When Big Hats Hit The Track

Throughout the year there are significant fashion trend monitoring moments. First of course is New York’s Fashion Week, which premieres all the couture trends.  Everyone eagerly anticipates the Academy Awards because it is Haute Evening Gown Premiere Night and NBA All-Star Weekend is also the Sneaker Fashion Premiere Week. The Kentucky Derby is actually the summer track season Fashion Launch Party. It's all about dressing to impress at the Kentucky Derby. Celebrities, media and onlookers are present to view the latest and greatest styles at the racetrack.

Paula Patton

Socialite Marylou Whitney
Miss Teen Kentucky Jefra Bland & Miss 
Kentucky Maria Montgomery 2009

One of the truly unique characteristics of the Kentucky Derby is the sports parties and showcasing the finest in spring fashions. Large or small, contemporary or old-fashioned, big brimmed, feathered, flowery, furry or just plain fascinating, women and men top off their Oaks and Derby duds with a variety of ostentatious head wear.  If you want to know what the Southern Belles, Upper Crust Connecticut Country Clubbers and Long-Island Socialites will be wearing to the Hamptons.
Yes, with integrated marketing and branding, there is a red carpet outside an event that is centered around a horse poop covered dirt track.
Race Day Fashion has become such an integral part of the Kentucky Derby, that they have dedicated an actual museum exhibit to showcase its long history. 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! From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits when it comes to choosing your Derby hat. Whether to make a statement or just keep the sun at bay, Kentucky Derby hats are part of the tradition and the pageantry that make a trip to the Derby an unforgettable experience.

The Kentucky Derby embodies the love of dressing up for males and females; they tend to pull out all of the stops when selecting their apparel. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Derby dressing in part because of what you wear. Experienced Derby divas also pack a pair of fashionable yet comfortable flats or flip flops to wear home. Who says the high price of fashion has to include blisters? So ladies pick out a large, sun blocking hat, a cocktail dress, and heels. Gentlemen leave their pinstripes at home and instead opt for seersucker suits, light-colored sport coats and the occasional madras plaid jacket. Guys, when in doubt, a navy sports coat with pressed khakis or dress slacks, a light-colored shirt and flashy tie long or bow is perfectly acceptable!

To find inspiration for what to wear to a Kentucky Derby, NL Collective luxury brand designers are your problem solvers. Create an outfit to go with over-the-top hat. Keep in mind the Kentucky Derby isn't about your favorite jockey and horse. It's all about the fashion.

Rachel Ray Hat and Selahdor Dress

Black Feathered Tea Party Hat and Purple Ginger Dress

Moe 12 Dress and Lanna Hat