Buy your Louise Oliver Ascot hat first, and then chose your dress. When you get the chance to wear an Ascot hat, make the most of it and have fun looking stunning. Choose your Ascot hat and matching bag, and then colour co-ordinate your dress. You can wear a dress any day. At a special occasion people will comment on your hat, rather than your dress. Louise Oliver millinery is all about colour co-ordinating, rather than colour matching your complete outfit in tones of the same colour, and Louise Oliver is about wearing your hat over and over with different outfits.
“It is important to keep a sense of your own personality, and to let go of the idea that everything must match. Colour co-ordinated accessories are for the Queen and other older royals. Clash-chic is more fun.” The Daily Telegraph, 2nd May 2007
“The rules have changed, and it is considered quite old-fashioned for everything to match. Besides, hats, shoes and bags are so decorative now, it would be a shame to restrict yourself to one colour.” The Daily Telegraph, 27th July 2005
Hats are the most feminine of accessories; they express your personality; be bold and wear hats more often. Be feminine; let people look at you in a different light. Summer is a celebration of life; enjoy it; wear hats, pretty dresses and jewellery; go for it.
It's part fashion physics, part chemistry, but when the right hat and dress combine, the effect is pure magic.
Lemon Twist......WHY THE HAT WORKS: This swoop of black brings zing to a stark yellow mini. Plus, the curved lines of dress and hat add up to geometric perfection. STYLE NOTE: Unsung, saturated hues are spring and summer's glamorous alternative to tepid pastels.
Sheer Genius......WHY THE HAT WORKS: It's a millinery matter of fact: The more skin (you show), the more brim (you need). This formula feels especially fresh when sheer fabric makes a mega-hat feel flirty -- not formal. STYLE NOTE: The best advice the experts have for those with a fear of headwear? Get over it. (Please.) Hats are not for the fashionably timid -- and special occasions such as Ascot is no time to play it safe. So go for the big brim if it feels fantastic. You'll turn a few heads, but that's the point.
Sleek Chic......WHY THE HAT WORKS: Not every dress -- or every woman -- calls for flowers and feathers. Here, the clean curves of a metallic hat complement figure-skimming jersey. And unlike more complicated pieces, both of these are easy to wear. STYLE NOTE: Conventional wisdom usually dictates "big hat, small hair." But we've entered a season of two opposing hair philosophies: Keep it sleek and small or make it full and curly. So it's OK to experiment with either extreme. Just pay attention to the big picture. Here, voluptuous waves add the right hint of romance to an unadorned hat and simply cut dress.
Gold Rush......WHY THE HAT WORKS: A flash of metallic gives soft, floaty chiffon a modern edge -- while adding visual verve to grass green. Gold can do the same for any hard-to-match color … so consider it before reflexively reaching for the expected black or neutral.
Smouldering Pink......WHY THE HAT WORKS: Graphic black and white balance the girlie sweetness of pretty pink and bows.
Bright Idea......WHY THE HAT WORKS: Special occasions such as Ascot is not the day for timid color combos. A carnelian dress would be cute enough with a straw-colored counterpart. But underneath a gutsy orange-red brim, it shines. STYLE NOTE: When color (and hats) are a focal point, layered accessories become superfluous.
Flower Powered......WHY THE HAT WORKS: Lush red blooms look sexy -- not cliché -- with a swingy babydoll dress and a simple black background.
Well Matched......WHY THE HAT WORKS: When a print (even a simple one) is involved, introducing a new hue -- or hues -- on a hat equals instant overkill. Here, brown on white has more visual impact when paired with its monochromatic mate. STYLE NOTE: Another reason to wear a hat: It does the job of perfectly applied eye makeup -- drawing more attention to your eyes than the most elaborate color trio ever could. For that reason, MAC makeup artist Jessica Hill kept shadow to a minimum with every look here -- opting for soft neutral shades, a sweep of liner and, of course, mascara. Then she went for the movie-star mouth by applying rich, complementary creams with a same-color pencil for staying power.
Christine Fellingham, The Courier Journal, 4 April 2007 and photos thanks to the Courier Journal