Sue-Ann Corby, Stella Atkinson, Ann-Maree Lobb, Debra Morris and Liz Graham at Melbourne Cup on teh Square at Post Office Square. Click for more photos

Melbourne Cup day in Brisbane

Sue-Ann Corby, Stella Atkinson, Ann-Maree Lobb, Debra Morris and Liz Graham at Melbourne Cup on teh Square at Post Office Square. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

  • Sue-Ann Corby, Stella Atkinson, Ann-Maree Lobb, Debra Morris and Liz Graham at Melbourne Cup on teh Square at Post Office Square.
  • Melbourne Cup on the Green - held for the first time in Post Office Square.
  • Queen Street Mall ... Uum Keith, Dewi Palmer, Marina Jorgensen, Heni Sumich, Xena Gaspharim and Lina Hillman.
  • Kate O?Donahue, Rachel O?Donahue, Rebecca Corr and Jacinta Jamieson at Melbourne Cup on the Green at Post Office Square.
  • Wendy Pond, Jaye Ellam, Helen Grierson and Vicki Dodd at Melbourne Cup on the Green at Post Office Square.
  • Rebecca Fielding and Caroline Bartlett at Tattersall's.
  • Dale Olsson, owner of The Hatbox in Brisbane City, judged Christine Dauber (right) as the winner of the Fashions on the Field competition at the Tattersall?s Melbourne Cup Day lunch.
  • Karen Gallagher, Elisha Sutherland and Ari Panagiotou at Melbourne Cup on the Square at Post Office Square.
  • Julie Grant and Michaela Leyden at Melbourne Cup on the Green at Post Office Square.
  • Patricia Balmer at Tattersall's.

Try telling Dale Olsson that hat-wearing is a dying trend, and you'll get a sharp rebuke.

“If you spoke to the millinery teachers at TAFE, they would tell you they have more and more people learning to make hats,” says the owner of The Hatbox, in the Brisbane Arcade.

“It's really making a comeback. Ever since the royal wedding, women are wearing hats more and more frequently.”

The former high school teacher bought The Hatbox eight years ago after being a faithful client for many years. She now has 15 milliners working for her, providing both off-the-shelf and custom designed high fashion headpieces.

Her own choice for today's Tattersall's Melbourne Cup lunch was an aqua creation, reminiscent of a wave cresting towards a tropical beach.

“I wouldn't dream of going to the races, or a wedding or even just to lunches without a hat,” Ms Olsson said.

“The British milliner Stephen Jones once told me that a hat is the cherry on the cake, and it really is.

“If you want your outfit to look absolutely fabulous, you wear a hat with it.”

Over at Post Office Square, fascinators were the order of the day, either in black, or a bold colour worn to contrast a dress.

The Melbourne Cup in the Park event, hosted by Rush restaurant, was the first in the city central space, and is set to become an annual event.

Today's function raised funds for the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Foundation, with guests sipping on champagne and nibbling oysters, while enjoying live coverage from Flemington in the spring sunshine.

Get ahead of the hat game - tips from Dale Olsson:

  • If you're new to hat-wearing, start small. You'll grow more daring as the years progress.
  • Taller women should wear larger hats; petite women smaller ones.
  • Women with long hair should pull it back off their neck. Let the hat make the statement, not your hair.
  • Consult a professional. They're not that much more expensive than mass-produced imported hats, and you'll wind up with a far better result.
  • Melbourne Cup Day is the one day of the year you can truly dress like a lady – take advantage of it!