Hats off to bush hats
As quirky and diverse as the events hosted at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the attendees and exhibitors alike sport a range of diverse outfits. Initially, it appears to be a jumble of attire, but a closer look reveals patterns among the passers-by.
One of the first accessories to stand out is the traditional bush hat. Farmers, riders and cattle drovers, among others, sport the sun-blocking icon of rural Australia. From the rabbit fur Akubra to old ‘Western’ hats, wide-brimmed headgear is always immensely popular.
Choosing which hat to wear is no easy feat. Contrary to popular belief, there is an actual hat-tiquette. The fold-up brim, classic ‘cowboy’ hat is mainly a working hat, where the flat-brimmed variety is for trips to town.
In the bush, the boot and buckle get-up is a necessity for horse riding and farm work, while the hat’s main responsibilities include skin protecting and shade providing. For city girls who just like to be part of the Show – branded ‘buckle bunnies’ by country folk – the look has become a fashion statement.
For those with a slightly fancier dress sense, the Show’s ‘country meets city’ slogan is taken to a new level. If Giorgio Armani had been John Wayne’s stylist, the result would be something like what can be witnessed among the Members and Councillors at the Show.
As the Show draws to a close, the bush hats go back to their natural habitat for the rest of the year – to farms, the outback or a suburban closet.