When it comes to racing as a sport, my preference is for the sort on four wheels in a car that looks like a modified go-cart. I don’t pretend to be a fan of horse racing, but I appreciate and enjoy the Kentucky Derby every year. It’s a big event with a rich tradition where otherwise typical people decide to get dressed up in fancy hats and seersucker suits for the men and mill about at Churchill Downs, absorbing the humidity while sweating out three buckets of mint juleps before noon. It’s not so unlike the Indianapolis 500, but with a relaxed, Southern pace. I’m only making fun because it’s a tradition I’m hoping to see in person some day.
As I don’t pretend to be a Derby aficionado, I’m also not a fashionista. While I do appreciate the classed-up nature of the Derby, I’ve noticed a tradition creeping in the past couple years for women’s attire. I’m talking about the hats. Women’s hats are as much a story at the Derby as the race itself. But something began happening last year and I blame Will and Kate and their royal wedding, where all the women wore fascinator hats, which aren’t hats as much as they are a modified headband, if you ask me. Because women are enamored with Royal fashion, these fascinators have made their way across the Pond and smack-dab in Lexington, Kentucky. This is an outrage.
Ladies, fascinator hats are lovely and proper attire if you’re attending the Royal nuptials, but they are not honoring Derby tradition. If you are going to the Kentucky Derby, the proper headgear is a fancy, wide-brimmed hat. Think about it. Kentucky in May is probably going to be warm, sunny and humid. There is a function behind the fashion of a lady’s Derby hat. That bespangled headband you thought was so cute won’t do you a bit of good while you’re standing on the infield, baking in the sun.
Let’s get it together, ladies. Wear the proper hat for the proper event. Leave the fascinator at home and wear a hat that would make any Southern Belle give you passive-aggressive sneers. You know you want to. Don’t let me down.