The History Of The Hat Parade At The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is without doubt the most fashionable of the 3 thoroughbred horse races in America. Often referred to as the “Run for the Roses” and the “Fastest two minutes in Sports” the Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year and attracts over 150,000 horse racing enthusiasts, also do not forget to bet on Kentucky derby!!

Kentucky hats

Each attendee is there to bet on Kentucky derby winning horses and witness some history in the making. From members of the royal family to A list Hollywood celebrities and general admission people, the attention to fashion and style is a top priority. It’s tradition here for both sexes to wear their best outfits and their wildest hats all in the name of fashion.

Why wear a hat on Derby Day?

All throughout history, both men and women wore big, fancy elaborate hats or different sizes and shapes. It was considered manners to wear a hat outside the house. To be seen without a hat back in those days was considered a hindrance to your social standing and could relegate you to that of a street beggar.

Hats have played a very important visual role in horse racing events for decades. Even as far back as the famous Royal Ascot festival in the UK, all guests were made adhere to a strict dress code. By not complying with these codes, one was not allowed to attend the event. Men would wear a big top hat accompanied by full morning dress clothes, while the women were not permitted to show any bare midriffs or shoulders, and they must wear hats.

Over the following years, it didn’t take long for these hat traditions at racing events to migrate over the ocean to the United States. The Churchill Downs hat parade at the Kentucky Derby is a less severe spectacle than the Royal Ascot affair, but nonetheless it has been a tradition there since around 1875.

Do you have to wear a hat at the Derby?

There are certain traditions at the Derby where the general accepted attire should be followed if you want to blend in. Usually having the brightest and wackiest colour suit would make you stand out, but at the Derby that’s not the case. Regardless of where you are sitting, be it in the clubhouse, infield or the paddock you will be more at ease if you keep to the local tradition and wear something that will keep you in touch with everyone else.

At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying oneself and experiencing some racing history. Have a few cocktails while you place a few bets and you’ll have an experience that will last you for a lifetime.