Dishing Up Derby: MAD Hatters

patty | Wednesday May 3, 2017

Hold ON to Your HATS!

Today's Kentucky Derby tradition is all about the chic chapeau.

Donning a hat for The Kentucky Derby is a little bit of Southern tradition, a little bit spectacle, and a healthy dash of FUN tossed in for good measure.

The Kentucky Derby isn't JUST about the horses competing for the roses, it's also about FASHION and FASCINATORS. The tradition began when Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. had a vision. What he wanted was to make The Kentucky Derby an event, similar to the high style and high-class of European racing events, which included getting ALL dolled up for the day. This meant full-on morning dress for both men and women. Soon, The Kentucky Derby became just as much about the haute-couture as it was about the HORSES. "Doing the Derby" was an opportunity to show off your style, and that INCLUDED your latest LID, carefully selected to coordinate with the rest of your ensemble.

Compared to TODAY'S standards, the hats were simple and subdued. The colorful and often, downright crazy chapeau that we see today, didn't really come into fashion until the decade of the 1960's, when the traditional norms of fashion, as well as many OTHER things, were tossed to the wind.

The hats that we see now are big, bright, bold and beautiful. Adorned with feathers, flowers, and everything in-between, today's styles are about standing out in the crowd. The Royal Wedding in 2011 also ushered in the age of the now ubiquitous "fascinator", more an adornment than a full-on hat.

And..it's NOT just for the fillies! Men of all ages also embrace the time-honored tradition of sporting a hat for the day.

So...THIS Kentucky Derby Day...whether you're attending in person, or attending one of the numerous local events centered around the event, you can most DEFINITELY, in the immortal words of Joe Cocker...LEAVE YOUR HAT ON!!!!

Here's a little sampling of some of the clever and crazy for inspiration..


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