Kentucky Derby Fashion
Year after year, there is a flurry of excitement leading up to the Kentucky Derby, with an endless series of parties and celebrations leading up to the event. It is the one American race that inspires the spectacle and pageantry of a bygone era.

In 1875, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. fashioned the Derby after glamorous European horse races. These races required full morning dress for all who attended. The high society women of the day came to the Derby to debut new spring fashions – especially hats. These women were invited to the race as part of Clark’s strategy to brand the Derby as an upscale event. In the 1960’s television gave women a reason to go all out with their hats, which deepened the “see and be seen” culture.
 
Unlike the Royal Ascot races, which restrict the size and type of hat for adult women (fascinators are not allowed!), there are no hat restrictions for the Derby. Hats bring good luck to the race, so let your imagination run wild when choosing or creating your hat. Men also put on their Sunday best for race day, wearing bright, sunny colors, and donning a bow tie and fedora, bowler, or a natty straw Homburg or boater.