a hat for everyone. It may just not be the one you expect, and you could be pleasantly surprised when you find it and feel a whole new kind of style confidence. 

How do you know which colour to choose?

DH: As with any item of clothing we all have our complementary colours, but with a hat you can definitely play with some bolder tones. Conversely, a beautifully made hat can make a big statement in muted tones and a black hat always brings a touch of elegance to any look.

What are the biggest trends this season for hats?

JF: Some big hat trends for this summer are ladies taking back the wide brim fedora! The fedora was originally designed for Sarah Bernhardt. She played a character named Princess Fédora in an 1882 play. Straw porkpies are also trending, and a great alternative casual look.

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