In the world of horse racing, there is no event so eagerly anticipated as the thoroughbred race at the legendary Churchill Downs. Of course, we’re speaking of the Kentucky Derby. A fixture among race lovers since its inception in 1875, the Kentucky Derby is known as much for the hats worn by spectators as for the horses running the race. Indeed, Kentucky Derby hats have become legendary in their own right.
Equally well-attired, men and women step out in their very best chapeaus for this inimitable spring event. Seeking both to see and be seen, they often don the largest, most elaborate hats available. Even the more diminutive styles are quite lavishly ornamented. Laden with blossoms in full bloom, even birds, butterflies and yards of ribbon, women’s hats for this race far exceed the more staid yet equivalently well-designed hats worn by men, for whom style and color set the standard.
Therefore, for those wondering where to buy Kentucky Derby hats or simply seeking commensurately fabulous hats for sale, we provide a brief primer of a few hat styles worthy of wear on this grand occasion. While extravagantly priced hats are for sale virtually anywhere, our focus is on show stopping versions that are wonderfully inexpensive.
Refined Standard BearersSlightly larger than an everyday hat, yet subtle and understated, certain hats maintain the tradition of absolute refinement with which these auspicious races have always been associated. The fedora happens to be such a hat. In neutral tones that include black, brown and dove gray, the Empire, for instance, a wool felt fedora by Walrus, features a large brim, grosgrain hat band and colorful side feathers, making it a prime example of a thoroughbred hat worn by men who enjoy a classic look.
Hats with SwagFor the man who commands attention simply by entering a room, only a hat with presence proportionate to his will do. Take a homburg, for example. As large as the time-honored fedora, this hat’s high, creased crown and rolled brim that rises on each side make a bold style statement even in a somber shade such as camel. However, design the same hat in red, as in the Stacy Adams wool felt homburg, and that hat virtually exudes swag — as does the man who chooses to wear it.
Grand Dame HatsA picture hat, with its extra-wide brim, makes a grand entrance and continues to hold all gazes almost hypnotically. Representing this style with élan and grace, Jeanne Simmons’s wide brim hat belongs in the wardrobe of any woman contemplating attending the Kentucky Derby. With its five-inch brim, capacious bow in back and stylized flat-pleat design, this hat beckons winsomely. What’s more, there’s no dearth of favorable responses to it.
Saucy Little HatsSometimes a smaller hat speaks volumes. Working in concert to create a beautiful finish, it’s the fabric, the color, the embellishments that make a petite hat a standout. Nowhere is this more evident than in a fascinator hat. Intended to perch atop a woman’s head at a provocative angle, fascinators derive their beauty and fashion power from the little details. The leopard pillbox headband fascinator by Scala epitomizes this point. Graced with delicate black netting as well as a large black flower, this combination of adornments is particularly stunning on a leopard-print hat. Not for the shy or introverted, a little hat like this captivates onlookers.
Just a few among myriad Kentucky Derby hats, these styles are sure to be memorable in the best way at the Kentucky Derby or any other marvelous event.