When I was a flight attendant, I use to travel to Kentucky, Louisville; it was a very nice, very clean city and the food was always good.  have always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby, with all its glamour opulence and of course fashions… and the “hats.”

Since its beginning in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has been one of the main hat fashion events of the season. Designed to get you to notice them, these over-the-top styles are the perfect accentuating pieces for your Derby day attire. Whether you’re a spectator in the crowd at Churchill Downs, celebrating with friends at home or keeping the tradition alive in church, over the top hats are always in style. My mother use to get a new hat for several occasions throughout the year, Easter, Mother’s Day, her birthday, etc.

As part of the United State Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the Kentucky Derby is one of the more popular hat fashion days in the year. For decades it was considered a necessity for men and women to have a hat on at all times during special occasions and outdoor events… to find a lady without a hat on during the first few years of the Kentucky Derby’s existence would have been considered a scandal, not just a mere fashion fuax pas.

As the race became more and more popular, the attendants began to have more fun with their fashion hat attire, donning hats with flamboyant embellishments including ribbons, feathers, and floral arrangements. In most cases, the hat is the main part of a woman’s attire, and is usually paired with a simple matching cocktail dress. Men’s hats during this occasion have often gone overlooked, not so much as a fashion headliner as the women’s hat. Most men usually choose a more traditional route in choosing head gear for the races and sport the classic fedora.

The Kentucky Derby is an event where you want to get noticed, so when picking out a hat, try to be as original as possible. The more bazaar, flamboyant and colorful the better, there is no wrong hat during this festive occasion! You can always find a wide variety of simple, easy-to-wear hats for those who are not quite ready to take the plunge into Kentucky Derby hat fashion anywhere in the United States at your nearest mall, online or at your local hat shop.

Derby hats aren’t just made to be fashion statements, the wider the brim on the hat the more protection you’ll get from the sun during the various events. Many of the hats selected for the Kentucky Derby often double as sun safe styles. Tightly woven hats or wide brims made from solid cotton or linen shield your face, neck and shoulders from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.

Since we live in San Diego, the closest we’ll get to the Kentucky Derby is the Del Mar Race Track, so I’m sure if you go out and actually purchase that over the top head gear, you’ll still have a place to flaunt that hat!


There’s one last thing I’m sure they’ll be doing during the Kentucky Derby is eating and I’m sure they’ll be eating lots of mouth watering barbeque! So in keeping with that tradition, every week throughout the month of May, I will be awarding one lucky reader a $20 gift certificate to Coops West Texas BBQ, located at 2625 Lemon Grove Avenue, located in Lemon Grove. I had the pleasure recently of having a pulled barbeque sandwich and some collard greens, and let me tell you. I REALLY enjoyed it!!!!!

To qualify for the weekly drawing in May, please send me a picture of you in your best hat to veteranfashionista@gmail.com and I will pick one lucky winner to receive a $20 gift certificate from Coops West Texas BBQ.

Until the next time my Veteran Fashionistas, as always, stay fashionable!!

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About the Author

Jackie Tacke

Jacquelyn Tacke is a proud Navy veteran. She has represented designers from “Project Runway,” “Project Runway All Stars,” “All On The Line,” etc. Some of those designers’ lines were sold in Dillard’s, Lane Bryant, the Smithsonian museum, as well as a variety of boutiques across the U.S. She has produced celebrity fashion shows all across the country and abroad. She was also a guest speaker for FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in San Diego and is a member of Fashion Group International.


Follow me on Twitter @VetFashionista for your chance to win great prizes!


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