This talk of having specific clothing and hats may seem a little daunting.  You probably don’t happen to have a red/pink hat just lying around, and you might want to get fancy but don’t have the budget to go out and buy everything straight away.

That’s ok – Go slowly and add to your collection of goodies as the budget permits.  Here’s some tips to some more cost effective ways to looking fabulous.

  • Check out op shops and second hand shops for cheap gear.  You may find hats, shoes and clothing in the appropriate RHS colours for a lot cheaper than you can buy it new.
  • Ask other Hatters if they have anything lying around they aren’t using – perhaps organise a swap at your next gathering, so people can get rid of things they no longer need, and others can grab some new things they do need.
  • If you find a hat in the wrong colour, you can try dying it (fabric hats) or using a florists spray to make it pink or red.  Regular spray paint can rub off, so that isn’t recommended, if you do try spray paint, don’t do the inside where it can rub off on your skin.
  • Dye clothing – Lavender clothing in particular seems to be difficult to find, so look for white clothing that you can dye lavender.  Just remember to use the right type of dye for the type of material you are wanting to dye – and remember that you may get unpredictable results with blends of polyester/cotton fabrics.  But it can be fun, and gives you a greater variety of clothing to wear.
  • Check ebay for cheap hats, fascinators as well as clothing and accessories.  There’s heaps of great stuff there!
  • Make a hat!  – see the Millinery tutorials page for some hat & fascinator tutorials.  Or if you don’t want to make it from scratch, take a plain hat and add some decorations.  A feather boa can instantly give a plain hat some pizzazz.  Tie a lightweight scarf around the base of the hat and clip on some hair flowers for a removable decoration you can transfer to other hats as needed.
  • Your hat doesn’t have to be solely red or pink – You can use a white or straw hat and add flowers and ribbons in the appropriate colours.


Remember that at a minimum you can wear “Red on the Head, Purple on the Shoulder”.  So that would be a purple/lavender scarf or shawl  around your shoulders with a red/pink hat while you are waiting to find for your full regalia.  You don’t need to be completely dressed in purple/lavender from head to toe either, a top/cardigan over another coloured jeans/skirt would suffice.  Although “dressing up to the nines” is fun!