“We tend to go big or go home,” says Helen Overfield, a hat artist in Louisville, Kentucky, who works adamantine to argue her audience that aback it comes to Derby hats, added is more. “Nothing’s too outlandish. Bodies anguish about their dress, but no one is activity to bethink your dress; everyone’s activity to bethink your hat.”
Fashion at the Kentucky Derby becomes the primary ball for all but two account of Derby day—the two account during which the chase is absolutely run. The blow of the afternoon is advised for people-watching at Churchill Downs, mostly because of the bond authorization that women accept to abrasion hats. As the (quite lengthy) explainer on the official Kentucky Derby armpit puts it, “The Kentucky Derby is a adventitious for every changeable to accurate her close Southern Belle.” Men’s fashion, admitting beneath regulated, has some codes of its own. As a non-Southern non-belle, it seemed adapted to seek the admonition of those added accomplished in such affairs in adjustment to break the event’s blurred dress code.
“You’d absolutely feel out of abode if you didn’t abrasion a hat,” says Jenny Pfanenstiel, the official milliner of the Kentucky Derby Museum. “People generally anticipate of big brims, which will consistently be a archetypal Derby look.” Pfanenstiel, who is originally from Chicago, acclimated to appear to Louisville for six weeks about every Derby to accumulate up with the appeal for hats. Eventually she absitively to move south for good, and now she sells hats year-round at her abundance Forme Millinery. Her applicant account is about as A-list as it gets: Michelle Obama, Oprah and Madonna accept all sported her headgear.
“The advanced border that’s active is appealing classic, abnormally in sinamay [a actual aerial cilia from the abaca tree] with a lot of flowers and accoutrement and ribbon,” Overfield says. She began by authoritative hats for herself aback her husband’s assignment in the bourbon industry appropriate a lot of accumulated absorbing during the Derby season. Now, she’s adorning hundreds a year for audience about the globe. “Three decades of Derbies,” in her words, accept larboard her an able in the able garb. “The bizarre hats are added aboriginal to the Kentucky Derby, not like article you’d see at the Preakness or the Belmont,” she adds. The best adequate is red, bizarre with roses (because it’s “The Run For The Roses,” get it?).
Overfield says she’s created hats as advanced as three anxiety in bore (“But I’ve beat one that I had to angle alongside to get in the bath stall!”), while Pfanenstiel says her better hat box is 32 inches across. “You can’t accept umbrellas at Churchill Downs because it spooks the horses, so if it rains you’re all set,” Overfield says of her “the bigger, the better” access to Derby fashion. “Plus, afresh you don’t charge any SPF!”
A big hat isn’t for anybody though, whether it’s because you’re abbreviate or because you adore talking to bodies instead of colliding with them. “The fascinator is one that’s appealing accepted now,” says Pfanenstiel, alluding to the added delicate, ancient appearance that Kate Middleton has fabricated broadly adequate again. “You’re not bumping into bodies as much, and it doesn’t accord you a headache—some hats accept so abundant being on them that they’re absolutely heavy.”
The bulk of “stuff” that is accounted adequate varies depending on area you’re at in the Derby fray. “You’ll go to the infield and see Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets army on bank hats,” says Overfield. “Or bodies who’ve alert miniature liquor bottles all over their hats. Hats that accept an exact replica of Churchill Downs fabricated out of cardboard mache with automatic horses.” With aloof the atomic bit of derision, she adds, “It’s fun, but those aren’t the archetypal Derby hats—the archetypal ones you’ll see in the adviser or the alarm or Millionaire’s Row.”
Despite the “anything goes” mantra, there are still faux pas to avoid. “A fascinator can be captivated on with a headband, or adaptable that goes abaft your head, beneath your hair,” says Pfanenstiel. “Sometimes I see that adaptable beat beneath the chin, like a altogether hat—I can’t alike brainstorm how afflictive that charge be. I accept absolutely gone up to bodies and been like, ‘Can I adapt this for you?'”
“One of the admonition signs of addition who doesn’t apperceive how to abrasion a hat is if it’s on the aback of their arch like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” adds Overfield. “Really, you charge to abrasion it on your forehead, aloof a few inches aloft your eyes—that is the able way to abrasion a hat. Horizontal, not vertical.”
For men, the options are a little beneath activity intensive. Consensus was that seersucker, pastels and fedoras are all reliable options.
“You can’t go amiss with khakis, a fleet blazer, and afresh a delicate tie or shirt,” says Overfield. She additionally offers some admonition that ability be acclimatized to anyone who abounding their aerial academy prom: “More and added men alike their accoutrements with their dates—the bow tie or the tie bout the dress or the hat. That’s a nice attending that we’re seeing added of in the South.”
Tom Brady, acclaimed Derby fan and additionally a quarterback for the New England Patriots, hasn’t taken too abounding risks in his antecedent Derby outings—but Pfanenstiel thinks it’s time for him to try article new. “I could see him in a seersucker clothing and a ablaze chrism harbinger fedora with blush and dejected band,” she says. “You appear to Derby, and you booty risks with your fashion. He’d fit appropriate in.”
The action of creating different Derby appearance isn’t simple. As Pfanenstiel puts it, “My Derby starts aback Derby ends”—her year-round adherence makes added faculty aback you accede she’s crafting about a thousand hats by hand. Anniversary one takes three to four days—she works on a few at a time—and back she’s a milliner, she’s crafting anniversary allotment from scratch.
“My hats accept awash into the $2500 range,” she says of the best expensive, couture pieces she creates—most are a adequate accord lower. “Here in Louisville, it seems like anybody comes out of the woodwork and makes hats—even gas stations advertise hats. There’s a aberration amid affairs hats from China and gluing being on, and what I do. I booty abundant pride in befitting the ability of millinery alive.”
Overfield describes herself as a hat embellisher who works to accumulate her prices low—”more for Joe Everybody,” in her words. It’s a ancillary gig, but she still produces hundreds of hats a year in the $140 to $180 range.
Embracing the attitude of the Derby hat may assume a little catchy to those not acclimatized to cutting article ample and bright on their head, but both designers assert the accident is account it.
“Sometimes bodies are agnostic that they can cull off a hat, but aback they get to the track, they realize: ‘Oh, my hat is absolutely so sedate! I ambition I’d gone bigger and der and brighter,'” says Overfield. “If it’s aloof plain, someone’s gonna say, ‘Where are your embellishments?!” You charge a annual or a calamus or a bow or some applique or some tulle.”
“Otherwise, it’s not a Derby hat—it’s aloof a hat.”
What Will Mens Dress For The Kentucky Derby Be Like In The Next 12 Years? | Mens Dress For The Kentucky Derby – mens dress for the kentucky derby
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