The Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday at Churchill Downs, complete with the usual horses, mint juleps and, of course, some spectacular hats. But why are hats such a big deal at the Derby?
According to the Kentucky Derby, it all started when founder Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. saw how horse-racing was practically a fashion event in Europe. In Europe, racing style events required full morning dress for men and women. Clark Jr. envisioned the Derby as something similar, and used high-class women to attract those he wanted at the race.
It didn't take long for the Kentucky Derby to become a fashion event as well. Women took the opportunity to display the latest spring fashion, coordinating everything in their outfits from the parasol to the shoes.
But hats didn't become a big deal until the 1960s, when fashion standards became a little looser and television encouraged the women there to stand out as much as possible.
Since then, the hats have just gotten bigger and more colorful, increasing in popularity after the 2011 Royal Wedding.
In the end, it might not be the winning horse that is most memorable after Kentucky Derby weekend.
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Lookin’ good, ladies!
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