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The Story behind Kentucky Derby Hats

When people stream down to the Kentucky Derby sessions, their eyes are not only concentrated on the race tracks. Apart from the race tracks, many pair of eyes will be glued to the signature hats that are worn by the female who go there to attend those racing sessions.

The females attending this particular derby are all for the signature hats which has a lot of styles and that ranges between fascinators, headbands, parasols, fedoras, top hats, wide brimmed hats and ascots. But why hat has become so important?

Well, it is said to be a tradition which mainly dates back in the year 1875 when the Kentucky Derby first started. This started because women used to dress up when they went to any formal events or churches. And at that point of time, women wearing a hat were their crowning glory. Wearing a hat was equivalent to wearing a hat and it was not just a style statement to them. So, going to derby and wearing a hat became usual. It was more like an amalgamation of southern and British culture.

Kentucky derby hats became a tradition because the hat wearing thing was first started by its founder Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. He was the one who modelled the derby race after some high class European racing events.  In fact, at races across ponds many women are also seen wearing hats. Though there have been no rules and regulations regarding what kind of a hat one should wear when they are attending a derby race, but it needs to be remembered that it is a statement piece for them. In fact, one can get to see many men also wearing hats to Kentucky derby sessions. According to many; wearing a heat is also considered to be a good luck charm for those who are attending races.

The Kentucky Derby had its inaugural session almost 144 years ago and since then there were 2 landmark moments which made the hat parade shine which actually what it is today. The very first one was the arrival of the television crews and it prompted the attendee ladies to raise their hat game like never before. They wanted to flaunt their hats and head gears because the entire world was watching them through TV. Around the year 1960, the fashion norms were also changing and women (who were upper class derby guests) became more inclined to brighter and larger hats.

In fact, hats at derby sessions took another leap in the year 2011 at the Royal wedding of William and Kate and the Americans got exposed to more brilliant fascinator and head bands. Embracing the Kentucky derby hat tradition thus became a fashion statement for women.

Derby is the place which has been turned into a fashion show case long back. Here, appearance matters the most and from hat to shoes; everything is considered to be a part of the fashion statement. So, making a style statement by wearing a signature hat makes sense.