July Festival: Get a head start with your head gear for Newmarket's glitzy summer festival

So what’s trending in terms of headwear?

SS19 has seen a lot of veiling on hats, geometric patterns, smaller headwear, headbands, silk flowers, bows, floaty trims of ostrich feathers on hats and headpieces, to name a few trends.

Larger style headbands or halos have really come into their own this spring/summer in the UK, and I expect to see a lot trackside because they are very easy to wear. I personally love to make the most of an opportunity to wear a hat or headpiece, so save my headbands for glamorous dinners or special occasions, but if you’re not keen on bigger style hats, a headband is great to travel with and can look quite elegant with an outfit.

Francesca Emma T:07957 165317 (13389551)
Francesca Emma T:07957 165317 (13389551)
Francesca Emma T:07957 165317 (13389554)
Francesca Emma T:07957 165317 (13389554)

Headbands come in silk, straw, with trims of flowers and even veiling as well; some are quite plain, while others are heavily embellished with jewels, pearls and beads. I have a few in my Ana Bella Millinery collection in silk, as well as some shiny mirrored designs, if you are keen to be eye-catching.

A good example of a halo/headband was the white design worn by HRH Kate Middleton at the christening of Prince Louis. This definitely fuelled the headband trend!

What are the season’s hottest colours?

Francesca Emma T:07957 165317 (13389570)
Francesca Emma T:07957 165317 (13389570)

Key colours of the season are fuchsia pink, candy pinks, blues, yellows, corals, nude and an interesting dark wine red, or as fashion brand Ted Baker calls it, ‘oxblood’. I had to colour-match an oxblood hat for a guest attending last year’s royal wedding and it took a very long time to hand dye the feathers to match her dress! The colour has since taken off and can be seen featured heavily in floral prints on dresses and hats this year.

We’re excited about the new Best Hat category! As the judge, what will you be looking for?

I am so immersed in the world of millinery, both in the UK and internationally, that it’s second nature to spot a hat that has been beautifully crafted and is an original design, which is really important to me when choosing a hat award-winner.

The Best Hat recipient represents the craftsmanship of the millinery industry, combined with the style and appropriate racewear of the lady who has worked hard to achieve her personal style vision through her outfit and hat. When a winner gets her outfit right, the result is usually beautiful, elegant, effortless style, matched with a striking piece of headwear that is unique in design.

I would suggest ladies work with a milliner to create something unique, or alter something they already have. Don’t hesitate to contact milliners whose style you admire: I get a lot of enquiries through email and Instagram to make hats to suit an outfit, or to change a colour of one of my designs to match an outfit. I love these challenges and my favourite pastime is seeing my clients’ outfits come together. There are some very talented milliners in the UK who are keen to work with you on an outfit challenge, within your budget.

I also have examples of complete winning outfits from around the world on my Instagram account (@ana_bella_millinery), if you want to see some inspiration.

You’ve been crowned Best Dressed a number of times. Can you share any top tips for putting together a podium-worthy look?

If you have never been to a race day and want to enter the fashion awards at Newmarket, there are a few key rules that your outfit should follow.

Shane Finn (13389644)
Shane Finn (13389644)

Your dress must not be too short - I wouldn’t go any shorter than above the knee. Racewear is not a disco or nightclub outfit; racewear is modest, elegant attire for a day out, so leave the mini skirt, plunging neckline and body contour dress for a night out with the girls.

The July Festival is a summer event, so lighter millinery materials like silk and straw lend themselves, as opposed to heavier felt, velvet and leather, which are more suitable for winter racing events.

I also have some personal tips for long days at the races:

Shane Finn (13389602)
Shane Finn (13389602)

Don’t pin your tall or wide brimmed hat into your hairstyle at home. You might want to put your hat on at the track. This will save you sitting sideways in the car almost poking your friend’s eye out (that never happened to me by the way).

I love those little things you put on your heels - they’re called heel stoppers. They stop me sinking into the car park grass as well as saving my shoes from becoming dirty, especially important if I’m in satin heels.

Take some flats with you. I like slim ballet flats I can roll into my handbag for after the event or to change into if you’re staying into the evening. Maybe you might want to wear block-heeled shoes or wedges; for a long day out, they often save me from getting blisters.

There’s a lot to think about. . . Where should I start?

The secret to a great race-day outfit is planning a few months ahead. Either start with the outfit or start with the hat, and make sure you give yourself time to find the perfect hat or work with a milliner to make the perfect hat dyed to your outfit. Whatever you find, make sure it’s something you feel fabulous in, as confidence always shines brightest.

Once you have chosen your first outfit piece, pick a colour out of the outfit or hat. My favourite colour combinations are black and white, red and pink. Some of my favourite one-block colour outfit themes in the past have been red and yellow.

Shane Finn (13389588)
Shane Finn (13389588)

If your first-choice outfit piece only has one block colour, you could pick a contrasting colour or go all one colour from head to toe. For example, if your dress is cobalt blue, a contrasting colour could be yellow - you could accessorise the dress with yellow shoes, handbag, necklace and hat. If you want to make it really easy, thought, just pick one single block colour, and stick with it. That means nude dress, hat, handbag and shoes.

My advice when matching colours is to take your first-choice item, whether it’s clothing or an accessory, with you to the shops, as there are so many variations of a colour, you want to make it look matching and not slightly the wrong colour.

The look pictured here was styled by me for a race day with a dusty pink all-one-colour theme. I started with the Ana Bella Millinery hat called Rosie Swirls, which was initially a piece of leather. I fell in love with the colour, then found the dress, then shoes and handbag. Everything is a dusty pink. I even dyed a wool shawl to match this outfit for colder weather.

For more information about Ana Bella Millinery see anabellamillinery.co.uk

Tickets for the July Festival are on sale now and set to sell fast. Get yours at newmarketracecourses.co.uk

Hats and styling by Ana Pribylova of Ana Bella Millinery / Pictures by Shane Finn

More by this author