Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks Hats

HOW TO: Work out which colour hat or headpiece to wear with your outfit

Have a dress but not sure which colour hat or headpiece to put with it? Have some gal pals who always seem to look good and make it look effortless?  Always feel like you need to keep things ‘safe’ because you’re scared of pushing the boundaries?

No worries! We’ve got a fool-proof method to help ensure your hat or headpiece will match what else you’re wearing, no matter what.


While there are SO many ways in which to pull colours together, if you’re not an expert with a natural ‘eye’ for that kind of thing and can’t trust your judgement, it can be SUPER daunting going into a store or shopping for something that needs to ‘go’ with something else. Particularly for hats & headpieces!

Here’s our insider secret… the Colour Wheel.

You may have heard of this at primary school and if you’ve ever picked out paint from a shop, you’ll be well familiar with it too.

Let us tell you this – if you remember to bring nothing else on your next shopping trip (aside from your credit card), let it be the Colour Wheel.

So, how does this help you pick out an outfit?

First things first, according to colour theory, harmonious colour combinations use:


How to work out what colour headpiece to wear with your outfit

Complementary colours: Any two colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. For example, blue & orange.

Insider tip: Be careful of red & green unless you’re wanting to make like Bridget Jones & put out a festive vibe.

Complementary colours create quite the statement, so wear them when you want to really stand out.

We would suggest that if you do go for complementary colours, try using one as the primary and then just incorporate accents of the other.

Equally, you might also like to take this a step further and use tints & shades – i.e. a lighter shade of orange with a darker shade of blue.

Analogous colours
 are any three colours next to each other on the wheel. For example, blue, blue-green and green.

With analogous colours, it’s best to avoid hues as they can be jarring.  Instead, focus on tints (primary colour mixed with white) of analogous colours.

Another tip is to avoid combining warm and cool colours in this scheme.

Triadic colours
also use three colours, however they are equally spaced around the colour wheel, forming a triangle.  For example, purple, orange & green.

This colour scheme is also quite bold, but far more more balanced than complementary colours.

We suggest the best way to wear this is to let one colour dominate (i.e. orange dress dress) and accent with the other two in your millinery (i.e. purple & green headpiece).

Ready to step it up a notch?

How to work out what colours to wear together

Split complementary colours use three colours.

The scheme takes one colour and matches it with the two colours adjacent to its complementary colour.  For example, blue, yellow-orange and red-orange.

This scheme is a great way to get started because it’s really difficult to mess up. That’s because you still get contrasting colours which look great together, but they don’t make such a bold statement as complementary colours can.

Tetradic or double complementary colours
 incorporate four colours which are actually two pairs of colours located opposite each other). For example, pairing blue and orange with yellow and violet.

While this option provides you plenty of ways to incorporate colour into your outfit, this is by far is the hardest scheme to get right. If you end of using all four colours in equal amounts, it can actually make your look lose its balance.

Our tip here is to again either choose one dominant colour or subdue all the colours.

Clear as mud?

Don’t worry, we don’t expect it to be easy to begin with but at least you now have a starting point and can take to those racks (or online webpages) like all those stylists & shop assistants who know exactly how to put an outfit together.

We suggest you also:

  • Take a look at what all the big names are wearing at the races (doesn’t always mean they have it right, mind you)
  • See what the shop assistants think or ask us
  • Look at Nature’s colours (the old earth mother nearly always gets it right!)
  • AND don’t be afraid to search on Google either – there are thousands of websites out there that offer amazing colour palette inspo from which you can glean your raceday outfit inspo from. There’s one here & another here to get you started

Now what?

Have a fab week!



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