why do they wear hats at the kentucky derby

The attendees of Kate and William's nuptials received a lot of attention for their choice of fanciful headwear, but the royal wedding isn't the only event known for its display of wild hats. The flashy, colorful hats that women don at the Kentucky Derby are a part of the annual horse race's tradition -- and the bigger and bolder the hat, the better. "We don't have a lot of documented history on the hats, but speculation has it that when the derby was first brought here, they wanted it to be a social affair," Courtney Stinson, a public relations manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum,. "They went around to all of the women's clubs in town and invited the women to dress up in their finest to come to the Derby," Stinson said. When was first held at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Ky. , 137 years ago, hats were all the rage and regarded as an essential everyday accessory -- for those who could afford them. At special events such as the horse races, women wore fancy and extravagant hats to broadcast their social status and show off their expensive style. Men simply wore top hats. [
Over the years, the Churchill Downs hat has remained for women and continues to be a Kentucky Derby staple. Although women aren't required to wear a hat to the races, most do.


One common theme among Kentucky Derby hats is roses, since the race is known as the "run for the roses" because the winning horse receives a blanket made of more than 500 of the blossoms. Follow Remy Melina on Twitter @RemyMelina 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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