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And They’re Off! - The Kentucky Derby, Still Going Strong

March 27th, 2009 Posted in Hats in the News

Purchase this Derby Hat
I’ve never been a fan of horse racing, but I am a fan of sports in general. So if the Big Browns of the racing world are going for the Triple Crown, I’ll keep an eye out. That being said, I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with the Kentucky Derby. The pageantry and grand scale of the event is probably unlike any other annual event in the United States.

During tough economic times like this, I couldn’t help but wonder what that would mean for the Derby (especially since the company that owns Pimlico (Preakness) just recently filed for bankruptcy).  Bill Simmons, one of my favorite ESPN columnists, wrote an article in February about the toned-down feel of this year’s NBA All Star weekend. He attributed much of the lack of celebrity and extravagant spending to the state of our economy.

Curious about how this recession could effect the Kentucky Derby, I looked for some insight from famed hat designer Christine A. Moore. Christine has been designing and making Derby-style hats for over 15 years, and has been commissioned as the official milliner for this year’s Derby. To my surprise, Christine told me that designer hats were still in demand, corporate boxes are on a waiting list at Churchill Downs, and individual ticket sales were strong. Louisville’s major fashion magazine, Her Scene, even added 17 more pages to accommodate for all the advertisers!
Purchase this Derby Hat

After thinking about what she said, it makes a lot of sense. What’s a better way to step outside yourself for one day than to get dressed up and enjoy the pageantry of the Derby? People who celebrate the Derby year after year have been saving up money for their outfit and hat. If you can’t afford to go to the Derby (most people can’t!), Derby parties are always a fun thing to put together.

So men, grab a straw boater, fedora, or top hat. Women, don the beautiful big brims and classic cloches. Get some appetizers, fix a couple of mint juleps (4 mint sprigs, 2 1/2oz bourbon whiskey, 1 tsp powder sugar, and 2 tsp water), and enjoy the races!

- James

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4 Responses to “And They’re Off! - The Kentucky Derby, Still Going Strong”

  1. Hillary Says:

    too bad that to wear these lovely creations one cannot have a head much larger than small. Yes, it is true - most of the hats for women are “one size fits some heads” rather than having actual sizes.
    So, what does a woman like me who has a lot of hair as well as a normal sized cranium do? Wears men’s hats or shops where women’s hats are offered in sizes.
    This is too bad because I do love the hats here and have purchased (and wear) the large sized men’s hats.

  2. james Says:


    it is true. you’re one of a good number of women who aren’t happy with woman’s “one size fits most” sizing, and I can’t say that I blame you. we’re currently looking to produce some woman’s hats that have a little more sizing options, but until then, there are a few things you can do…
    - most “made to order” designer hats can be made in a desired size. because they aren’t made until an order comes in, you can request a specific size.
    - more casual/contemporary woman’s brands are beginning to make hats in sizes. brands like goorin and kangol have sized woman’s hats.
    - hats with drawstrings or ties offer a lot more flexibility, especially straw ones that have a little more give. these aren’t guaranteed to fit, but they are more likely to than the other kinds.
    i’m glad you look good in the men’s hat! a lot of women are taking that route nowadays too, because it has become less of a fashion fopa.

  3. Hillary Says:

    Hats not only make a statement, they protect the hair (and I have a lot of lovely hair) as well as the facial skin from the sun. If my hair is not damaged by the sun then it looks better when I go out. So, when I bike, kayak, walk, garden, hang out at the beach or shop (not trying on clothing) I wear a hat. So the more of a selection of hats I on hand have the happier I am.
    Can you tell that I really love a good brim?

    I love seeing the head wraps of women who are of different cultures. So… can you provide head wraps as well?

  4. james Says:

    wraps are always something we’ve looked into, but can be difficult to be done the right way. our idea is to provide both fashion and function. wraps can definitely fulfill both needs, but we’re looking to have one that would be different than one you can find a any hat-care product store or department store. if there is enough of a market for one though, we will certainly get involved!

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