Those Fashionable Kentucky Derby Hats

With the 142nd Kentucky Derby in the books, Nyquist is crowned the winner.  But what about those fashionable hats?  Those are my favorite part of the Derby!

On the Kentucky Derby website, it states:

“Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade is much of what makes ‘The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports’ one of the greatest people-watching events in the world!

The long-established fashion was started with Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.’s vision for the Derby as an event that the high-class would attend, similar to European-style racing events, which mandated full morning dress for men and women. For the first running of the Kentucky Derby, he used high-class women to recruit his target clientele to attend the race. The event quickly became just as much about the fashion as the racing. Going to a horse racing event became an opportunity to show off the latest in spring fashion and women were known to coordinate their hats, dresses, bags, shoes, and even parasols.

The extravagant hats that have become associated with the Kentucky Derby did not really come around until the 1960s, when social fashion norms loosened up and the presence of television gave women a reason to stand out. The hats became larger, brighter, and more extravagant.

Hats at the Kentucky Derby have become even more popular after the royal wedding in 2011, an event that showcased many elaborate hats and fascinators.”

I did a little research into some of the most fashionable and even some of the most outrageous hats in recent Derby history.  I have included some of my favorites below.















  1. I love these hats! I was just talking to my husband about them. I want to make one and have a party next year!

    • I have a few hats from Kentucky Derby parties from years past and I love each of them! However, they are not nearly as elaborate as these hats. Not even close. If you really want to have a party next year, Ebay has great hats!

  2. Those hats are a good way! I don’t think I could keep one on my head all day but I think they would be so fun to have during the Kentucky Derby!

    • It would be fun 🙂 but most likely difficult to walk around all day with a hat like one of these on your head! You’re so right!

  3. These are totally outrageous picks! Loving them! I went for the 140th race and found quite a few loony looking hats mixed in with mostly really fashionable demure picks. I’m loving the avant-garde hat wearers!
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    • I love your comments! They’re always so relevant and on point. I’m so glad that you got to enjoy the Derby live – how exciting! I’m sure the hat display was the real show 🙂

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