THE Melbourne Cup is of the biggest events in the Australian fashion calendar, and one Birkdale milliner says it is a time for men and women to let their unique styles shine.
Kate McKell of J.A.R. Millinery is in the middle of her busiest season, with fascinators, hats and headbands set to be in the spotlight at racecourses across the nation.
With spring racing season right around the corner, Ms McKell said people were tapping into their creative side to put together show-stealing outfits.
"It's coming into spring carnival, people feel they have the freedom to do what they want," she said.
"So you go in the shops and one minute it's all pastels, then it comes out the following week that all the bright, bright colours are in.
"It's very much your individual style, what people like, what they don't like."
Classic pinks and blues were staple colours for racegoers and bows were also a popular choice.
"People go very formal for racewear, I think it's going back to that more traditional style," she said.
"Some people won't wear a big hat, they'll go for the smaller headband. Spring racing a time when people can go crazy, do what they like, and I encourage people to do that.
"Men seem to be forgotten in spring racing so I'm also keen to see more men in hats."
Ms McKell also encouraged accessories for men like bow ties and lapel pins.
"I like things that are a little bit different - my saying is go big or go home," she said.
Design inspiration could come from anywhere, including fabric or bead samples.
"I've always been a hat lover (so) I usually go with the hat first (but sometimes) people will come to me with an outfit and ask me what ideas I have for it," Ms McKell said.
She said many people did not realise the number of hours that would go into crafting an intricate hat, including hand-beading and attaching feathers.
More than 100,000 people are tipped to attend Flemington Racecource to watch the race that stops a nation.
Meanwhile, others will get frocked up to head to Brisbane's Eagle Farm Racecourse, where US reality star Brody Jenner and home-grown chart-topper Conrad Sewell will make appearances.
Around the Redlands, various venues and organisations will also host Melbourne Cup events.
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