Tis the season for the 142nd Kentucky Derby. If you're a Derby newbie like me looking for the latest in haute hat-wear couture, look no further. I'm going to tell you where to buy a 2016 Kentucky Derby hat. For some of you, the only places you've seen anything remotely similar to a Derby hat is in a Sherlock Holmes movie, or in a period drama on PBS about very rich aristocrats. The Kentucky Derby world may seem frou frou and outdated — after all, according to the Kentucky Derby website, it has been "the longest running sporting event in the United States" — but traditions are traditions for a reason.
I promise that once you're in a fabulous hat of your own in an awesome dress drinking a mint julep your entire world view might just change. The first step is how to pick a hat. There are so many outlets and ways to choose, but there are a few things to consider prior to choosing your hat. For example, does it work well with your face shape and your body? Do you want to match it to your outfit or not? Do you want to work with a trend? Will you be comfortable in that hat for the duration of the Derby/Derby parties?
Here are a few places that will help you in your quest for your perfect Kentucky Derby hat this year. Good luck!
1. Dee's Hats
Dee's Hats in Louisville is one of the most popular spots to get a custom made Derby hat. YouTube sensations Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig visited Dee's for their show Hey USA and got the royal treatment. If you like flowers, these are the hats for you. However, if you're going to order, or real quick: the deadline is this Friyay!
2. Kokin Hats
Kokin Hats in NYC is the hat shop you'd imagined when you were watching that wedding shoot scene from The Parent Trap. Their style hat is both classic and playful, and Kokin has worked with pretty much everyone from Derby-goers to celebrities. If you want your hat done right and don't care about the price tag, go to Kokin! You can get a TJ Maxx dress for $25 and call it even!
3. Samuels Hats
Samuels Hats is the kind of hat shop where more is more. They have both amazing Derby hats and fascinators, and you can get it in almost every color, material, style, height, et cetera.
4. Berkeley Hat
If you like wide-brimmed hats and/or are from Berkeley, California like me, Berkeley Hat is the way to go. Being that Berkeleyans are not exactly super duper inclined to party in Kentucky, I was a little bit shocked when I found this site. But, I guess everyone can enjoy a good mint julep every once in a while.
Maggie Mae Designs offers four salons of some pretty amazingly formed Kentucky Derby headwear. This particular chapeau in question was inspired by Cape Cod artist Tom Steinmann's painting "Octobered Dunes." Based in Massachusetts, designer Sally Faith Steinmann does it for the history and for her late cat, Maggie, according to CNN.
Hats In The Belfry have been around for over 35 years and have outlets in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Fells Point, and Annapolis. Since then, they have been a Derby favorite, and include styles both new and old.
Lady Diane Hats is based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and are the ultimate showstopper hats. These hats are custom mades, well-constructed, and not for the faint of heart.
9. DIY It
If you either have some time, have no time, have no money, or just want to create a hat that will be perfect for yourself, consider DIY-ing your own Kentucky Derby hat! You can grab some awesome bases at JCPenney, Nordstrom, or Etsy, and then head to Michael's or your nearest craft store for the baubles and ribbons and stuff! You and your wallet can thank me later!
Images: YouTube (1), Courier-Journal (1)