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why do they wear hats at the kentucky derby

When thousands of people stream into Churchill Downs on Saturday for the, all eyes won't be on the race track. Instead, many will be looking for the signature hats worn by the female attendees in a variety of styles, including headbands, fascinators, parasols, top hats, fedoras, ascots, and wide-brimmed hats. But why hats? It's a tradition that dates back to when the Kentucky Derby first started in 1875, stylist and creative director of YRB magazine Darius Baptist told ABC News. "When women got dressed up, especially when they were going to church and formal events, the woman's crowning glory was the hat," he explained. "In the South, women pride themselves on being Southern belles so wearing a hat to the Derby plays off of that. "It's also a combination of Southern culture and British culture," Baptist added. A general view of atmosphere during the 141st Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2015 in Louisville, Ky. According to the Kentucky Derby's, the hat-wearing tradition was started by founder Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. , who modeled the race after high-class European racing events. At races across the pond, many women are seen sporting hats as well. Although there are no rules when it comes to picking out a hat for the Kentucky Derby, Baptist suggested going big. "It's your statement piece," he said.

And don't be surprised to see both men and women wearing hats on Saturday. The Derby's website said the tradition has now morphed into a good luck charm for those attending the races.
Three women in suits and hats cheered during the 1977 Kentucky Derby. Spectators made their way into the races in 1995. A fan drank a mint julep under her pink and black hat in 2006. This bright hat made an appearance at the 2006 Derby. In 2010, a woman chatted on her phone while wearing her crinkly hat. Check out this headband creation at the 2007 Derby. Spectators posed for a photo in the paddock area in 2011. This bright hat definitely catches your eye in 2010. A fan looked perfectly '80s at the 1988 race. Women looked at racing tip sheets on May 6, 1995. Women showed off Derby hats in 2006. Queen Elizabeth sported this green and red number when she made an appearance at the Derby in 2007. In 2011, this woman took the Kentucky Derby as a chance to show her love of cheese. A spectator was seen in the grandstand wearing her light-pink hat in 2007. Ivana Trump visited Churchill Downs with her eccentric fascinator in 2007. A woman matched her hat to her outfit and date in 1995. A woman sported a black hat with lots going on in 2010.

Fans watched with their hats firmly on their heads in 1993. Fans looked down at spectators as they gathered in the paddock area at the 2011 race. In 2011, this hat would surely block some views. Check out this one sported at the 2011 Derby. In 2011, this hat asked people to "talk Derby to me. " The pink flowers topped off this outfit sported in 2010. A fan at the 2011 race looked on wearing her brown and red hat. This hat paired stripes and flowers in 2010. A woman was seen in the grandstands wearing a hat prior to the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2010. This hat came with feathers and tassels in 2007. A spectator looked on as races were run the day before the running of the 133rd Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2007. Singer Jordin Sparks wore a simple white hat at the 2011 race. A bumblebee peeked out from this flower hat worn in 1993. Do you recognize underneath the pink brim at the Derby in 2004? This pink flower gave a pop of color to the black hat in 2011. Two female spectators dressed in pink suits talked as they watched the track during the Kentucky Derby in 1993. A woman wore a bright red hat with a big white flower to the 2011 race. This hat, worn by a spectator in 2011, had some fun details. A woman was seen in the grandstands wearing a beige and black number in 2010.

At the 2012 race, a woman wore a pretty cream and red polka-dot hat. Flowers decorated this hat at the 2012 Derby. You could barely see this spectator under her pile of pink flowers in 2012. Blue feathers sprung from this hat at the 2012 Kentucky Derby. This black and white hat brought some chicness to the 2012 Derby. matched her hat to the dress in 2012. A woman wore a fancy hat during the morning training for the 2013 race. A woman went dramatic with her black and red hat in 2012. Feathers, flowers, and gems Poh, my! This woman went big in 2012. Three women showed off their large hats in 2012. A floppy hat with all the bells and whistles adorned this woman in 2013. This lady's 2013 hat looks pretty wild. Miranda Lambert went with a pretty and subtle style in 2013. That's a lot of red! A lady showed her dramatic side in 2013. I take it back. Now, that 's a lot of red! Even in the rain this woman was all smiles in her huge red-flower hat in 2013. A woman wore a teeny, tiny hat for morning training in 2014. It was a go big or go home hat for this woman in 2014. A young woman went with a sweet, pink confection at morning training in 2014. A woman went with a feathery topper in 2014. A woman rocked a rosy hat in 2014.

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