Does the Kentucky Derby have a dress code?

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

I wouldn’t think that the Kentucky Derby has a dress code. I never noticed one if they did. And I go back to the days when people used to shimmie up the flagpole naked in the infield. Granted that was a very long time ago. Notwithstanding that, there are so many outrageous outfits there is definitely not a dress code or a taste code for that matter!

So this headline from BustleDoes The Kentucky Derby Have A Dress Code?” caught my attention. When I clicked the link my eyes sparkled when I saw the line underneath it which read, “Here’s the History of All Those Hats“. I am a huge hat lover.

Bustle writer Hayli Good reports:

For years, the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky (which, besides the Derby, is best known as J.Law’s and Diane Sawyer’s hometown), has been associated with pastel dress clothes and interesting hats, ranging from classic styles to downright silly. And this style is seen on both men and women, though their hats and dress clothes tend to differ. But those aren’t the only costume attendees have to wear.

I spoke with Sara Brown Meehan, the director of lifestyle communications for Churchill Downs, who explained the technical dress code at the Derby and how the style changes per men and women. She says the pseudo-dress code actually goes back to when Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark founded the racetrack in 1874. According to Meehan, Clark’s inspiration for the Kentucky Derby came from the Epsom Derby in England. There, not only did he experience the obvious horse race, but he saw how the men and women dressed for the occasion. He wanted an event like that in the United States, too.

Meehan explains that Clark marketed the Derby as a place for everyone — celebrities and non — to come display the latest fashions, which, as in England, included hats. Back then, according to Meehan, it was actually indecent if women showed up to the Kentucky Derby not wearing a hat. And you don’t dare expose your indecency to the people of Kentucky.

Ultimately, Meehan says the Derby does not have a dress code, unless you are a premium member, which includes select seating, and a cost of an extra many thousands of dollars.

There’s lot more. Keep reading »

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Faux Fur-ry Friends

Aren’t they gorgeous? Hmmm. About that chain.

Royal Ascot: Day Four Hats

My favourite hats for day four at Royal Ascot are worn by Her Majesty the Queen and Princess Eugenie.

Queen Elizabeth II

The titfers worn by the Queen at Royal Ascot thus far have seemed predictable and not very exciting. Although the colours have been luxe perhaps it was the “heaviness” of the brocade fabric which also matched the coat that I didn’t find very appealing.

No matter. I like Her Majesty’s hat today very well indeed. The colour is fabulous on her, I like the size and shape of the crown, “cartwheel” brim, and the silk flowers with straw twists decorating it. I even like the coat. Yes, indeed. Her Majesty looks most festive.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan

Princess Eugenie

Princess Eugenie looks terrific again today. She has certainly worn some lovely hats this Royal Ascot. Today she is wearing another navy hat this time with the same angled upturned brim but with yellow flowers sewn around the base at the front of the crown. And that dress. Gorgeous!

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Designer: Bundle McLaren.

Milliner Sophie Beale on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot

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Milliner Sophie Beale in a beautiful black and white wide brimmed hat. Love her entire ensemble.

Also in the picture are Harvey Santos and Stephen Jones.

Royal Ascot: Day Three Hats

These fantastic hats from day three of Royal Ascot caught my attention.

Princess Eugenie

It’s Ladies’ Day. There are bound to be some exquisite hats today of all days, but Princess Eugenie hit it out of the park with this wonderful hat.

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Royal Hats describes it this way:

“From London label Bundle McLaren, the hat Eugenie wore to Ladies’ Day today is an ’18’ navy sinamay saucer topped with coral and navy handmade silk flowers with silver centres and navy coq feathers”.

Well done Ms. McLaren!

Countess of Wessex

Another fabulous hat from Sophie Countess of Wessex by Jane Taylor. This one is a white cocktail hat trimmed with feathers on both sides of the slightly upturned brim. Jane Taylor is having a rocking Royal Ascot.

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Zara Philips Tindall

My favourite British hat wearing royal, Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, wearing a pink straw percher with angular teardrop base, trimmed with straw ruffles, a pink silk rose and a curling feather quill and her husband Mike looking superb in top hat.

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Blooming Fun Hat

And how about this for a blooming great hat on Ladies Day, in this instance not adorning a royal head.

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The lady looks like she had her eyebrows administered by a Sharpie. I keep seeing her around too. Who is that girl?

Such fun.

Royal Ascot: Day Two Hats

My favorite hat on Day Two of Royal Ascot, and perhaps of the entire race meeting, is this wonderful hat worn by the Countess of Wessex. I will let the hat speak for itself.

Countess of Wessex

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The Royal Hats blog describe this hat made by Jane Taylor as:

“. . . a wonderful oversized boater hat. In plum hued straw, the piece features a short, flat crown wrapped in what looks like a cream silk abaca hatband and a very wide brim, trimmed with large purple and pink silk cabbage roses and a cream silk twist.

There were other very lovely hats but nothing like this one. Brava!

Honourable Mention

I have not been inspired by any of HM The Queen’s hats at Royal Ascot this year but quite like the yellow one seen here. Camilla has worn two very beautiful although predictable hats. Both royal ladies look terrific in these colours.

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Updated June 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm.