When Did The Kentucky Derby Big Hat Trend Start? It's Been Around For Ages

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: TV personality and fashion designer Lauren Conrad signs the Moet & Chandon 6L for the Churchill Downs Foundation during the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

There's no doubt that the Kentucky Derby is well known for one very distinctive fashion statement — hats. Really big hats. While I've always known that its been a tradition of the race, there's one question I couldn't answer until today: when exactly did the Kentucky Derby big hat trend begin

Well, Kentucky Derby curator Ronnie Dreistadt, said the following in an interview with US News, "It really goes back to England, and the Kentucky Derby was patterned after a race in England, the Epsom." Promoters for the event were looking to make the Derby a "see-and-be-seen" affair so that more women would attend, according to the publication, and the hats were a way to project that image.

"When the Kentucky Derby began in 1875, both American and British women alike wanted to wear their finest to the races, and in those days that definitely included a hat," according to PopSugar.

NBC New York reports that the trend of wearing gigantic hats didn't really take off until the '60s, when television coverage became more prominent, giving "women an added incentive to stand out in the crowd."

If you're headed to the derby but haven't chosen a perfect hat, you're in luck! Here's a few totally cute and affordable options available online right now:

1. Sea Foam Floral Hat 

Sinamay Hat With Flower, nordstrom.com, $68.00

The color is beautiful and the floral accent makes this hat a perfect choice.

2. The LBD Derby Hat 

Kentucky Derby Wedding Hat, etsy.com, $69.90

If an LBD is your go-to, this one's for you!

3. Purple Headpiece

If a hat is too dramatic for you, this purple headpiece might be more your speed. You'll still look glam without having to adjust your floppy brim. 

Happy shopping!

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