At the iconic Kentucky Derby, it’s unclear whether the hats or the horses command more attention.
The Kentucky Derby, which has taken place every year since 1875, is scheduled this year for Saturday, May 3, 2014. For many, it’s a bucket list travel experience.
Often called “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the race is held at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and is filled with traditions:
- Mint Juleps
- The Rose Blanket
- The Band Playing “My Old Kentucky Home,” and
- HATS: All colors, sizes and shapes
Take a peek at some of the standout hats we saw when we were fortunate to visit the Derby as part of a river cruise stopping in Louisville on the American Queen Steamboat during the boat’s inaugural year:
1) Hats Of All Shapes and Sizes
When it comes to hats for the Derby, there are no set rules—except to wear one or to feel left out. They often have wide brims, feathers, and flowers.
2) Hats That Say Yes to the Dress
Many Derby goers select hats to complement their dresses; sometimes the dress complements the hat.
3) Hats That Make a Statement
Many of the hats, made of silk, satin or organza, are handmade and designed to elicit attention. It takes a certain amount of confidence to wear a hat like this.
4) Hats Are Not for Women Only
Sometimes that party atmosphere, with plenty of beer, champagne, and bourbon flowing resembles a New Years Eve Mardi Gras.
5) Hats: Win, Place & Show
Derby goers will go to great lengths to out-do each other with outrageous hats. This one is fashioned of pink flamingoes.
6) Hats For Him and Her
Many couples like this one go to great lengths to coordinate their look. This couple finished off the pairing with dark glasses. Her flower matches his bowtie.
7) Last Minute Hats
These ladies are standing near the pop-up hat shop that surfaced at the historic Seelbach Hilton. The hats on display were designed by Kokin, a hat designer whose boutique is on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Some of his handmade designs can cost up to four figures each.
Interested in learning more about Kokin hats, watch this video from the Wall Street Journal:
Tips on Wearing and Choosing a Kentucky Derby Hat
Also on More Time to Travel:
Back on the River: The American Queen Steamboat