If you’re not already in Kentucky sipping a mint julep, perhaps you’re planning to attend a Kentucky Derby viewing party to watch the big race? It’s actually ALSO Cinco de Mayo, and our in-box is filled with invites to the mother of all party hybrids (Cinco de Derby!), but we’re remaining purists and sticking to straight-on Derby.
So, not being fully versed in all things Derby, ACCESSORIES chatted up Carson Finkle, CEO of retail e-commerce site Tenth Street Hats (the company’s parent company Dorfman Pacific is the official licensee for the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs with its Scala line for women and its Biltmore line for men) to get the update on the customs and fashion rites of the Kentucky Derby and get some Street Style photos.
“This is actually turning out to be a huge hat spring, with Derby in early May and the Royal Wedding later in the month. Women are really getting into dressing up and there are definitely dressy viewing parties planned for those who can’t attend the actual events,” says Finkle, noting his company had to stock up on extra fancy hats for upcoming events.
There are actually color themes for different days at Derby, and women are more than eager to dress accordingly in the three-day lead up to the final event. “On Thursdays, the Derby is called the Thurby, and a lot people wear purple, including purple hats. (Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, so purple and lavender are getting a spike as well.)
Friday, the day before the race, is the Kentucky Oaks Race. That’s where the official flower of that race is the pink Stargazer Lily. The 3-year-old fillies run and they get the big garland. It’s known as the Lilies for the fillies. People wear pink to that, and the pink also represents efforts to support breast and ovarian cancer too. “The pink gets the most involvement as there’s a charity and awareness element as well,” notes Finkle.
Saturday is the red day, and that day represents the Running of the Roses.
But are there actual trends in Derby hats? Or are the styles fairly consistent from year to year?
“When the Royal Wedding took place in 2011, the Derby did see an uptick in fascinators, and we’re seeing this happen as well this year, with the wedding coming up May 19th in a very close overlap with Derby,” says Finkle. “We actually sold out of our Hatinators, which is the fusion of a fascinator and a hat.”
Street Style, Derby Style
So grab a Southern-style cocktail and stroll with us through some Derby Street Style: