Lemon Twist......WHY THE LADIES 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's glamorous alternative to tepid pastels.
Sheer Genius......WHY THE LADIES 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.) Ladies hats are not for the fashionably timid -- and special occasions such as Weddings and 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 LADIES HAT WORKS: Not every dress -- or every woman -- calls for flowers and feathers. Here, the clean curves of a metallic ladies 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 LADIES 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 LADIES HAT WORKS: Graphic black and white balance the girlie sweetness of pretty pink and bows.
Bright Idea......WHY THE LADIES HAT WORKS: Special occasions such as Weddings and 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 ladies hats) are a focal point, layered accessories become superfluous.
Flower Powered......WHY THE LADIES HAT WORKS: Lush red blooms look sexy -- not cliché -- with a swingy babydoll dress and a simple black background.
Well Matched......WHY THE LADIES 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 ladies 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